In my last post we looked at Part 5 of the Temptation Tracker. This particular post will be part 6. You can listen to the sermon link below. In it I explain how to use the Temptation Tracker and how the Lord wants to be with us in whatever emotion we are feeling.
Where did this come from?
I always like to give credit where it is due:
Temptation Tracker (created by Doug Hutchins, used with permission)
To see more on this on my site, click on this link: TempationTrackerPage
One of the things the temptation tracker helps us identify is what emotionally triggers us to bow down to other idols. Every time a person is tempted to bow down to a false idol, they need to account for what they were feeling emotionally during that temptation. It looks like this-
Feeling: how were you feeling when temptation hit (Remember: BLAST)
Today let’s look at S, feeling stressed.
Not everyone agrees with my take on this, but try to follow me and hear me out.
I think most of the stress we feel in life can go back to needing to be in control. Think about the last time you were stressed out. Were you stressed out because there was something going on that was out of your control? If I were going to answer that question, then I would need to say “yes”. If you are honest, then I bet you would say “yes” as well.
So then as we look deeper we find that stress is not really a stress problem. Stress is a control problem. We all want to be in control, at least I know that I do. The reality is that we do not control anything. Think about it. Job 38 & 39 makes very clear who is in control. You and I were not there when the foundation of the world was laid. We don’t command the ocean to stop. We don’t tell the mountain goat when to give birth. We don’t give the horse its strength. God is in absolute control of the universe He created, not us.
Please follow my logic. Often times we bow down to idolatry because we are stressed, but we have learned that stress is not really a stress problem. Stress is really a problem that at the root is wanting to be in control. However, we can’t be in control because we are not God. He is in control of everything, and we control nothing.
What do I do with this need to be in control? What do I do with my stress? I lay it at the feet of Jesus. I don’t trust in my own self. I trust in the Lord. Proverbs 3 tells us to trust in the Lord with all of our heart. It tells us to not lean on our own understanding. It tells us if we acknowledge God and lean on him, then He will direct our paths.
I am not in control. If I think I am in control, then I am really just living under an illusion. If I will place my faith and trust in the one who is in control, God Almighty, then He directs my paths, and that causes my stress load to decrease. In turn, I am not bowing down to idolatry because of my stress. Instead, I am taking my stressed out self to the only one who can help me.
Let’s be honest. It is not as easy as just laying our control down at Jesus’ feet. Let’s see if we can dig even deeper on this control thing. Follow me. At the root of stress is the need to be in control. At the root of needing to be in control is fear. Ouch! I know that one hurts because I can be a stressed out control freak. Since that is the case, that means fear can play a huge part in my life. God wants me to trust Him in the midst of my fear. How do we do this?
I would say refer back to Temptation Tracker, BLAST-Part 4 of my blog posts. That whole post deals with being afraid. That might be a good read for you if you struggle with stress.
I won’t restate here everything I said there, but I will give you the short version. How do I learn to trust God in the midst of my fear? I let Him love me with His perfect love. When I experience God’s perfect love, then my fear evaporates. Which means my need to be in control is not there, and my stress is gone.
Challenge: Don’t let stress lead us to any form of idolatry. Let the stress we feel lead us to experience God’s perfect love so we can trust Jesus and bow down to Him alone!