Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7
We live in a stress-filled world. Every day, we're inundated with news of political turmoil, social unrest, relational tensions, and financial scandals. There are constant concerns about health care, gun rights, immigration, climate change - not to mention the cancellation of our favorite shows. The question is - how can we experience peace? In a chaotic world, how can we live with less stress? Over the next several weeks, I'll remind us of ways we can live with less stress based on the writings of the apostle Paul. (Note: if you heard the sermon on Mental Stress back in January, this will be a good review.)
First tip - Worry about nothing. Consider Paul's words in Philippians 4:6,
"Do not worry about anything."
Now, let's be clear. This does not mean we live in denial. This doesn't mean that we stick our heads in the sand. This doesn't mean we stop watching & reading the news. It means that we stop allowing our lives to be consumed by stress. It means that we stop focusing on those things that are out of our control. It means that we stop meditating (24/7) on our problems. The reality is, we all have troubles. We all face hardships. There is no such thing as a pressure-free, problem-free life. However, there are some people who live in a state of chronic anxiety and others who live with peace. How is this possible? A key difference between these two groups is mindset. Those with a healthy mindset have healthy mental habits. They choose to worry less and pray more. They choose to focus less on problems and more on solutions. They choose to put their trust in God and seek their peace in God. As a result, when troubles arise, they don't panic, they pray. When health fails, they don't worry, they worship. Those with a unhealthy mindset do just the opposite. They worry more and pray less. They focus more on problems and less on solutions. They put their trust in themselves and seek their peace in their circumstances. As a result, when troubles arise, they panic. When health fails, they are consumed by worry. (Note: these are learned habits. We can choose whether we practice unhealthy (or unhealthy) mental habits.) The Bible teaches us to find our peace in God. Give all our worries to God. Leave our concerns at the foot of the cross. Why? Because God loves you. God cares for you - more than you (or I) will ever know.