Matthew 11:28-30, ESV
While it’s clearly stated in Scripture that in this world we will have troubles and Christians should expect that there are times they will be persecuted like Christ, those are not the same as day to day stress.
Daily stress (over all the things on our to-do list) is caused by failure to Sabbath rest. It’s acting in your own strength when you should be standing in His rest.
It often comes from saying “yes” when your Shepherd is nudging you to say “no.” It often happens when you start to “do” because “good moms do….” or “godly wives do…”.
And it’s wholly avoidable. There’s hope!
The Confusion Of Stress
Here’s another important truth about stress:
When we confuse our actions with our fruit, we get stressed.
Our actions are what we choose to do. Our fruit, however, is the natural result of who/what we choose to love.
Focusing on doing, doing, and doing some more will exhaust you. But focus on loving God and your family and let the rest follow? Your actions will be life giving to you! They will empower and encourage you instead of drain and stress you!
Let’s stop getting it backwards, my friend.
We don’t put the fruit on our tree and make ourselves holy. We allow God to make us holy and the fruit grows from His work in our lives.
It’s not your stress that points you to your need for God; it’s your sin that reveals your need for a Savior. And you’d never call sin a “gift,” would you?
Your stress doesn’t give you the hope of the Gospel, so don’t revel in it.
It’s not a gift, but it is something that God uses for your good and His glory because you love Him. Just because He takes your stress and turns it into something beautiful because He loves you doesn’t mean it’s something to marvel at.
What is a gift? An easy yoke. A light burden. Rest in Jesus, not your circumstances.
The Source Of Stress
Stress doesn’t come because of the bills on the counter; it comes from wondering how they’re going to get paid.
Stress doesn’t come from children; it comes from wondering if you’re a good enough mom to raise them well.
Stress doesn’t come from a messy home or busy schedule; it comes from feeling inadequate and exhausted.
Stress isn’t an external force; it’s an internal struggle.
And yes, that struggle should make us run with fierce abandon into the arms of Jesus. Yes, absolutely yes!
But the gift isn’t the stressful reminder that you need Jesus; the gift is the sufficient grace and new mercies you receive that allay that stress.
The Gift Of Grace & Truth
Let’s remember to start our days receiving His mercy, steeped in His grace, and reliant on Him. Then we can receive the gifts He has for us without the stress. Then we can revel in being present without a mess.
So let’s have the real conversation.
It’s not about your mess or my stress; it’s about God. It’s about our need from Him and the love He lavishes on us. It’s about living a fruitful life.
This piece originally appeared at Graceful Abandon, published with permission.