We live in a stressed out society. All you have to do is go to the mall or a rest stop on a major highway, and there is a very high chance that you will see a machine that you put in some change and it will tell you your blood pressure. You put in a little change and the machine basically tells you how much you need to change. The question is not, “do we have stress?” The real question is, “how do we handle stress?” or better yet, “does stress handle us?” Do we live in reaction to everyone, and everything or do we decide how we feel and how we are going to live? Let me be clear how we handle stress will determine how we feel, the relationships that we have and the legacy that we leave. How we handle stress may very well be a deciding factor in both the quality and the quantity of our life.
What we internalize and externalize is a determining factor when it comes to the quality of our lives. Thoughts become feelings, feelings become words, words become actions, actions make habits and our habits determine the environment we live in and the culture we project to the world around us. When we choose to forgive someone we are saying that his or her stupidity and sin can’t live on the inside of us. By not forgiving the only one we hold hostage is ourselves. Recently my wife and I paid about 14,000 USD dollars in debt. We kept the debt on an excel spreadsheet. Why? Because, we chose to take responsibility for our debt. We began to pay our debt, but we did not allow our debt to live in us. It lived in an excel spread sheet inside a Mac Book pro, not inside my wife or I. In other words, we had some stupid debts, stupid debts didn’t have us.
What to Internalize – You internalize something by thinking about it, remembering it and writing it down for the sake of remembering something (but for good.)
What God has said – In his Word (the Bible) or what he has spoken through his people. (Teaching or tested and accurate prophecy.)
What God does – The testimonies of the Lord. Remember the faithfulness of God in your life.
Success – Remember the successes you have had as a result of your obedience to God.
The counsel or the advice of the wise – Remember when someone corrects you, because correction is protection from both deception and destruction.
What to Externalize – We externalize things by speaking them out, and writing them down. Writing it down in the sense that you recognize there is a problem but you are not giving that problem permission to live inside of you.
Debts – If you have any debts write them down. Assume responsibility for them; formulate a strategy to pay them, but don’t allow the debt or debts to have you.
Debtors – If anyone hurts you don’t wait for them to say they’re sorry to forgive them. If someone owes you money consider canceling the debt.
Temptation – Renounce and reject any destructive desires that you may have. Remember whatever thoughts you don’t take captive will take you captive.
Needs – Write down, speak out and pray about any emotionally and spiritual needs that you may have in your life. (Make sure the needs are appropriate and spoken to a trusted friend. Don’t entrust your secrets to unsafe people.)
Failures – Learn from your failures don’t let them live in you. Just because you failed doesn’t mean you are a failure. Confess your sins to God. Admit when you are wrong.
If you have enjoyed this blog, you can listen to a podcast on – How to Handle Stress by clicking here. The podcast is only 16:40.