I've learned something in my pursuit of a stress-free life: If I want peace rather than the pressure of stress, I must choose to seek direction from God in every situation. God is a God of peace, and He'll always lead us toward peace and joy, not anxiety and frustration. Therefore, we have to be listening for His voice.
As we follow His voice, we will find peace and overcome the stress that is so prevalent in our world today.
To find peace in our lives, we simply need to obey the promptings God gives us each day. A prompting is a "knowing" deep down on the inside, telling us what to do. First Kings 19:11-12 (AMPC) refers to this knowing as a still, small voice.
A prompting isn't a whack on the head with a hammer! In 1 Kings, the Lord didn't use the great and strong wind, the earthquake or fire to prompt Elijah. His voice came to Elijah as a sound of gentle stillness and a still, small voice.
A prompting doesn't even have to be a voice at all. In fact, God often gives direction by speaking to your heart rather than to your ears.
Since a prompting is very gentle, some might question whether or not it's from God. And this uncertainty can make it easy to ignore it.
The Danger of Ignored Promptings
One time after I had been shopping at the mall for three or four hours, I sensed that God was saying, "You need to go home now." I had only purchased half of the eight items on my shopping list, so I ignored the prompting and kept on shopping.
The remaining items on my list weren't immediate needs. But, like many determined, goal-oriented people, I wasn't about to leave that mall until I purchased everything on my list. I had come for eight items, and I wasn't leaving until every item was crossed off my list! So I definitely wasn't going to listen to any voice that said otherwise.
I remember reaching the point of being so tired and upset that I wasn't able to think clearly. All I wanted to do was finish shopping and get out of there. It was almost more than I could do to remain civil to the other shoppers and clerks in the store. I was stressed-out!
Looking back, I can't remember how many times I've done that—stress-out because I've pushed beyond the prompting of the Lord. I can always tell I've gone too far when I'm not able to practice even the most basic manners—politeness, kindness and self-control.
If I simply had obeyed the prompting of the Lord when I heard that still, small voice telling me to go home, I would've easily relieved the stress from the situation. Instead, I pushed my way through in my own determination to achieve my goal, and I ended up bringing stress on myself and everyone around me.
If we'll simply learn to listen to God and do what He says, we'll discover that things will go well for us. No matter what the situation, we need to listen to God and obey His voice.
Proverbs 3:6 states: In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.You may not understand the reasons that God is asking you to do certain things, but as you listen to His voice and obey His direction, you can experience a peaceful calmness as your stress level begins to decrease. So listen up...and de-stress!