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Dealing with Stress (Part 1) – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

Jesus was constantly under pressure.  There were grueling demands on His time.  He rarely had personal privacy and He was constantly interrupted.  People repeatedly misunderstood, criticized, and ridiculed Him.  He was under enormous stress, yet He remained at peace under pressure.  How did He do it?  In this article, I want to look at the example of Jesus and see what we can learn.  Know who you are.  “‘Who are you?’ they demanded.  Jesus replied, ‘The one I have always claimed to be.’”  
If you don’t know who you are, others might try to tell you who they think you are.  If you don’t know who you are, you’ll subconsciously let other people pressure you into believing you are somebody you’re not.  A lot of stress comes from our hiding behind masks, living double lives, being unreal with others, and trying to be somebody we’re not.  Insecurity always produces pressure in our lives; when we’re insecure, we feel coerced into performing and conforming.  We set unrealistic standards for ourselves, and even though we work, work, work, we still can’t meet them.  So, what should you do?  You must know who you are, and Whose you are!  You’re a redeemed child of God put on this earth not by accident but for a purpose.  You are deeply loved and fully accepted by God.  He has a plan for your life; therefore, you are significant.  To overcome stress, you must know who you are; until you deal decisively with this issue, you’ll be plagued by it.  
Jesus said, “I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 5:30).  Know whom you are trying to please.  Jesus didn’t try to please everybody, so isn’t it foolish for you to try to do something even God doesn’t do? It was a settled issue with Jesus: “I’m going to please God, period!”  And God replied, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mt. 3:17).  When you lose sight of who you’re trying to please you’ll always cave in to three things: (1) Criticism, because you’re overly concerned about what others think of you.  (2) Competition, because you’re afraid somebody will get ahead of you.  (3) Conflict, because you’re threatened by anyone who disagrees with you.  Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things [that you’re stressed out over] shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33).  
By focusing on God’s will, you simplify your life!  You’ll always be doing the right thing, the thing that pleases Him, regardless of what anybody else thinks.  We love to blame stress on other people and on our obligations: “You made me do it…I have to…I’ve got to.”  Actually, there are few things in life apart from our jobs that we must do.  So, what we’re really saying is, “I choose to [you fill in the blank] because I don’t want to handle the consequences.”  Rarely does anybody make us do anything, so we can’t blame other people for our stress.  When we feel pressured, we’re choosing to let others put us there.  The fact is, we’re not victims unless we allow ourselves to be pressured by outside demands.