At times, life can become a vicious cycle of anxiety and stress. Yet the majority of us are so immersed in our daily responsibilities that we barely have time to identify exactly what stresses us or what stresses us the most.
What is the greatest stress factor in your life? There is a way out of the damaging cycle of stress. Jesus Christ has the power to heal your emotional and spiritual wounds, strengthen your faith, and give you hope.
In order to deal with your stress, you must first identify its cause. Here are 10 of the most prominent stress-inducers.
- Anxiety. Anxiety is based on uncertainty about the future. Some people are anxious and worried about what will happen to them because they feel they are not in control of their lives or a particular situation.
- Fear. Many people live in fear because of distressing events and trends that are occurring in the world today. They may experience restlessness, panic attacks and even anguish for fear of what might happen to them, their family members, their job or business, or other concerns.
- Unrealistic Expectations. There are many negative circumstances in life that we can change for the better, and we should take action to remedy them. However, if we can't change our circumstances, but we still keep our original expectations for them, we open the door to stress.
- Excessive Responsibilities. Whenever we are not willing to either give up excess responsibilities or delegate them to others, this can produce chronic stress in our lives. There are times when carrying excess responsibility can't be helped, especially during certain seasons of life. However, overcommitment is often the result of making a poor decision or an inability to say no when people ask us to do something.
- Family Issues. Family relationships can be a major source of stress. Husbands and wives often need to navigate difficult situations and organize multiple activities within their household, especially if they have children. Couples may also deal with issues like infertility, prolonged illness, the loss of loved ones or rebellious children. They may battle over who is in charge of decision-making or argue about one spouse's seeming apathy in the relationship.
- Work Pressures. In the business world, it is often said that "time is money." This outlook can lead employees to be placed under heavy work demands, causing them to live in continuous stress. Additionally, in today's society, making money and spending money on consumer products and services often seem to be higher priorities than anything else. People go deeper and deeper into debt because they purchase items they can't afford. To pay off these items, they then have to work more and produce more—generating a ceaseless cycle.
- Insufficient Sleep. Research indicates that "35% of Americans don't get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night." The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, "Lack of sleep has been linked to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression and anxiety—not to mention safety issues like drowsy driving and injuries." Insomnia causes stress for people not only because they experience worry and fatigue, but also because they are unable to function well during the day, leading to further issues and consequences.
- Financial Shortfalls and Crises. Unemployment, a lack of opportunity to develop a new business, the shaking of the global economy, recession, global indebtedness and generational poverty can all contribute to stress. Our standard of living can be affected by any of the above, producing a state of anxiety and even despair. The stress of trying to meet a chronic financial shortfall can be relentless, exacting a heavy personal cost.
- Illness in the Family. When someone is suddenly diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, such as cancer or heart disease, the whole family is affected. Often, little attention is paid to the stress suffered by the patient's relatives, who have to be strong in order to give support to their loved one. If the disease is prolonged, the stress is also prolonged, and this can affect the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health of all the family members.
- A Dead-End Situation. Stress can become intensified when people face an extreme situation in which there doesn't seem to be a solution—such as personal bankruptcy, abuse, a broken relationship, terminal illness, the death of a loved one, moral failure, national economic collapse or a natural disaster. People are left perplexed, not knowing what to do or where to go. Despair and discouragement flood their hearts because they feel that "everything is over" for them.
Hope in the Midst of Stress
Which of these 10 stress-inducers do you relate to the most? If you have allowed anxiety, fear, overcommitment, lack of time, family issues, financial need, serious illness or anything else to disrupt your peace and oppress your life, please join me in the following prayer, knowing that Jesus is listening to you and cares about you.
Lord Jesus, I thank You for helping me understand what is happening in my life. I recognize that I have given place to fears and anxiety; I have let overcommitment, financial difficulty, health issues or family problems become a cause of stress for me. I have tried unsuccessfully to control my situation or do more than I am able to—and the only results I have obtained are to lose my peace of mind, injure my health and decrease my faith. I recognize that, instead of looking to You, I have tried to solve everything on my own, and I am exhausted! I feel anxious, irritable and impatient.
Today, I release my burdens to you, and I ask You to fill my heart with Your peace. I renounce stress, anxiety, spiritual oppression and anything else the devil wants to bring into my life. I receive Your presence, Your grace and Your power to liberate and strengthen me. I receive Your faith to believe that everything that is disordered in my life will become ordered again, and everything that is pending will end well. I rest in Your presence, placing my total trust and confidence in You. I give You control of my life. I worship You. Thank You, Jesus, for the complete provision You made on the cross of Calvary so that today, I can be free.
Edited excerpt from Stress-Free Living, © 2019 by Guillermo Maldonado, published by Whitaker House. Used with permission.
Active in ministry for over 20 years, bestselling author Apostle Guillermo Maldonado is the founder of King Jesus International Ministry—one of the fastest-growing multicultural churches in the United States—which has been recognized for its visible manifestations of God´s supernatural power. He is a spiritual father to 400 churches in 70 countries, which form the Supernatural Global Network. He is also the founder of the University of the Supernatural Ministry (USM).
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