Almost every day I hear from someone that he or she is “stressed.” Even I say I am stressed from time to time, though I know by now that stress is in direct disobedience to God’s will for us. It’s a form of worry that things aren’t going right now which opposes the state in which we are supposed to try to be – grateful for how things are – or a state of fear that things won’t go right in the future, which opposes our faith. When we stress – over our jobs, our parents, our kids, our health, our future, our lives – we are feeling and acting faith-less, or in a state of distrust. So it would make sense to me that the only way out of stress is to make every effort to trust – in ourselves, the people around us and especially in God. And I think the season of Lent is the perfect time to give it our all.
Trust in ourselves – Sure, we shouldn’t only trust in ourselves. And most problems are bigger than we are. But we have to believe that we are God’s children and that often the answers lie within us – and if we do the next right thing, we can trust in the outcome, even when we make mistakes and fall. I think sometimes we just need to find the right balance of trusting not only in ourselves, but enough so that when we work with others and with God, everything will be okay. Lord help me find the right balance of trust in myself.
Trust in others – We are living in an increasingly distrustful world. An AP poll recently showed the percentage of Americans who trust in other people has fallen from half in the 1970’s to just a third today. Distrust usually brings fear and discord. “Even the rancor and gridlock in politics might stem from the effects of an increasingly distrustful citizenry.” the article says. The solution? Open our minds and hearts to trust others – it’s never too late – and teach our youth to do the same. I tend not to have a problem with this as I’ve been told I can be too trusting – gullible even. But I’d much rather err on the side of trust in my fellow human beings than the alternative of living in fear. This Lent, Lord, help us to work with and trust our fellow human beings.
Trust in God – This is the most important thing we can do to de-stress, and what Jesus specifically calls us to do. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
(Matt 6:25-27) And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?” Wow. Those last words are so true and powerful. This Lent, Lord help us most of all to trust in You.