A 4-Step Strategy to Decrease Your Stress This Week

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Are you ever stressed? Do you begin Monday dreading the week ahead and simply can't wait for Friday to come again?

Silly questions, right?

We can never remove all the issues of our life that bring us stress. We have to somehow learn to navigate our lives through stress.

I have some easy suggestions I have used and shared so many times. I hope you find it helpful.

Let me warn you, this isn't some deeply researched system. These are simple. It may even seem overly symbolic to some, but, in my experience, they are powerful suggestions.

4 Steps to a Less-Stressed Week

Get a set of index cards. Write on each one what you are most concerned about in life right now—as you begin another week. Only one concern per card, but use as many cards as necessary. List everything you're concerned about—"worried about" if that's your word—on a card. This may take a few minutes, so take your time listing them.

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There is something cleansing about writing out your concerns. It is a therapeutic exercise. (Insider information—you'll find some of the things don't merit their own card once you have to write them.)

Place the cards. After you've completed your cards, lay them face-up on a table in front of you. This is a bare your soul kind of moment. Now share them with God. He knows them already—better than you know them—but do it anyway.

There is something incredibly freeing to give your recorded burdens to your Creator.

Pray. Pray something like this, "God, this is what I have before me this week, which I can't handle. I'm asking You as my Father, who loves me more than I can imagine, to give me direction, success, wisdom, patience and understanding in every area of my life. Lead me along the path You would have for me. I'm trusting completely in You. If this season is a success in my life, it will depend on You. I love You, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen".

Make them your own words, talking to a Father God who loves you more than you can understand.

Do the best you know how to do. After you have listed your concerns and taken them to God, leave the rest in God's hands.

Please understand, this is not a formula for success. I don't believe those exist.

And this isn't simple. I used the word "simple" earlier, but that was just to keep you reading. There's nothing simple about walking away from your right to control your outcome and leaving things in God's hands. Even though we ultimately have very little control over the way things turn out in our life—we still naturally want to try.

Worry often comes more easily than faith.

Also, understand God is certainly not defined by our prayers. God will do what is best for us and His will—even when that disagrees with what we think we want. God always appears, at least in my life, to be more about shaping my character than my circumstances.

This "system" is, however, biblical—in my opinion. I based it on Hezekiah's actions in response to receiving a letter that threatened his entire kingdom. (Talk about stress.) Read that story in 2 Kings 19:14-19.

I have tried this numerous times, and God always responds to my humble attempt to surrender my fears, stress and concerns to Him.

Sometimes this response has relieved me of my stress. Most of the time, however, this process helps me refocus and feel a sense of calm amidst my circumstances, knowing my God is ultimately in control.

Try this and see what happens and how it impacts your week.

Ron Edmondson is the CEO of Leadership Network. Previously, he was a pastor, revitalizing two churches and planting two churches. He loves assisting pastors and those in ministry in thinking through leadership, strategy and life.

This article originally appeared at ronedmondson.com.

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