Feeling overwhelmed? Try this.


“Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest”  Psalm 55:6                                                                                                                  

In Psalm 55, David is on the run, fearing for his life.  The disloyalty of an old friend has left him feeling alone, scared and in despair.  While your personal burdens may not be life threatening like David’s, they can be overwhelming nonetheless.

Our struggling economy has created burdens for many that they could never have anticipated just a few years ago.  Whether it’s because of a lost job, impending mortgage foreclosure, or overdue bills piling up, many Americans are suffering tremendous financial pressures.

Even if you’re in good financial shape, it isn’t enough.  A 2011 study by the Manilla Research Institute indicates many Americans are stressed out by the pressure of managing their financial accounts.

Many others are overwhelmed by caring for aging parents, health concerns, difficulties with children, struggling marriages and more—the causes are too many to enumerate.

In trying to escape the pressures, many people follow dangerous paths.  One of the most common escapes is alcohol.  Unfortunately, it provides only temporary relief and comes with a laundry list of potential hazards.

Drug abuse is another popular outlet. This includes both legal and illegal drugs.  Over medication with prescription drugs is a major concern–Michael Jackson immediately comes to mind.  In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one in ten Americans over the age of 12 is on some kind of antidepressant medication.

The Internet offers newer forms of escape.  It abounds with websites catering to extramarital affairs.  Sites like “Married Cheaters,”  “Married Cheating,” and the “Married Affair Guide,” are there to help those looking for an escape from marriage, either through a physical affair or one carried out “virtually” over the Internet.

Internet gaming is also a popular escape.  Through a multitude of game sites it’s possible to escape into a make believe world where you make all of the rules and you decide all of the outcomes.  In September 2007, ABC News reported that a man in an Internet café in China dropped dead of exhaustion during a three-day Internet gaming session.   While most people never go to such extremes, escapism through excessive Internet gaming carries real risks.

So what do you do when feeling overwhelmed? How do you try to escape the stress? We would all be wise to learn from David, who provides us a simple solution. He says in Psalm 55:16-17, “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me.  Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.”

Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (NIV)

In her book, “The SuperStress Solution,” Dr. Roberta Lee devotes an entire section to spirituality and prayer.  Speaking of people who are religious or spiritual, Dr. Lee’s research concludes, “They’re better able to cope with stress, they heal faster from illness, and they experience increased benefits to their health and well-being.”  She also concludes that people who are more religious tend to become depressed less often. When they do become depressed, they recover more quickly. While Dr. Lee’s  conclusions are sound, she could have saved herself some time by simply reading Psalm 55 and believing.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Arlene Johns on March 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Good column, Zach. Stress kills. This would seem to be the cure.


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