If the stats are accurate, you’re probably stressed.
The Statistic Brain Research Institute and American Institute of Stress conducted a study in May that found that 77% of Americans “regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress” and 73% “regularly experience psychological symptoms.” On top of that, one third of people report living with extreme stress, and almost half of us say our stress has increased in the past five years.
So what do we do about this? Let’s start by asking this question:
What’s the root of your stress?
In other words, what does your stress say about you?
In most cases, what you stress about reveals what you fear.
What you fear reveals what matters most to you, what you love.
And what matters most to you might reveal some spiritual holes in your life—some promises of God you struggle to believe, whether you realize it or not.
Here’s a hypothetical example:
You’re stressed about keeping up with your to-do list at work. What do you fear? This will vary from person to person, but in this case let’s say you fear letting people down—your boss, teammates, clients, etc. What does this reveal about what matters to you? You want people to think highly of you. Possible spiritual hole: You lack true confidence because you seek the validation of others above God. You struggle to believe God’s promises about how much he loves and accepts you.
Here’s another one:
You’re stressed about finances. What do you fear? You fear not having “enough” money, which means you’d have to say no to things or lower your standard of living. What does this reveal about what matters to you? You crave a comfortable life with the “basic luxuries” you believe you deserve. Possible spiritual hole: You lack contentment with what God’s given you. You struggle to believe God’s promises that he provides and that he is your true treasure—not the stuff a credit card can buy.
See how this works? A little bit of digging regarding what you allow to stress you out says so much about you.
This concept applies to all sorts of stressors beyond just work and money—your health, your kids’ struggles in school, home improvements you want to complete, relationship tension, a big move, an overcommitted schedule, an upcoming birth . . .
Now, I don’t believe that all stress is inherently bad or that all stress is a big fat sin, but it’s worth pausing to think about it the next time you’re suffering from stress or complaining about it.
When we create suffering in our lives because of a spiritual void, there’s room for improvement. There’s someone who can fill the void (and help lower our stress). He’s the triune God.
The next time you notice stress—and maybe you feel it right now—take the time to dig below the surface and unearth what’s lurking beneath that stress.
What do I fear?
What does that say about what matters most to me?
What spiritual hole does this possibly reveal?
What promises does God have for me that I’m not believing?
Pray for God to help you cling to those promises, and trade your stress for peace, trust, contentment, and joy.
Diana Kerr is a certified professional life coach for go-getter Christian women. For a FREE workbook from Diana related to this blog post, click here to download “3 Lies about Time Christian Women Tell Themselves & 3 Truths That Will Set You Free.”