by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries

Stress. Just reading the word may have made you feel some level of stress. There is really no way to go through life without it. Babies experience it while still in the womb. Children feel it when separated from loving parents or when it is time for a test in school. Teenagers experience it learning to drive and beginning to navigate life with more independence. College students experience it learning to do life with roommates, learning to be responsible, and in making choices that will affect the rest of their lives. Newlyweds experience it as they learn to live together and do life together. It’s in the corporate world and the financial world. It’s in the medical world and in politics. There is stress in your senior years. It shows up at work, in your marriage, in your family, and even amongst friends.

Jesus said: “You will have suffering.”

Ministry is no different. Just because you answer the call to serve God, your obedient “yes” does not save you from stress. Jesus even warned the disciples in John 16:33 (HCSB), “You will have suffering in this world.” He didn’t say “if.” He said, “You will.” Sometimes the stress we experience is of our own making when we step out of God’s best for us. Sometimes it comes outside of anything we can control. The short of it is that you, and me, can be assured that we will experience stress.

Thankfully, Jesus didn’t end what He was saying to the disciples with just that statement. He went on to say, “Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” And that is very good news![1]

Jesus experienced stress while on earth

Jesus himself experienced stress while he was on earth. The Son of God who took on human flesh and walked on earth, lived among men, and had the hardest task ever given – one that would determine eternity for every person God created – knew what stress was. He knew exactly what would be lost if for any reason He failed in His mission. We would be lost. If he failed, we would not have a choice to accept Him as our Savior. It would mean that every one of us would have no hope of spending eternity in heaven. It would mean that all of us would be destined for an eternity in hell.

If anyone was ever under pressure to accomplish His mission, it would have been Jesus. On the night He was betrayed in the garden, we can hear the stress and anxiety His human body felt as he prayed for God to take “this cup,” the task of going to the cross, away from Him. He was under so much stress that the Bible says he sweated drops of blood while he was praying.

How Jesus handled stress

Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us that we are to be imitators of God and 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that we who are Christians are being transformed into His image. If we are to be Christ’s image-bearers and “Christ-like,” then we need to see how He handled stress and listen to His instructions for the moments of life that are stressful.

Jesus didn’t run away from the stress

The Bible doesn’t give us much information about Jesus’ growing up years, but we do know from the moment we see Him beginning His ministry at age 30 (Luke 3:23), He was faced with expectations by Jews who believed that if He was the Messiah, he would set up an earthly kingdom and free them from the Romans. He was spied on and questioned by Sadducees and Pharisees who constantly tried to trip Him up and discredit Him to the ones who did believe in Him. He was either greatly loved, or greatly hated. There was a constant demand to perform miracles, but He never ran away from the people.

Jesus made himself available and met the needs of the people with compassion and patience

Jesus didn’t use the disciples as bodyguards who people had to get through to get Him.  He even made Himself available to little children. He had the responsibility for training and preparing His twelve disciples to be the ones who would carry the gospel message to the world after He would return to Heaven. When the disciples failed to understand something Jesus was teaching them, we never see Him yell at them.  Even as He faced the cross, we don’t see Jesus arguing with Pilate when he sentenced Jesus to death just so Pilate could appease the people and avoid an angry mob.

In Mark 6, we find Jesus and the disciples exhausted. They had been so busy doing ministry that they had not even had time to eat. So, Jesus tells them to take some time to go away to a remote place and rest, but the crowds of people saw them leaving and ran ahead of them. When Jesus and the disciples stepped on the shore, he doesn’t send them away. Verse 34 tells us that Jesus had compassion on them and began to teach them. Then he feeds 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish.  

Jesus never crumbled under the load of stress

No matter what stress He faced, we never once see Him crumble. The Bible never tells us of one moment where Jesus felt lost or helpless or hopeless. When the disciples tried to send away little children who they saw as being in Jesus’ way, Jesus stopped them and welcomed them. It makes us want to ask, “How did Jesus do it all?” Of course, He was the Son of God, but He was also human, and therefore, our example.

Even as Jesus neared his death and upcoming crucifixion, He set the example for us. When Peter cut off an ear of a soldier who had come to arrest Jesus, He picked up the ear and miraculously put it back on. On the way to the cross, as He stumbled beneath the load of carrying the cross they would nail Him to, He turns to the women crying for Him and says, “Do not weep for me” (Luke 23:28). Even on the cross He cries out to God saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Throughout His life, we see Christ model emotional strength, sense of purpose, and motivation. Yes, He was the Son of God…but do not lose the fact that while on earth, He was also human and He experienced stress just as we do. However, we never see Him giving in to the pressures of stress.

Jesus got up early to go out alone and pray

How did Jesus handle all the stress and not crumble under the load? Mark 1:35 provides the answer. Here, we find, “And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.” This is the most important example that Jesus set for us. If the Son of God found it necessary to get up early and get alone with God in prayer, then how much more so should we? If we are to have victory in the spiritual battles we face and be able to handle the stress that Satan throws our way we too must get alone and pray.

The advantage to starting out your day in prayer is it fills up your spiritual tank and helps you manage the stress of the day in more Christ like way. When we start the day communing with God, it connects us to the Vine so we are nourished with the Living Water. Through prayer, we can become sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit and see where God is at work.

Imagine, for a moment, that as Jesus leaves to go out alone to pray, he turns and looks at you and softly invites you to join him. Picture him on his knees praying. Where would his attention be? Can you see the expression on his face? Is his head bowed or is his face raised up to heaven. Take a few moment and sit quietly with him.

Now imagine yourself asking him to teach you to pray. What would he say is lacking in your prayer life? Would he say that you do all the talking and no listening? Would he say that you treat him like a genie in a bottle? Do you think he would say that you pray without faith? Would he invite you to be still and wait? Would he invite you to worship and praise God? Spend some time alone with him now and ask him to show you how to pray better.

