By Judy Douglass
Last week I was speaking to a group of 100 women about Living a Better Story. I was rushing to pray with the program team. I had my computer, my speaking notes and a very important sweater to complete my outfit-all in the passenger's seat. So I decided to go around to get it all, put my keys in my purse and added it to the pile-and did what I always do-I locked the door and shut it.
Sigh. Locked out!
I could speak without everything but the sweater. It took about 15 minutes to find someone who could break into my car, another 10 to accomplish the deed. I missed the prayer time, but had plenty of time before I was up to speak.
Stuff happens. Problems occur. Many are minor, but some cause anxiety, frustration, strained relationships, financial struggles; others are even life threatening. It all adds up to stress. And stress takes a terrible toll on our health, our attitudes, our energy.
We each have our own ways to handle stress: worry, talk to a friend, go shopping or get some chocolate, take a walk, work harder.
When the stress rises in my life, I usually want three things: peace in the midst of it, wisdom to know what to do and power or strength to handle it. Only one person can provide these things.
God knows how to handle each problem, every stressor-and he is willing to tell us.
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Peace: He urges us not to worry, but to rejoice, give thanks and tell him all about it, in all situations, every time. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7.)
Wisdom: He has it-supernatural wisdom. Just ask and he will share. "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." (James 1:5)
Power: So many situations are beyond my abilities. But God gives us his Spirit, living in us, filling us, enabling us to draw on his supernatural power for every circumstance.
How do we access these amazing provisions? Let your first stop be God.
King David tells us he was always in constant, uninterrupted conversation with God,
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that's the key. "I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will
not be shaken."(Psalm 16:8)
Talk with God as you walk through your day. When a problem comes, when anxiety
grows, when stress increases, let your first stop be God. Talk to him: Tell him all about it. Thank him. Even rejoice. Ask him for what you need-even as you keep walking, or talking to someone else, or begin dealing with the issue.
When we make God our first stop, he will give us the peace, wisdom and power for every problem.
Judy Douglass is a graduate of the University of Texas with a degree in journalism. She has been on the staff of Cru since 1964, serving with various publications. Judy currently assists her husband, Steve, in giving leadership to Cru. Her primary focus is Women's Resources. She is the author of four books, Single and Complete, He Loves Me,What Can a Mother Do? and Letters to My Children: Secrets of Success. Judy has written for numerous magazines and blogs regularly at www.JudyDouglass.com