by Emily Conrad

I posted last week about waves bringing us home (meaning trials bring us closer to Jesus). Nothing much was going on at the time, other than standard summer events.

That changed this week. The boat’s rocking with a couple of waves.

Before I get into the waves and what I’m learning from them, I am excited that Justice is on sale for $.99 right now in ebook format. You can get it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I was initially told the sale would happen 6/30, but I’m telling you early because it went live early. I expect the discount to end 6/30, so take advantage while you can!

So this great thing–the promotion which I asked for–is going on, but simultaneously…

My laptop is in the shop, my Google drive has apparently not been backing up since mid May so my documents aren’t available to me on my old laptop, and I learned this morning (Thursday, as I type) my pit bull needs surgery tomorrow (Friday, the day this will post).

I’m tempted to shut down. To say I’m out of ideas, I’m not strong enough to overcome the obstacles, and I’m going to retreat into a book (or a series of naps) for the rest of the week. And maybe next week, too.

But, from my dog, I think there’s a lesson I need to apply.

The first time Sadie had trouble with the patch of skin on her elbow was when we moved two years ago. She got stressed, she licked her elbow, and eventually she broke the skin. We took her to the vet, but we were able to heal her up without drastic measures. We’ve also been able to help her heal a few other times since.

Then, last week, I attended an out-of-town family reunion. As far as I can tell, Sadie spent her extra time home alone licking her elbow. The skin broke, worse than normal.

The vet wants to remove the problematic skin/tissue because it’s too far gone. With the holiday next week, our options for surgery were tomorrow or not for a week and a half. He didn’t think we should wait a week and a half, so tomorrow it is.

All because she was licking her wounds too much over the course of a couple of years.

Since she does this when she’s stressed over things she can’t control, the application to my own life seems obvious.

Sadie worried her elbow in response to stress. I just plain ol’ worry in response to stress.

The more I worry, the more that becomes my go-to when the going gets tough. That attitude rots away the peace and faith I have in Christ, and eventually, God has to do surgery to heal what I’ve done to myself.

But if we’re not to worry when we’re stressed, what are we to do?

Here are four ideas I’m implementing:

Remember Who God is. He is good, and He is strong enough to save.

You are good and you do good. (Psalm 119:68a, NET)

The Lord your God is in your midst;
he is a warrior who can deliver.
He takes great delight in you;
he renews you by his love;
he shouts for joy over you.
(Zephaniah 3:17, NET)

Wow, I’m feeling better already, but I promised four ideas, so let’s continue until we’re all feeling as peaceful as Luther in his bowl chair…

Practice gratitude. When we remember how much we’ve been given, it’s harder to be concerned with what we don’t have. I’m grateful Sadie’s infection is not life-threatening. I’m grateful that the wound doesn’t seem to bother her that much. I’m grateful we can afford to get her the care she needs. I’m grateful I’ll still get to take her for a walk today. I’m grateful I have an old laptop to use while the new one is in the shop.

Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NET)

Pray. The last verse mentioned this too, but a little repetition can only help. Because God does care about us, He invites us to let Him shoulder our burdens.

And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7, NET)

I’ve never noticed the link between these two verses, that casting our cares is an act of humility. (Maybe different versions translate that differently? Or maybe verse 7 is simply the one I hear more, disconnected from verse 6.) Isn’t it humbling to admit we aren’t in control and need God to resolve even the slightest of our cares? But He wants to be involved. He wants us to stop trying to do everything on our own and come to Him. What a relief to be able to do so.

Recite Scripture. It’s what Jesus did when He was tempted in the wilderness, and what’s worry but a temptation to believe solutions to my problems are in my hands and not God’s? I did a guest post recently on using Scripture to combat worry, but I’d also add that we can find specific verses that speak to the area we’re worried about. Since, in my recent season of stress, I feel like I can’t get everything done, this is a good time for Philippians 4:13:

I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me. (NET)

What habits do you use to crowd out worry and stress?

Four tips for times of #stress to stop #worry as a believer in #Jesus via @emilyrconrad