In this article I have used Christmas as an example. However the principles involved apply equally to all times of stress and can be suitably modifies for the occasion.
Christmas, meant to be a time of enjoyment, “peace and goodwill to all men ” is nowadays, more often than not, a period of time that people wish was over! Even Christians admit to this – especially as they recognize how far society today has moved from the true meaning of Christmas. It seems to be normal for peace to fly out of the window and parents seem to be particularly prone here.
A definition of Stress can be ‘when the demands put upon us outweigh the resources we have’. Christmas is a time when great demands are placed upon our whole being – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and behavioral.
At Christmas there can be the following demands;
1. Time Pressure – including the deadline of December 25th!
2. Expectations and Pressure to Achieve – from oneself and others.
3. The list of jobs shout at you to be done – your home to clean and polish, the rooms and tree to decorate; the table to be laid for the occasion; having sent out your greetings cards and bought and wrapped your gifts to others; and a huge (usually hot) meal to be prepared,cooked and presented (after horrendous exhausting shopping with perhaps fractious children)!
Put all those together, and mix with the possibility of emotional anxiety and maybe dread and fear of relationship situations, and the conclusion could be:-
CHRISTMAS = STRESS!
What does our Heavenly Father think about all this? How sad and grieved must Jesus and The Holy Spirit be as they witness tension,tiredness, short tempers, angry words and rows, and worse – drunkenness, debauchery, violence, neglect and abuse.
As Christians we must first be AWARE of, and IDENTIFY areas of our personal stress. then consider whether you have things out of kilter and and the need to take some practical steps.
10 Practical Steps For Reducing Stress:
1. Plan and Prioritize
2. Delegate and get help
3. Learn from last year and be flexible
4. Build in time and space for Yourself, i.e. time with the Lord, a brisk walk, relaxation time of 15 minutes using a DVD or CD if necessary to help you escape from it all.
5. Build in some degree of failure into ” Christmas”! It really doesn’t matter if we fail to complete the mammoth job lists we set ourselves! Does it really matter?
6. Learn the “So What” Principal – therapeutic indifference, (but not at the expense of being responsible!)
7. Lower Expectations – of self and others
8. Forgive quickly – yourself if you fail, and others who let you down or annoy you!
9. Drink lots of water and………..
10. DON’T FORGET THE LORD JESUS! Do give Him TIME, preferably first thing in the morning.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only answer to your stress. Learn to roll it onto Him because He is more than able to sustain you.