I’ll admit, my life feels pretty overwhelming right now. I face more responsibilities and pressures than ever before. Please don’t think I’m complaining—I’ve chosen this path.
I’m sharing my difficulty with you in the hope that I can encourage you with the solution I’ve found. Before I go there, let me start with strategies that haven’t helped.
You may have heard the advice “Fake it ‘till you make it.” In other words, act happy even when you don’t feel like it. That may work as a temporary bandaid but not as a long-term solution. At some point, we need to open up and share our struggles with others, and always with God (Jas. 5:16; Psa. 32:6).
I’ve tried the opposite extreme of faking it—throwing a pity party—which only made matters worse. There’s a fine line between pouring our heart out to God and feeling sorry for ourselves, between venting to others and whining like a child (Job 40:2; Phil. 2:14).
For me personally, only one approach consistently and effectively helps me deal with stress: keeping my priorities straight. God first, family second, health third, work fourth.
For me personally, only one approach consistently and effectively helps me deal with stress: keeping my priorities straight.
When life gets overwhelming and we see no relief in sight, we have no choice but to embrace the chaos. We also have no choice but to keep God first if we want to please Him in all that we do (John 6:27).
During stressful times, we are tempted to neglect life’s most important responsibilities, like worship, prayer, Bible study, evangelism, hospitality, and family time. “I can’t help it right now,” we tell ourselves. “I’ll get my priorities straight once I get through this stressful period.”
I see two major problems with this attitude. First, no one is guaranteed tomorrow. If we put other priorities above God, even temporarily, we’re sinning right now (Matt. 19:16-22). We do not want to die in that state.
Second, we are creatures of habit. When we get our priorities out of whack, we get used to living that way. Our conscience may sting at first but feels nothing after a while (1 Tim. 4:2; Eph. 4:19). Then, once our lives slow down and we have time for God again, we will be less likely to change our ways.
Stress is addicting, believe it or not. Some people get stuck in a rut of backward priorities and never escape. Sadly, in the end, they will not escape the wrath of God (Matt. 25:41-46).
So, make up your mind to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, come what may (Matt. 6:33)! When life gets overwhelming, stick your commitment with focused determination, resisting Satan’s temptations to make you give up. If you do, you will never—and I mean never—regret it.