Change is inevitable in all of our lives. While most of us don’t like change, life events force them on us. We experience getting married, getting divorced, starting a family, fluctuations in the economy, fractured family relationships, starting new jobs, losing jobs, relocating, empty nest syndrome, health issues, illness of a loved one, or death of a loved one. Most change issues cause stress and/or anxiety. Even happy events can cause stress: your wedding, new job, new house, new baby and even winning the lottery!
How do we handle the stresses of change? We might try drinking, smoking, eating, venting, exercising, or joining a self-help group. Sometimes life hands us a ‘cluster’ of changes which can overwhelm us and cause us to lose our balance of life. What do you do when you are over-challenged with life changes?
Jesus experienced changes in his life. He was the son of a carpenter and in three years of ministry became a prophet and Savior. He dealt with many changes and emotions: anger in the temple; frustration with His disciples; sadness with tears when friends died, and sweating blood agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. How did Jesus handle these events?
He often went out in the desert or to a quiet place by himself to pray to His Father. Even Jesus needed to renew His soul.
Jesus can help us renew our souls that are shaken by stress. He offers us renewal of spirit and soul. Scripture teaches us: “Do not be afraid – I am with you. I have called you by your name. You are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27-31
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5
You don’t have to make life’s changes alone. Let Jesus help you. Literally, reach out to him, and surrender your stress changes one by one and ask for his help. Visualize him taking each one from you. Don’t take them back. He promises and will help to renew you.
Some might ask: How can I praise the Lord when everything is tumbling down? How can I give thanks in all circumstances? My life is upsidedown.
We all do things in love for people. Whether it’s loving, cooking, shopping, repairing, teaching, listening, sharing, or whatever you give of yourself for another’s good; it’s a gift.
Parents spend many years raising children, instructing them in life’s ways. Besides teaching them the rules of life, parents also share their love by supporting, encouraging, and nurturing. Although they are not seeking pats on the back for things they do, it is always joyful to parents when a child appreciates their efforts and shows gratitude and thanks them.
Wikipedia defines ‘thanks’: “gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive”.
It is a positive emotion to give or receive thanks. Do you give thanks? I don’t mean the polite, politically correct and etiquette kind of thanks. I mean thanks that come from positive emotions of gratitude. Wikipedia describes ‘gratitude’: a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation; “he was overwhelmed with gratitude for their help”.
It’s hard to give thanks or feel gratitude when the economy is poor; there are wars and rumors of war; heated disagreements over how the government should be run; yours or another’s job loss, foreclosures; and that’s not even counting personal problems caused by these things. It is disheartening that there are mega problems that surround us today. A hopeless feeling might come over some of us. Have you even thought of giving thanks for anything recently? What are you thankful for?
God talks to us via the Bible and tells us:
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalms 100:4
“Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his mighty acts; praise him for his excellent and surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the stringed instruments and organs, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Psalms 150
Some might ask: How can I praise the Lord when everything is tumbling down? How can I give thanks in all circumstances? My life is upside down.
Again, the Bible speaks to us:
The Lord tells us in Psalm 32:8 – “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”
God wants us to be happy. His Word in Scripture reflects this. He instructs us in His Ways in the Bible and His instructions pave the way to happiness, peace and prosperity. How do we know that God wants us to be happy? He tells us in Proverbs 17:22:
“A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
One of the ways you can get happier and over the disillusionment of life’s events is to start praising God and thanking Him. There are uncountable things we can thank him for and show true gratitude for. They can be little things; in fact, it’s the little things that change your heart from downtrodden to a cheerful heart. I thank God for opening my eyes to see every morning and being able to get out of bed. I thank Him for the capability to drive, work, exercise, read, share love with my family and friends and for every meal I partake. These are all gifts and blessings from God. Not everyone has them. We all have so many blessings we take for granted.
I don’t pray every minute – but I do give thanks a lot. It’s a habit now. For every close call in a car, or every misstep that didn’t end in a fall, or even if I get to the bank just as they are closing the door, but let me in, I give thanks to Him and Praise Him. ‘All good things come from God’. They don’t have have to be lottery wins, or windfalls or extraordinary happenings. The more I praise Him and thank Him, the more cheerful I become. The negative things in my life become less prominent. Two matters cannot occupy the same space. My praises highlight the thankfulness; my thankfulness highlights the good and negates the bad; my gratitude is mind-changing.
Become aware of all the good things in your life. Start praising God for all the good things; give Him genuine gratitude. And you will find that you will achieve a happy heart and a cheerful mind. And when you become uplifted, don’t forget to thank Him and praise Him for that, too!!