Do not worry

Jesus taught us that we should not stress and worry. In Matthew 6:25, Jesus taught, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Then in verses 32-34, He says, “For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.” It sounds really good to just simply “not worry” but it isn’t easy in practice.

Where does your help come from?

In Psalm 121:1-2, David asks, “Where will my help come from?” Then he answers his own questions with, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Habakkuk 3:19 says, “Yahweh my Lord is my strength.” And in John 14:26, Jesus told us, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit – the Father will send Him in My name – will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.”  Jesus not only set an example, He also gave us the power of God living in us through the Holy Spirit that can help us meet every stressful situation we face.

Yes, in this world we will have sufferings. But thankfully Jesus did not end the statement there. He said, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)


[1] Do you know what the math book said to the pencil? “I’m full of problems.” But just as a math book is full of problems, the Bible is full of solutions!

Self-care course and coaching

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Coming December 2021!

Pre-order for a 50% discount. You will get the complete set of downloadable self-care video-based course plus 10 group coaching sessions.

Pre-order now to receive a 50% discount! (Releasing December 2021)

You will get the complete downloadable self-care video-based course plus 10 group coaching sessions.

We know that ministry is hard! When you serve in ministry as staff or volunteer, you are on a spiritual battlefield 24/7. As you serve God, you fight for the Kingdom of God and our adversary is constantly attacking. He wants you to either lose your effectiveness in your ministry role or get you to quit. We must be sure we are reconnecting to the Vine (Jesus) so that we can refill, renew, and recharge. Then we can keep on pouring into others.

If you are feeling like you are losing the fight or struggling to stay in the fight, Jesus says to you, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31) Self-care is both Biblical and necessary, if you are going to stay in the fight and be effective in the Kingdom of God. Stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue are real weapons that the adversary uses against us.

Even if you do not serve in ministry, if you are a Christian, you too are in a spiritual battle. Every Christian fights the same adversary and our Biblical self-care principles are for every Christian.

What you get in this self-care course:

In Part 1 of this video-based course, you will learn about the spiritual dangers in ministry, discover if God is testing you or is Satan attacking you, understand that ministry is battlefield and how to be steadfast, immovable on the battlefield, learn how the devil uses his wiles and schemes against us, and remember how to use your Spiritual Armor. We will also breakdown stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue.

Part 2 is all about Preventing and Recovering from Burnout and Compassion Fatigue as we go through six areas that need self-care. In this part of the course we will provide you with practical ways that you can immediately begin practicing self-care. As you continue to serve God in whatever way He has called you, self-care is vital if you are not going to grow weary in doing good so you can reap at the proper time (Galatians 6:9).

Additionally, this packaged deal will provide 10 group coaching session where we will discuss the weekly assigned videos and do check-ins on where you are in each of the six areas of self-care that include: Spiritual, Sensory, Emotional, Social, Physical, and Intellectual.

Releasing in December 2021, this packaged deal will include the complete video-based course plus 10 group coaching sessions with the author, Julia Bruce. In the 10-week program you will complete weekly videos and assignments and then meet virtually for a group coaching session to help you apply self-care where you need it. 

But wait! That’s not all! Check out this Bonus to the self-care course and coaching program.

BONUS: While this course and group coaching is not releasing until December 2021, if you’re purchasing this material, we know you need help now. So, if you purchase before the release date, we’ll place you in our new private Facebook membership page for free through the end of 2021. In January, this group will require a monthly subscription of $19.99. But it will be yours free through the end of year when you purchase the pre-release of the course and group coaching sessions.  

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<<<NEW>>> In the Spreadshop Store:

Here in Florida, it does not feel like fall yet, but September is here and that means we are growing our fall line of t-shirt designs. Check out these two new designs:

Sweater weather

Sweater weather

See our other fall designs:

The slide show below highlights some of our favorite Christian Tees designs available in our Spreadshop and Teespring stores.

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See our Canvase prints in the Teespring Store: All Things New

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When we ask Jesus to forgive us and save us from our sin, He takes our old, sinful self and makes us new in Him. This beautiful canvas is a great reminder of what Jesus has done for us.

See our Canvase prints in the Teespring Store: All Things New

All Things New

We’ve added a new canvas print to the Teespring Store. These prints make great gifts or for decor in your home.

When we ask Jesus to forgive us and save us from our sin, He takes our old, sinful self and makes us new in Him. This beautiful canvas is a great reminder of what Jesus has done for us.

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7 FREE Downloadable Resources

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

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What Satan Does Not Want You To know

This trifold document includes Scripture verses that Satan does not want you to know about. As you hide these verses in your heart, you’ll be able to defeat the lies of Satan when he tries his wiles and schemes on you.

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Stress Journal

We all face stress. How we handle stress, however, has many variables. Learning how to recognize stress, coping with stress, and creating a self-care plan during times of stress can begin by journaling. Taken from our series on Biblical self-care for people in ministry, we’ve created this free download to help you through the things that cause you stress.

Stress Journal Template

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We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

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The Path to Sin

Satan is constantly trying to trip us up and he doesn’t even play fair because he uses our own desires as bait to get us to sin. James tells us the five steps that lead us down the path to sin in James 1:14-15, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” This download helps you identify your desires so that you can better recognize when Satan is baiting you and you can avoid falling into sin. When used along with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to identify the desires that Satan baits you with, you can then ask the Holy Spirit to help you not become a victim to the bait of your desires. Download the worksheet today.

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With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!

One Year Bible Reading Plan

Self-Care Wheel

The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.

Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position (paid staff or volunteer) and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.

Self Care Wheel

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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

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