There are typically three well known components of a healthy lifestyle, spiritual growth, nutrition and exercise. A not so well known component is stress management.
All these are vital and integral to living healthy. When any of these are ignored, it is possible for our wellbeing to crumble. Simply put, if you spend time fellowshipping with God, pay attention to what you eat and exercise, but live a stressful life, your health can be compromised. It’s interesting how many think they are growing spiritually, but yet are still stressed.
Let’s take a closer look at stress and then at scripture and how God has instructed us to handle stress.
Stress is a feeling that causes emotional or physical tension. It is induced by thoughts or events that cause us to feel angry, frustrated, or nervous. This is negative stress. Stress can also be positive, such as when it helps us meet a deadline or avoid danger. I am only looking at negative stress in this blog.
Stress often causes us to worry. Have you noticed how worry solves absolutely nothing? See Matthew 6:27 below. The only outcome of stress, is negative, and has the propensity to compromise our health. Have you noticed how taut and sore your shoulder area can get, when you are worried? It is that way because God never intended for us, or expected us to carry our cares.
Stress can compromise our immune system. With the current Covid pandemic, we have become even more aware of the importance of a healthy immune system. A compromised immune system can bring on various ailments including shingles (only for those who have previously had chickenpox) and cancer, to name a few.
The Bible is very clear on what we should do with stress, cares and worry (they are somewhat related). The Lord tells us to not carry our cares, but to give them to Him.
Let’s look at scripture.
Psalm 55:22 AMPC
Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail).
1 Peter 5:7 AMPC
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
These two scriptures are very clear on God’s stand on how we His children should deal with worry. We should not. He expects us to cast them unto Him.
Like I mentioned earlier, stress is not constructive, it never produces the desired results.
Matthew 6:27 AMPC
And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?
Many years ago, I heard on a Kenneth Copeland Ministries broadcast, that we are to cast our worries unto the Lord, in the same manner a discus thrower would throw their discus. This analogy really blessed me. I hope it blesses you too. If you are familiar with this sport, you know that participants, don’t throw the discus gingerly. They throw it with all their might. That is exactly how God expects us to cast our cares unto Him. He did not give us shoulders to carry our cares or the cares of others.
When we carry cares, it is an act of disobedience, it is prideful too. We are implying that God does not have our back, or that we are better able to sort out our cares. Both are not pleasing to God.
Stress can be far reaching, causing us to crave the wrong foods, which can affect our sleep. And when our sleep is disturbed by stress, it can also cause us to crave the wrong foods, as we lie awake. See how a vicious cycle can begin?
One characteristic of God that I find so heartwarming is how He knows everything and has made Himself available to us. When we do ALL that He tells us to, we set ourselves to live lives that are stress free and healthy.
I will add that trying to cast our cares unto the Lord like He has asked us to, may not be easy, especially if there has been a long habit of worrying. It certainly is not impossible to change though. That’s another character of our good God…nothing, absolutely nothing that He tells us to do is impossible. He has told us to cast our cares unto Him. Do it, and improve your chances of living a healthy lifestyle.
We have a lot to do. Our unique purpose to fulfil, our daily jobs and various tasks, our family/friends and our environment to have an impact on. Let’s do ALL that we can to keep ourselves healthy. Lets stay close to God, eat wholesome foods, exercise and keep stress at bay.