MONDAY MEDITATION: Peace in Stress? (July 15, 2019)

Philippians 4:4-9

I believe in the value of stress busters. Massage therapy. Aromatherapy. Guided imagery. Meditation. Exercise. Vacation. All are good. They recharge your batteries.

However, once you roll off the massage table, you still have to negotiate rush hour traffic. Stress hasn’t left. “Are you finished?” it seems to ask. “Now, let’s get back to what we were doing.”

It would be good to develop a coping mechanism for dealing with stress when you’re in the midst of it, not when you’ve just had a break from it.

Paul, who wrote Philippians from a prison cell, was pretty good at coping. You’ll find his strategy in the passage above. Take time to read it carefully before proceeding further. (Do it!)

Now, what stood out to you in these words from a prisoner? For me, three things.

Love gently. What if we tried a little empathy and understanding, even to the rude teen, the surly boss, or the hateful coworker? “Gentleness” for Paul meant showing, to all, a spirit of generosity, acceptance, and humility.

Pray thankfully. Blood pressure usually rises in direct proportion to problems. Pain narrows our focus. Paul practiced thankful prayers to God for everything, which for us could include relationship breakups and lousy lab reports. While not alleviating grief and anxiety, practicing “Thank you, God” puts a problem in a wider perspective.

Focus daily. News and social media chum our emotional waters with shark bait. Violence, division, insults, anger. How easy it is to feed the frenzy of negativity. Paul, though, uses words like true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable. Daily positives do outweigh the negative, if we look for them.

Thus are Paul’s three strategies for coping with stress when you’re in the middle of it. Full disclosue: they are still a struggle for me. I like to tackle problems myself. However, that keeps me from seeing a broader picture and tapping a larger power.

Maybe it would be helpful each day to make at least one of these three a priority. Perhaps then we’d begin to discover a little of that “peace that passes understanding.”

9 thoughts on “MONDAY MEDITATION: Peace in Stress? (July 15, 2019)”

  1. Thanks, Greg. Your wisdom on this issue is authentic! I sometimes imagine another metaphor – one in which I am riding with Jesus, and getting tired of the traffic, the highway signs, etc. Then I let Jesus take the wheel. He knows the road way better than I and I just relax and talk about our destination and what we’ll do when we are there! Works for me . . .

  2. How interesting thst you wrote about stress this week. I have been without reading glasses for a week in order to get a prescription changed. Distance was fine, and driving no problem. That relieved much of my stress.
    Trying to read your message through a magnifying glass was not an easy challenge.
    I thank you for sharing, Greg.. Each week you “hit a homerun” for me.
    Blessings to you,

  3. What a coincidence this should come up this morning! This week has not been my best and it is always the million little things that have to be done or dealt with and sometimes they rain on me all at once! I am a positive person most of the time because that is what makes me feel good ! It is vital for me to control that blood pressure, so thank you for this Greg!

  4. The Philippines verses and your commentary are very helpful. It reminds me to put things in perspective and live my values. Sometimes it’s so hard to tune out the negativity when it seems all around you.

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