April / May 2015 - Vol. 79

Children Gathering Fruit by Michael
Stressed? Rest in the Lord 
by Tom Caballes

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 
- Matthew 11:28–30

Stress is a modern day malady. It affects our physical, mental and spiritual health. Are you able to sleep well at night, or do you toss and turn about something? Do you feel enslaved by daily duties and responsibilities? Is life like a list of endless urgent matters that you need to keep up with? Too much cell phone, Facebook and the internet occupy our precious time and energy – they do not help with our stress level.

God wants us to rest. He rested when He created the world. He introduced the Sabbath, which is a time for personal and family rest, and is a pattern for us to follow. Jesus came so that we may have life in its fullness, in abundance [John 10:10]. He created us not to be like robots or machines. Stress sucks the joy out of life. You can choose to live a stressful life, but you can also choose also not to. So, if you choose to live in the rat race, you will still end up – as a rat. It is your choice.

So How Do You Avoid Stress in Life and Be Able to Rest in the Lord?

  1. Decide to be purposeful in life – do not just do what is the most urgent, but what is important. Establish personal and family goals. Plan your life based on your goals and priorities. Learn to say no.
  2. Take regular ‘pauses’ in life. See how you can avoid or alleviate stress in your daily life. Use your annual leave wisely. Regularly plan for a personal retreat and/or family vacation. Take care of your body by exercising regularly. A revitalised and healthy body refreshes and sharpens the mind too.
  3. Take time off from cell phones, the internet and other technology stuff. Some Christians regularly ‘fast’ from technology. Why? It shows that they are not slaves of all these modern gadgets, but they serve the living God. Decide to invest your time with relationships rather than with gadgets.
  4. Develop some good healthy hobbies and diversions you enjoy – such as gardening, reading good books, hiking, painting or something similar. These things can help you regain some balance in life.
  5. Celebrate the Lord’s Day with family and friends. Gather together to thank God for His blessings of the week, and recall your forthcoming eternal destiny. Enjoy time together with some board games or other fun activities together. Enjoy the company of friends and family.
  6. Learn to trust in the Lord and say no to anxiety. Do not be anxious 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 your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:6-7] Know that God is in control – not you. He knows the past, the present and the future, and believe that everything will work out good for those who love Him [Romans 8:28].
  7. Lastly, if there is something that keeps stressing you out, you need to deal with that source of stress. The best thing to do is to talk with a pastoral care person to discuss and for you to decide what to do.

Other Scripture passages: 

  1. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow… [Matthew 6:33-34A]
  2. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. [1 Peter 5:6-7]
  3. Other references: Psalms 9:10; Psalm 37:3-5; Psalm 118:8-9; Proverbs 3:5; and Isaiah 26:4

For personal reflection or group sharing

  1. From a grade of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, how stressed are you right now? How and why?
  2. What decisions and actions do you need to do to avoid and/or lessen stress in your life?
  3. What can you do to enjoy life more?

Tom Caballes is the National Senior Administrator and a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom also leads Kairos New Zealand, an outreach program for high school, university, and post-university aged people. 

Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters live in Wellington, New Zealand.


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