For years, I had a bad habit. I ate cookies.
Now cookies themselves aren’t bad. (Quite delicious, actually!) But it was the way I ate them.
You see, I didn’t just enjoy one or two cookies, dipping them in milk and savoring them slowly.
No, I was a stress eater. And anytime I was stressed out, overwhelmed, or worried, I’d head straight to the cupboard where I could find the relief I needed.
Nothing like an entire package of Oreos to help you feel okay, right? Especially when you practically inhale them in no time.
Of course, we know we’re supposed to find out comfort in Jesus.
We’re familiar with verses like Philippians 4:6, which says:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”
And Psalm 55:22, which says:
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
But do we actually live it out?
Or do we just say “Oh yeah, Jesus is great and all….” while we head to the cupboard for yet another cookie?
I think, if we were being honest, most of us would have to admit “Yes, I know I should go to God when I’m hurt and lonely and stressed… but I don’t do it as often as I should.”
I know I don’t.
But what if we DID?
I think for a lot of us, we’d first have to know HOW.
HOW do we find comfort in Jesus — practically speaking? What does that actually LOOK like? What do you DO?
Here are a few things I’d recommend:
1. Identify Your Top Stressors and Stress Relievers
So… what stresses you out? And where do you turn when you’re stressed and in need of comfort?
- TV or Movies?
- Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram?
- Your husband, mom or best friend?
Imagine you just had the WORST day ever — what do you need to feel better? Where do you turn?
Now, these don’t have to be bad things. Some of them may even be GOOD things! Just take an honest assessment. When life is stressful or you’re feeling lonely or blue – where do you want to go? What do you want to do?
What do you count on to help get you through?
2. Take Your Problems to Jesus FIRST
Okay, now that you know where you’re most likely to turn when life becomes stressful, let’s change it up a bit. Instead of immediately turning to your favorite comfort foods or activities, take it to Jesus in prayer FIRST.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Just tell God what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling.
- “God, these kids are driving me bonkers right now. I love them, but did you have to make them SO LOUD??”
- “Ugh, God. I’m trying to be a good wife, but it’s SO HARD sometimes! I really just don’t want to deal with this right now.”
- “God, my coworker is SUCH a pain sometimes! I’m trying to bite my tongue and be respectful, but if she keeps pushing me, I’m scared I’m going to let her have it!”
I’d try not to be rude, but it’s definitely okay to be honest. God knows what you’re thinking anyways, so it’s not like it’s some big secret.
3. Ask God for Help
Alright, once you’ve shared your problems with God, it’s time to ask Him for help. Now, again, this could look a number of different ways:
- “God, please give me patience with my kids today. Help me to be kind and present… even when I don’t feel like it.”
- “God, please give me wisdom and insight to see this situation from my husband’s viewpoint. Help us to work together to find a good solution we can both agree to.”
- “God, please help me be a good witness to my coworker today. Please help me show her grace, understanding and forgiveness.”
If you are asking with the right motives and your will is in line with God’s will, you can be confident that God WILL come through for you – even if it isn’t in the way you expect.
4. Meditate on Scripture
Of course, just because you’ve asked for help doesn’t mean that life is going to instantly turn into easy street. You’ll still have struggles, and you’ll still get stressed out. You’ll probably need a good dose of patience while you’re waiting for God to work things out. (He likes to work on HIS schedule, not ours.)
That makes this the perfect time to meditate on Scripture.
Every time you started to get stressed out, worried, or in need of comfort, meditate on these verses instead:
- “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” — Philippians 4:13
- “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” — Psalm 46:1b
- “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” — Romans 8:28
5. Focus on the Positive … and Give Thanks!
When life has you stressed, worried or out-of-sorts, it can be really easy to focus on the negatives. To complain… to grumble… because life isn’t working out the way WE want.
And yet, when you take the time to stop and focus on the positive, you’ll usually find that God is already working things out — you just didn’t realize it!
- Sure, your kids are LOUD, but it’s because they’re happy, healthy and having FUN!
- Sure, marriage is hard sometimes, but it’s because you’re both giving it all you’ve got, and your marriage is going to be that much stronger because of it.
- Sure, your coworker is annoying, but every time you show up with a great attitude and a humble spirit, you’re teaching her important lessons about grace, forgiveness and Jesus — even though neither of you know it quite yet.
So – what things stress you out? And where do YOU turn when you’re in need of comfort? What does this say about where you really put your trust?