Navigating Life’s Stress

Being Led More By Jesus

In this special 25th anniversary article, Brian Greutman writes about what he learned during his one-year journey of delighting in the Lord through the Psalms. As you read and apply Brian’s suggested practices, perhaps there’s someone that comes to mind who you could encourage by sharing this article.

 

Stress Levels

What do you do when you are faced with difficult situations in life, family, or ministry? How do you respond when a ministry team member, board member, or family member does something that causes you great stress? In recent months, there have been times when I’ve dealt with challenges at work and there have been other times when family life has caused me stress. How to navigate these waters? That can be the million-dollar question for many of us.

I just spent a year thinking about and studying how to delight in the Lord, following David’s example in the Psalms. Three things stood out for me: 1) being immersed in the Word of the Lord; 2) bringing our cares and concerns to the Lord; and 3) trusting Him for the outcomes.

Read and Meditate on the Word of the Lord

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night (Ps. 1:1-2). These verses tell us that the person who finds joy in the Word of God has found the key to true happiness in life. This is really finding our joy in the Lord since His Word is representative of Himself.

Bring Our Cares and Concerns to the Lord

When faced with fluctuating emotions due to challenges, I’ve been learning to pray the following phrase:

Lord, teach me to delight in you as I’m faced with _______ today.

I fill in the blank with whatever emotion or challenge I’m dealing with. What I’ve realized is that this simple prayer helps redirect my focus off of my problems and back onto the Lord and the promises of Scripture. 1 Peter 5:7 says, Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. It’s amazingly liberating when we cast our anxieties on the Lord and leave them there.

While we are waiting for answers to prayer and resolution to our problems, we need to find our rest in the Lord. This can be the hardest part. Psalm 62:1-2 says: Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. We can look to other things to give us rest, but ultimately rest comes from God alone. I have found that time spent in His Word and worshipping Him fills me up and gives me peace like nothing else. These verses also remind us that God is our deliverer. He is our help in troubled times.

Trust in the Lord

Lastly, we need to trust in the Lord. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). The Lord is completely trustworthy, and part of leaving our problems in His hands is trusting that in His wisdom He can handle things better than we can.

The next time you are faced with a challenge, try focusing on these three practices: seek to delight in the Lord by taking joy in His Word; cast all your anxieties on Him, resting in Him as you wait for help; and trust the Lord with the outcome.

Reflection Questions:

  1. How do you typically respond to challenges and stress?
  2. Which one of Brian’s suggested practices is most natural for you? Which one is most difficult? Why?
  3. Use a current situation and apply the three practices to be led more by Jesus: seek the Lord by taking joy in His Word, cast your anxieties and concerns on Him, and choose to trust the Lord for the outcome. Set a reminder in your calendar to review this in one week’s time.

Brian Greutman - Picture 1

Brian Greutman is the Associate Pastor at Riverview Community Church in Kent, WA. His formal training is in Piano Performance and he completed the Arrow Leadership Program with the 27th Class. In the fall of 2015, he released a 7-week devotional with a companion Piano CD called, “Delighting in the Lord Through the Psalms.” He and his wife Gretchen have three boys: Nathan, Nicholas, and Noah.

Rose Thompson

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