Despite attempts for more than a year to figure out what was wrong with me, doctors could not identify a serious medical condition. It's not that I wanted something to be wrong. I certainly didn't need anything else to stress about.
I was desperately seeking a prescription for peace.
Looking back I can see the main culprit for my stress was my job. Overwhelming expectations and the impossible perfectionism my supervisor demanded took their toll on me physically, emotionally and spiritually.
His harsh criticisms and comments made me feel inadequate, and my self-esteem plunged to an all-time low. Chaos swirled around me, stress raged within me, and my health continued to decline. But I didn't recognize the cause.
When a medical diagnosis continued to elude doctors, I believed the lie that excessive stress was normal and I needed to learn how to live with it.
Eventually my stress reached a dangerously high level, and I began to wonder if this was the way God intended life to be. I wasn't even sure if the Bible talked about stress, but I was desperate, so I searched God's Word for answers. Something had to end, and I didn't want it to be my life.
I came across Philippians 4:6-7. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (NLT)
Although I had read these verses before, it was as if a light bulb came on. I was tired of worrying. I was yearning for my heart and mind to be protected and healed. I was longing to control my stress, instead of it controlling me. And I was desperate for peace.
As the words of these verses washed through my soul, I realized I'd been depending on people to diagnose my problems instead of seeking a remedy from God. Going from doctor to doctor, I had overlooked the only One who had a prescription that could heal — Jesus Christ.
As I prayed for the ability to stop worrying and spent more time processing my stress with God, I thanked Him for His provision of my job. And I asked if it was time for me to leave. I needed to be rescued and admitted He was the only One with the power to do so. I committed to trusting His ways, even if I didn't understand them.
Peace didn't come overnight, but it did come. Not because my circumstances changed, but because I tapped into His peace each day in the midst of less-than-peaceful circumstances. Gradually I felt God mend my heart and replace my stress with His truth and love. And when He made it clear after a few months that I was to resign, I was equipped to handle the new stressors that came with that decision.
If you need a prescription for peace, I encourage you to let your thoughts dwell on God's promises and rest in His presence as you pray.
Ask Him to help you release your worry. Praise Him for the good things He's done, and talk to Him about the problems you're struggling with. Seek God's will for every area of your life and commit to trust Him enough to make changes as He nudges you.
True peace comes when we trust God and seek rest in Him, not when life is conflict-free. A daily dose of God's presence and promises is the best prescription for peace.
Dear Lord, I am stressed. I know I need a change in my life, and I am ready for the prescription for peace that only You can offer. Fill me today with a dose of serenity that I cannot find anywhere else but in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Today's devotion is based on Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace in Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles which releases today!
Reflect and Respond: How can you trust God in your circumstances and receive His prescription for peace instead of handling problems in your own strength?
Ask God if you need to make changes in your life. If so, pray about the next steps.
Power Verses: Psalm 107:19, "'Lord, help!' they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress." (NLT)
John 14:27, "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." (NLT)
© 2012 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
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