When Stress Comes: How to Function When You Can’t Function

We all have those times when stress really hits us. That’s what I’m talking about this week to give you some tips on how to work through it with God when it comes, especially since when we’re stressed or anxious we tend to think God isn’t there, right?

In today’s video I talked about my experience with stress this past week and what I learned walking through it. Here it is in case you missed it (don’t mind the weird face, I’m still learning):

 I didn’t think I was stressed because I was “managing” it, or “thought I had it under control.” But my body was telling me a different story. It wasn’t until after 3 visits to the ER in a matter of three days (which started to make me feel crazy), one doctor just said,  “stress reaction” and it’s like everything started to make sense. I give God the glory too because right before that doctor walked in, we prayed hard for clarity and answers, and it came. Did it get fixed right away? No. But God gave direction. 

So there are four points I mentioned that you need to pay attention to when you feel a stress reaction coming on:

1) Do not ignore your physical symptoms. I was having lightheadedness and heart racing for a few days on and off before I called my doctor. It was a good thing I knew my family history of heart issues because it keeps me vigilant. Do not ignore symptoms of chest pains, or any other weird things happening in your body. Err on the side of the caution and let your doctors be the one to tell you that you were smart to get it checked out. Don’t be your own google doctor in these scenarios. 

2) Don’t ignore your mental health. I didn’t realize until after the third visit that what I was experiencing could be panic attacks. I hadn’t had them in 12 years and they were different so I thought, no way. But, way. My anxiety was responding to whatever these physical symptoms were, and making things worse. This is why you address your mental health early on, so when things like this come about, you know what to do. Panic attacks are legit. So factor in your mental health into whatever is going on with your body.

3) Don’t ignore your schedule. Often times we’re on stress overload because we are trying to do too much, or there is something on our schedule that is pushing us over the edge. We have to look on our schedule what might be throwing us off and do something about it. Maybe it’s removing that for the time being or removing something else so you can do that. Either way, the only way you’ll be able to make distressing a priority is if you do something to your schedule.

4) Don’t ignore God. He often uses these brutal times to remind us to depend on him, to reveal to us maybe where we aren’t. Ask God what he is showing you in the middle of your storm.

When He gets your attention, 
1) Get into Scripture and ask him to reveal what needs to change,
2) Get still and take time to REST,3) Go to the place where you feel closest to him (maybe nature) and listen for that guidance.

Here are the 7 things he showed me over the course of a few days of being in the middle of the storm and looking back on it, 

1) Something has to go. If you are going to hear me better, you’ve got to drown out the extra noise.

Ephesians 5:15-16 “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

2) Take care of your health. Sometimes everything else has to be put on the back burner. 

3 John 1:2 “Dear friend, I pray that you would enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

3) Stop distracting yourself and do what I’ve called you to do. If you are a believer, you know you have a call on your life. You’ve got to focus on the Lord in order to carry out your call, not on something you think is your call.

Luke 12:31, “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”

Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”

4) Seek validation from God alone. When you are living for God, you want to please him first, but it’s so tempting to seek it, get approval from the world. I was doing something to prove I could do it and that’s not what God wants from us. 

Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

“We need to be secure enough in God to be whose are and do what he has called us to do, whether people around us approve or not.” – Joyce Meyer

5) Trust God to provide for you in following that call. If we don’t, then we’re simply trusting ourselves and God’s not in it. I heard, “You have been ignoring what I’ve called you to do because you don’t think it’s important or enough. But it is. I will provide.”

This verse came at just the right time in the wake of this storm: It’s Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

6) Remember, it’s about Him, not us. How much can our pride get in the way? We may want to do it because it will give us glory, but it’s God who wants the glory.

“When you and I make plans without God we are expressing personal pride.” – Chuck Stanley

7) Expect good things to happen with God. Some of us still carry that thought pattern around with his that the other show is going to drop. But that’s not how God works. So stop planning for the other shoe to drop and trust God’s plan.

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

And one last one, 1 Peter 5:10, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

In the meantime, I’m going to keep waiting on God and notice how I’m trying to get ahead of him. So two verses that I’m going to take going forward:

Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”

Isaiah 30:18, “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore he waits on high to have compassion on you For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are those who long for Him.”

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