Like many of you, Terri and I are streaming “The Chosen,” a television drama created by Dallas Jenkins depicting the story of Jesus told through the eyes of those who knew him. The program is revolutionary in a number of ways, primarily in that it is completely crowd-funded. The show is extremely well-done, exceptionally well-written and features a cast of excellent actors bringing the Gospels to life. Yes, Dallas Jenkins and company have taken some creative license in telling the story of Jesus, but none that doesn’t make sense and only that which gives us a better grasp of what following Jesus must have been like during those New Testament times. If you’re late to the party, don’t worry. There is no time better to get caught up on the show than the present.
Learn more about the groundbreaking series at The Chosen TV Series (angelstudios.com)
Psychological stress can wreak havoc on our otherwise ordinary lives. How we respond to stress impacts how we successfully navigate the hills and valleys of life. For me, staying spiritually grounded, seeking wise counsel, and taking time to unplug all help me cope with stress. By God’s grace, I’ve been gifted with the ability to stay calm during stressful situations. Not because of anything in me, but because of Christ, who gives me the strength—the wherewithal—to lead amid challenging situations. However, that doesn’t mean that I am free from the impacts of stress.
Boundaries are one way that I manage to get through difficult situations. I know I have limits. I recognize people can push my buttons. I realize that although I might deal with the first ten situations well, trouble lurks around the corner with the next encounter. In part, this is true because I minister to a challenging population. Due to their own trauma, homeless people don’t always act the way you expect, desire, or want.
Aging also adds to the challenges of coping with stress successfully. As we get older, our tanks are full. They’ve simply had enough and there isn’t room for any more. The capacity to cope with stress, I believe, varies from individual to individual. Each person is equipped with a varying ability to deal with threats to our peace.
As a believer, I am called to be a peacemaker. That includes making peace with myself.
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.Romans 12:18 (NLT)
To cope with stress, we need to learn to silence our inner critic—the voice that tells us we aren’t enough. You are enough. You were enough for Christ to die on the cross for you. Be kinder to yourself. Learn healthy ways to address your stress like going for a walk, toiling in the garden, organizing a drawer, cleaning a room, or volunteering at a place where you can make a difference. Finally, keep in tune with your surroundings. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? When you eat, slow down and taste your food. Too often, I find myself churning through my meal like an out of control roller coaster.
Gratitude is a proven antidote to stress. When you are enduring difficult times, sit down and make a note of what all you can be grateful for in your life. Trust me, there’s something, even if it’s simply that God woke you up and gave you breathe. It’s next to impossible to be buried in a stress pit when you celebrate gratitude.
Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
Psychological trauma expresses itself in different ways. Untreated stress leads to more challenges, not less. Trauma is our response to a distressing personal experience. Trauma stems from extraordinary, unpredictable events. These events leave us feeling like a situation is beyond our control. Trauma puts us on the defensive because even the most mundane things can appear threatening to us.
Psychological trauma requires professional help. It is not something that we are able to treat ourselves. Therefore, it is important to recognize the difference between stress and trauma. Stress is a manageable part of daily life. Trauma wreaks havoc on our personal and professional lives if it is not addressed. Left untreated, it destroys us. Trauma informed care and trauma centered cognitive behavioral therapy can provide healing solutions to what ails us.
As a recovering addict, I know that I have caused trauma as well as experienced it. For me, if I am to stay clean and sober, knowing my boundaries, recognizing my limits, and treating my stress in a healthy way are all keys to surviving life with a modicum of excellence. As I mentioned earlier, for me responding to stress and facing trauma are grounded in my faith—in my spiritual life. Over the years, I learned to guard my heart and my mind with time in God’s word, prayer, and simply sitting with Jesus.
How do you cope with stress? Have you experienced trauma?
I encourage you today to learn how to cope with those things that bog you down and rob you of life. May the Lord bless you richly and abundantly with joy and health.
The Devotional Guy™