Stress—whether it’s physical, emotional, relational, or financial—can take its toll on any of us.
But you can stay healthier this year if you know how to handle it—or prevent it from rearing its ugly head.
I used to find myself reaching out to my husband or my grown child to get the relief, encouragement, or support I needed to get through stressful times.
“If you can just give me support and understanding I can get through this,” I would say aloud, in an exasperated tone.
But I’ve learned, through the years, that having certain emotional expectations on others–and voicing them in the wrong way–can backfire.
You and I can push our marriages over the edge and our children out the door if we let them know they are not meeting our emotional needs or expectations at a time when they might be dealing with multiple frustrations or stress of their own.
There have been many times in the past 30 years that I’ve had to make a conscious decision to not lay my expectations on those closest to me when I’ve felt particularly stressed, regardless of the source. And as I began to take my troubles and stressful times to God first, I found that I was not only more able and stable to deal with whatever came my way, but I could help others in my family through whatever they were going through, as well.
When stress starts creeping into your life, practice these “Three T’s” that I learned years ago to stay strong during difficult times:
- Tell God First. Sometimes you and I need to vent or just talk aloud about how we’re feeling. But our frustrations can come across as accusations or complaints if we’re not careful. And since it is natural for those who love us to try to find the problem and fix it, when we just wanted someone to listen, it’s better to go to God with the venting first. Sure, God already knows what you’re going through and going to say. (Psalm 139:4 says “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.”) But by telling God first all that is on your heart and mind, you are allowing Him to be the “buffer.”
- Trust God’s Promises. The Bible is full of God’s promises about His provision and protection. So when we become troubled about finances, or other issues, we can find comfort just by remembering some of God’s encouraging words to His people. In Philippians 4:19, Paul says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” And Romans 8:28 tells us “…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Keep stress sidelined by banking on the promises in the Bible and taking God at His Word.
- Thank God Constantly. No matter what the situation, there’s always something to be thankful for. One of my friends was discouraged that her husband’s new job didn’t pay as well as his previous one. But some income was better than none. Another friend complained about her teenage son’s disinterest in school and his unwillingness to “apply himself”, yet he was still very interested in his church’s youth group. We can become people of praise with a contagious positive attitude when we obey God’s command in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “give thanks in all circumstances.” I love to paraphrase that verse as: “In all things, sing.” A thankful person –whether you’re a spouse, parent, or friend—is pleasant to be around.
When you and I practice these three Ts, our circumstances might not change immediately. But by depending on God—and not solely on others—we can become encouragers, rather than accusers, and we can alleviate the stress in others’ lives, as well as in our own.
Here’s to a healthy, happy, stressless year!
Which of these three Ts do you most need to apply this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. (And for a refresher course in stress-free living, see my book, When You’re Running on Empty, on sale now in my website store.)
In answer to your question – trust God’s promises, though the others come close.
Thanks for your words Cindi.
You’re welcome, Marlene. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Happy New Year as you trust His promises daily.
All 3 are key!! I feel the word Hallelujah constantly repeating to me…word of the year?! And so I’d say the Lord may be reminding me to praise/thank Him constantly…in every situation. Praise Him with a broken hallelujah. Worship and praise on the waiting. Happy New Year 🎇. May we praise Him in everything 💜
I agree, Connie. Thank you for your thoughts. Happy New Year to you and your sweet family!
Thank you so much for sharing the Three “T’s”. It makes so much sense and great food for thought.
You’re welcome, Mary. Thanks for taking the time to drop a note. 🙂
Hi Cindi – reply
I guess it is human nature to complain before men rather than casting our problems to the Lord. All 3T’s for me tick
I agree, Sandra. Thanks for your comment. May 2023 be a super, stress-free, and grace-filled year for you. 🙂
Telling God First is the best thing to do, and I know it, but yet I think the first thing I do is worry or panic over the situation. Then I realize nothing is too big for God to handle and I remind myself to surrender “that thing, that situation, circumstance, decision that needs to be made” over to God and ask for help. I need to be reminded that nothing is going to happen today that God and I together can’t handle. Its trying to handle it myself that gets me in trouble. I will do much better in 2023. Surrendering everything to God means that I trust Him, believe Him and have faith to know He will not let me down.
Happy New Year Cindi!
Happy New Year to you too, Bernice. It’s always good to hear from you. Thank you for your comment and keep trusting and telling Him first in 2023!
Hey lady! I’m doing all three and walking in the peace of God daily. I watch how God uses me without me trying. I just let Him show me what He wants and I do it. And what do I do next? Go on my way thanking God for working through me and letting it go. In 2022, I practiced walking in Peace and praying for it again in this new year. Happy New Year to you and your family!
Thanks for your comment, Ramona. So glad to hear you’re doing well and walking in peace. Happy New Year to you too!
Hi Cindi! I can glean from all three! They are all equally important to me. A wisely spoken post, thank you!
You’re welcome, Chery. Great to hear from you. Hope you’re doing well, my friend.