“Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience
various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces
endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you
may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”
James 1:2-4 (HCSB)
by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC
CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries
James told us that we are to consider the various trails we face in life not just a joy, but a great joy. Why? Because through them we are able to see how Jesus conquers them and then our faith grows and we are ready for the next thing He would have us do. But as James teaches us, increased faith only happens when endurance does its complete work in us. Endurance begins in understanding stress better, and we’ll start with explaining what stress is.
The best definition of stress comes from combining two online dictionaries to create a solid understanding of stress. Using these two dictionaries, stress is, “A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances that disturbs or interferes with one’s normal physiological equilibrium. A physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension.” (Google) (Dictionary.com)
Stress Leaves its Mark
If you think about a rubber band being stretched, then you can see how stress can affect you. Either of two things happens: one can stretch and stretch until the rubber band slips and then it sling shots across the room leaving a stinging mark on whatever – or whomever – it hits or it is stretched and stretched until it reaches its breaking point and leaves a stinging mark on the person who is stretching it as the rubber snaps and breaks.
The more stress we feel the more we can be like the rubber band and leave our stinging stress marks on those around us and on ourselves. The only problem is that stress and the marks it leaves can also hurt our testimony and therefore the very ministry we have been called to. The more we ignore stress or let it pile up, the more we are stretching that rubber band. We have to be able to both recognize what is causing stress in our lives and our most capable ways of dealing with stress.
Identifying your Stressors
The first step to dealing with stress is to identify what your stressors are. Major stressors can be easy to identify. They loom before us like giants, and keep us awake at night. However, areas of chronic stress may not be as easy to see. There are also stressors that you might not think of as stressors…areas of life that can be exciting such as receiving a promotion or getting married.
To identify your stressors, first take a moment and answer the following questions:
- What parts of your ministry are stressful?
- What part of your home and personal life is stressful?
- Do you have any financial stress?
- Are there any health stressors?
- Add any other stressors in your life.
As we continue to learn about stress, you might find you need to come back and add to what you have already listed.
Getting control of stress
It’s one thing to identify the areas of stress in your life, but if you want to begin to get control over your stress, you must also take responsibility for the role you play for the stress in your life. You have to examine your own thoughts, feelings, habits and behaviors that might be contributing to your stress. For example, meeting an important deadline might cause a high level of stress, but you also need to examine if there are any habits or behavior that may have contributed to the stress of meeting the deadline. If you procrastinated until the last minute, then your procrastination would be the bigger stressor rather than the deadline itself.
Ask yourself the following questions to help you identify any role you might be playing in the stress you have. Remember to consider your habits, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Take a moment to answer each question below and list an example of a recent stressful experience that comes to mind for each question:
- Do you see stress as just part of the nature of your ministry or home life?
- Do you tend to explain away stress as temporary?
- What habits do you have that contribute to or increase levels of stress?
- Do you see stress as just part of who you are?
- What beliefs do you have that might make stressful situations more intense?
- What attitudes appear when faced with stress that can add to the stressful situations?
- Can you remember the last time you were able to rest and take a break?
- What behaviors exhibit themselves when you are stressed?
- Do you tend to blame stress on other people or events?
What marks are your stressors leaving?
Think back to the example of a stretched rubber band that leaves its stinking mark on whomever it hit once it snaps. Just like it leaves a stinging mark, so do we when we are stressed. Consider each of these questions above and evaluate if the stressors you identified above are leaving their marks on others, yourself, or your ministry. Go back and write the names of people that have been affected by the stinking marks left by the stress you experienced. Very likely, you either identified yourself or someone else that was affected by every single one of them because it is just about impossible to experience stress without it leaving a mark somewhere.
The questions then become: Are the marks your stress is leaving negative or positive marks? Are the marks negative or positive on those around you? Are they negative or positive to your ministry? If there are positive stress marks, place a positive sign next to those stressors. If it is negative, then place a negative symbol next to them. You may find that there are both positive and negative marks. If there are negative marks, you might want to stop here and take some time to seek those persons out and ask for their forgiveness.
Finding Rest from the Stress
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” No matter what stress we are experiencing, we can bring it to Him and find rest, comfort, strength, and wisdom. Spend some time and look up a verse in your Bible that would speak to each one of the stressors you identified. Begin working on memorizing these verses so when the moments of stress come in these areas, the Holy Spirit can recall them to your mind and you can speak Words of Life over your stress.
Do you have an event on the calendar and need a speaker?
We’re offering 30% discount on our speaker fees if booked by October 31, 2021. Call today and use the discount code: FALL2021.
We’re excited to be a part of your ministry and can’t wait to see you – no matter what size your event.
Help support our ministry:
Make a one-time donation
Make a monthly donation
Make a yearly donation
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution is appreciated and will help us grow and expand our ministry. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly
Our Newest Download! The Path to Sin Worksheet
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.[Download not found]
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.[Download not found]
Download our Free 2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan
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.[Download not found]
Download our Free 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan
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![Download not found]
Download our Free 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 and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.[Download not found]
<<<NEW>>> In the Spreadshop Store:
Ever feel alone or unloved? Remember that you are chosen by God and He will never forsake you. You are who He says you are – a child of God, His own unique creation, treasured, loved, and adored.
Let’s Get Ready for Fall, Ya’ll!
The slide show below highlights some of our favorite Christian Tees designs available in our Spreadshop and Teespring stores.
See our Canvase prints in the Teespring Store: 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.
To see the collection of Canvas and Poster Prints
Need some music to get you through the day? Check out one of our Playlists on YouTube
You can also watch our animated devotionals on the YouTube Channel
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:
- Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
- Conversation Starters.
- Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
- Romance Builders.
- Relationship Builders.
- Personal reflections.
- Date ideas.
- Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.
Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.
Bible Studies, Bibles, Books & More
Looking for a Bible Study, Bible, book or Christian gift? We are an affiliate with Christianbook Distributors and receive an 8% commission on any item purchased through one of our links. However, the commission never increases your cost of any item. View some of our favorite items by clicking on the logo and thank you for supporting our ministry.
Wellspring Christian Ministries receives an 8% commission on any purchased made from Christian Book Distributors through any affiliate link on this site. Your price for any item is the same as purchasing from CBD directly.