From the time you said yes. you knew it was coming. As a Christian, you have long understood the toll of following Christ and the dues you have to pay as a servant. Going out of your comfort zones and being exposed to various sorts of humility-teaching mission trips…going down the ditch just like what the Savior did just to reach the “Christ-less” people… making great sacrifices… and going the extra mile just to realize the “cause” of the name that has been affixed to yours.
Even in the face of all these challenges and trials, you still allowed yourself to be enlisted as a soldier in a spiritual movement. But after some time, you also find yourself mired in the mud of doubt. You start to see the faults of your Christian peers which makes following Jesus more of a “drag.” The people you look up to in the faith, instead of promoting a Christ-likeness in your group, have been behaving unconventionally. Church and ministry pressures have become almost unbearable. To make matters worse, you somehow feel that you are now less appreciated compared to the “favored” new Christian guys. The fire within you starts to fade out. The faithful and enthusiastic “Yes!” had already become a faint “I-can’t-do-it-anymore” retort. Indeed, most Christians experience their fair share of stress and anxiety. Even those looked upon by others as being “strong in the faith” have found their normal routine disturbed by all the troubles of every day life.
A lot of issues confront Christians, especially those who are called to be full-time ministers. Among the stress factors that afflict ministers and church workers include: the difference between expectations and hard reality; the difficulty of being a leader and a servant at the same time; the so-called Peter Principle in which one feels inadequate to lead a group of committed volunteers; the wide scope of responsibilities of a minister or church worker; and the constant pressure of living a “pure” life in front of a congregation.
Stress and anxiety can manifest not only as stressors (overwhelming emotions induced by environmental factors) but can also be seen as internal factors — like the fear of being compared to others, for example. Being accused falsely by someone that you trusted; constant bickering with a fellow believer; conflict and confusion over theological principles and corporate beliefs — all these can lead to stress and anxiety. These distressing predicaments can really put out the fire in a Christian’s life. Psychologists also point out that stress and anxiety can inhibit normal brain activities, which can later lead to faulty decisions.
Compounded by all these problems, many believers feel like being on the verge of quitting. However, in the real sense, the word “quit,” or any word which carry same meaning is not registered in God’s vocabulary. Instead, He wants us to persevere until He comes.
A struggling believer should consider the following suggestions that can help revive a sense of victory in one’s spiritual and daily lives:
Prepare for stressful situations
As they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Even Jesus prepared for his great battle of temptation with a 40-day fasting. So, in this light, we must also follow the Master’s example by being always prepared.
Relax for a while
Jesus encouraged us to “obey the Sabbath and keep it holy.” The Sabbath also was given so that man can rest from all the hard work. It’s a good regimen for coping with anxiety. Listening to your favorite music and engaging in your hobbies are also effective in dealing with anxiety.
Practice a Healthy Christian lifestyle
Just like food that is important to the body, prayer and devotion are essential to one’s spiritual nourishment. A car wouldn’t run without fuel. In the same manner, our spiritual life would be in great peril if we do not take time to read God’s word and constantly seek His guidance through prayer.
Set your priorities
This is not only applicable in the corporate world but also in living the Christian life. The sad part is that many Christians tend become lax about their spiritual life and, in the process, abuse God’s grace. By knowing one’s priorities, a believer’s use of time, energy, and resources would be optimized.
Seek for continuous strength from God
Jesus is the ultimate source of our strength and power. Therefore, we need to constantly attach ourselves to the power source.
The Apostle Paul said, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus — the author and the finisher of our faith.” By removing our focus on the daily problems and struggles that cause us anxiety, we are able to gaze on the Source of Life. Paul also advises all of us to “…press on toward the prize.” Indeed, with prayer and faith, all of us must continue in our journey of faith regardless of the trials that come our way.