Stressed Out (week 2)
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe (Proverbs 29:25 NIV).
CONTEXT OF SCRIPTURE
In this verse, Solomon reminds us that fearing man in any way—which includes fearing what others think about us—will end up trapping us. It will snare us and prevent us from making progress in our lives. On the other hand, when we trust in God (instead of fearing man), we’re kept safe. Safe from what? Safe from the snare and the fear of man. When we’re free from the snare, we’re free to move forward and move in the direction God is leading.
In this series, we’ve been talking about things that create anxiety, worry, and fear in our lives. If stress is inevitable in our lives, then the best thing we can do is learn to deal with it in a healthy and helpful way. I think if we were honest, we’d admit that one of the things that can stress us out more than anything else is the awareness of how we fit in, or don’t fit in, compared to everybody else. Ultimately, I think this stressor really boils down to one thing: self-consciousness.
Awareness of yourself + your perception of how much other people accept or reject you
Here’s another way that self-consciousness leads to stress: other people’s expectations of YOU. If we’re going to handle stress in a healthy way, we have to figure out how to live our lives with other people watching. Thousands of years ago, King Solomon, often thought of as the wisest man who ever lived, talked about this tension. King Solomon knew what it was like to constantly live aware of what people thought of him. When King Solomon wrote wise sayings, which he did a lot, he would often contrast two statements against each other.
A “snare” is a trap. And what does that trap do? It keeps you where you are.
Some of you can already see how your stress—due to expectations or self-consciousness—has trapped you and kept you where you are. When you trade your stressed out self-consciousness, for a bigger foundation of joy and purpose, which comes from God, you get untrapped.
Trade your stress for His strength.
See, I think we could all throw out a bunch of words to fill in this sentence: THE OPPOSITE OF STRESSED OUT IS __________________.
When we trade our stress for His strength, those things are possible. One of the most important ways to keep this trap from overpowering you is to identify it.
First, identify the trap. Then, identify the trapper.
We have to quit giving up! When we ask God for His help, we are so much stronger than we think we are. God is bigger than the trap.
God is with you. So trade your stress for His strength.