by Pastor Mark Jordan
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)
As we work our way through recovery from burnout, we now know it is essential to prioritize self care and get God’s perspective in the hustle and bustle of daily living so we can focus on the important over the urgent. The third step we will explore today is limiting our exposure to the negative stressors in life, at least as best we can.
We all have stress in life. Contrary to some popular opinion, not all stress is bad. Stress is a way to tell us that something is wrong or out of place and needs to be fixed. Stress within a healthy balanced lifestyle helps us know when we need to change our minds, change our behaviors, or change our environments. When we lose perspective, however, and allow others’ urgency to become ours, the constant stress can cause us to focus on “stuff” as opposed to the peace of God in the midst of whatever we face.
Our passage from Philippians 4:6-7 challenges us to look at the good in things and put our faith into practice, taking our anxious thoughts to God. This is about shifting our focus from the struggles to the hope of Christ. Some might say this contradicts the idea of not withdrawing and staying connected, but it isn’t; in fact, it is precisely about staying connected to God and others, finding transformation through the renewal of the mind. It is seeking out the things that lift you up as opposed to bring you down. This is precisely what the peace of God aims to do in your life, and help you do for others. You must stay fueled and aflame for that to happen…but more on that tomorrow.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the renewed perspective that helps me shift my focus from the negative things in life to the positive and praiseworthy. I know I can find your peace when I focus on those things, so help keep my focus there. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.