Skip Lloyd

I’ve been stressed lately. Cold, dark-cloudy skies, and icy streets translate to me…I can’t run outside. Running outside is my de-stressor. My wife has even come to realize, if I don’t run outside, I get a bit grumpy. I don’t like feeling that stress. I am wise enough to realize that my stress (trivial as it might be) doesn’t compare to the pain and stress many people are feeling.

How do you handle stress? How do you de-stress when you’re exhausted and overloaded? Do you watch something on Netflix or meet a friend for coffee? Or maybe you’re like me, you go for a run or workout. Those things are ok for immediate relief. But none of these things are going to provide the total relief you need. Watching a movie, drinking coffee with a friend, or running won’t de-stress your soul. It will rest your physical body, but it won’t rest your spirit.

God is the only solution for resting your soul. Only He can give you that inner peace that ultimately de-stresses you. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 RSV).

God doesn’t say, “Read a self-help book, or go get a massage.” God says when you’re overloaded and stressed, go to Him to find rest. What you and I both need when we are stressed and overloaded is more time alone with God. Here is how you do that. Matthew 6:6 says, “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (MSG).

If you’ve never done this before, or you haven’t done it in weeks or months, the New Year is a perfect time to begin. I like to begin my time alone with God in silence. I turn on the coffee pot…and begin praying. I pray for my day, my family, my ministry. I just talk to God using simple language. I cry out to God and cast my burdens on Him. I read some from the Bible and seek His direction. And then I finish my prayer time thanking God for the many, many blessings He has given me the previous day.

Try it. Don’t run on empty today. Call out to God for help. Come to Jesus, and He will give you rest.