Stress Relief – Thanks Mom
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
A new study on the reality of increased stress in people’s lives just came out. Stress levels are on the rise. Anxiety is up. It doesn’t come as a surprise to me, as it is the experience of so many people I visit with. It seems like one epic issue winds down only to have another one ramp up. Life is hard, and we know it.
Turn back to the last century, 1979 to be specific. I was a senior in high school, involved in student government, attended faculty meetings as a student representative, managed a little printing and graphics shop at Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center, was getting ready for college, and I thought I could take on the world. A classmate of mine dove off a bridge into the river at low tide, I arrived as first responders were pulling him out of the river. Life on this earth was over for him.
I started developing a pre-ulcer condition. The pain mimicked heart issues.
My mom had a conversation with me I will never forget. She challenged me to face the opportunities and challenges of life by giving things into God’s care all the time. She encouraged me to quit internalizing my stress under the false assumption I could handle everything. She supported me in my future potential, but made it very clear the mishandling of stress would rob me of opportunity and would significantly impact my health. Most of all, she wanted me to know just how capable God is in handling the hard things I would face.
Recently, as there were many opportunities to internalize my stress, God reminded me of this conversation with mom. He followed up with scripture. I have been sharing it with anyone who is internalizing their stress.
This scripture is very specific and clear. “Don’t worry about anything,…” That is hard to do if there isn’t a better option. Thankfully, God gives us one. “…instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.” This is our action step. It is specific. Here is the result: “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Listen to God’s word. Listen to my mom. Choose not to worry. It is a choice that takes intentional effort. Tell God by specifically naming the situations that are causing stress and anxiety in your life. Ask God to care for the situation. Remember God’s provision and faithfulness in your life. Trust God to guide you in how to relate to the things causing you stress. Receive God’s peace in the midst of difficult situations. Do this as often as you can.
Dear Father God,
I come to You with specific things in my life that are much bigger than me. Concerns for the state of our world. Intercession for loved ones. Requests for wisdom and guidance in my leadership roles. Provision for Warm Beach Camp ministries. Any one of these mentioned concerns is enough to overwhelm me. Yet, by bringing each one specifically to You, trusting it into Your care, and being available to participate in Your direction, I am filled with Your peace. Thank you. Thank You for Scripture. Thank You for giving me a wise mother. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
-Ed McDowell, CEO
Warm Beach Camp Ministries