How Can We Stay Strengthened In This “New Beginning”?
Anytime we start something new such as a new year in our life, family life, new career, or any project, we always have hopes and fears. There is a quote saying “Every moment is a fresh beginning” (T.S. Eliot). The ongoing pandemic causes more fear and anxiety in this New Year 2021. As a child of God, how can we stay strengthened through difficult and stressful situations?
Christians and Stressors
Life is full of ups and downs. Nobody in this world can claim a life full of fun and happiness. God’s initial plan was to let man have a heavenly, peaceful, and joyful life. But the temptation and the sin caused God to change his plan. God said you will work hard for your daily living. “In toil, you shall eat of it all the days of your life” (Genesis 3: 17).
In the New Testament, it says, “you will have sufferings in this world”; “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33). Jesus got tested in everything except sin.
What Makes Life Challenging?
The roadblocks or stresses make it harder for a person to lead a smooth life. Life-changing events like the death of a family member, break up of a relationship, financial loss, and failures in the academic field can change the life routine and its comfort. This is where you are going to get tested for your faith and belief. Worry, stress and anxiety can trigger serious health problems which include hypertension, cardiac problems including heart attacks, gastrointestinal problems like ulcers (Bjorth, 2019).
What Is Stress?
According to Sadock and Sadock (2007), stress can be defined as a situation that disturbs or is likely to disturb the normal physiological or psychological functioning of a person. Our body reacts to the stress by “fight or flight” response which is characterized by high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, shakiness, gastrointestinal problems, or sweating. This response is caused by the stimulation of the nervous system which is known as the autonomic nervous system. A person who goes through stressors in her or his life also becomes vulnerable to ulcers. The stress response of the body causes the lining of the stomach (mucosa) could become more permeable or blanch with increased blood flow which can lead to ulcer formation (Synopsis of Psychiatry, Sadock & Sadock, 2007).
What are some of the stress relievers?
Some of the stress relievers include exercise, meditation, singing, socialization, laughter, Yoga, supplements including Vitamin B, Omega-3 fatty acids, lemon balm, and aromatherapy, journaling, listening to music, and serving others (Worry and stress, Bjorth, 2019). The basic principle of most of these treatments is that it lowers the level of stress hormones, and helps release endorphins in bloodstream, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
As Christians what are some of our remedies for relieving stress in our life?
Rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4):
As children of God, we are not different from others. We also have stressors and struggles in life just like other human beings. What makes the difference is that the peace and the hope we have in Christ will help us move forward. We can find happiness in God’s presence. Our creator is greater than the problems we face.
Sing to the Lord a new song and His praise in the assembly of saints (Psalms 149:1)
A person who sings unto the Lord or someone who enjoys listening to music may handle stress in a better way than someone else who does not have any interest in singing or music. In addition, scientists have identified a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus, which responds to the frequencies created by singing (Bjork, 2019). The response creates an immediate sense of pleasure, regardless of what the singing sounds like so you don’t have to have an amazing voice to feel the positive effects of singing. A research study showed significant decreases in both anxiety and depression levels after one month of adding singing to their routine.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing (1st Thessalonians 5:11):
Our Lord Jesus instructs us to have fellowship together, to pray for each other, and to encourage others. Praying together and sharing our burden with others can help reduce our stress. It helps us overcome feelings of loneliness and isolation. People who are strong in building a relationship with God and others can manage stressors effectively.
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty, comfort the faint-hearted, uphold the weak, and serve one another in love (1st Thessalonians 5: 14-15)
Helping other people can help bring us outside from our problems (Worry and stress, Bjorth, 2019). It distracts us from concentrating on our own problems and stressors. Studies have shown that people who serve others have lowered levels of depression and anxiety.When we serve others, we feel more confident in ourselves and it will increase our self-esteem.
May God help us lead a victorious and exemplary life in Christ by overcoming the stressors by faith, hope, worship, and fellowship. May God bless us all in this New Year.
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