Over the past few weeks I have been inundated with calls and meetings with people in crisis. Life is tough…there are days when we all wonder how we will persevere. In times of extreme stress, our brain releases cortisol in effort to help us regulate our stress response so that we can return to a state of homeostasis. In moderation, cortisol is a helpful hormone. The problem is when we live under constant duress, the body exerts excessive amounts of cortisol which can lead to high blood sugar, weight gain, gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular disease, and suppresses the immune system. I wish this list was as bad as it gets, but sadly, stress leads many to consider suicide as an option for dealing with their pain. (Just minutes before posting this I received word from a loved one of a suicide in her circle of friends).
There are times when we are unable to eliminate stressors in our lives, so what’s a person to do? The answer lies in our ability to find healthy coping mechanisms to eliminate stress. We need to combat stress physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Most of us know that aerobic exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep all work to reduce the effects of stress. We can also combat stress symptoms by managing our mental health. Meditation calms a person physically and emotionally, leading to better mental health. In addition, research shows that practicing the spiritual disciplines helps to deter the harmful effects of stress.
The next time you are overwhelmed with stress, take a time out. Get alone with the scriptures and meditate on God’s Word. Some passages that have helped me in the past are:
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faithproduces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 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 1:2-5
“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
As well as Isaiah 43 and Hebrews 12
What are some passages that have ministered to your soul in dark times?