How To Manage Stress

Resilience is the strong ability to cope during times of depravation, adversity, or stress. Resilience is the ability to get through the high stress periods of change and come out on the other side with a strong sense of well-being.
Before you get to the point of tying a knot at the end of your rope, identify and work on the following characteristics of resilience.

Independence of thought and action, without fear or reluctance to rely on others.— When you are doing right in God’s eyes—not your own or others’, you should have an independence surpassing all else. In 2 Timothy 1:7, note that God does not give a spirit of fear.

The ability to give and take in one’s interaction with others.— You live in a world with others. You work with others. Look at the model of Jesus. He was around people in many informal situations.

A network of friends, including one or more confidants.— These need not be many. A few good friends can mean much to your stress level. Just knowing they are there to talk with you, to discuss your difficulties, may provide just the support you need.

A high level of personal discipline and sense of responsibility.— Commit yourself to read the Bible every day. Read in the Psalms. Read Romans. Read and reread Scriptures of encouragement, for example Psalm 37 and Jeremiah 29, especially verse 11.

Recognition and development of special gifts and talents.— Reidentify one of your spiritual gifts. Write down how that gift helps your present place of ministry. What would happen if you developed that gift more fully?

A willingness to dream.— Slow down long enough to dream. Look out the window. Go for a walk and imagine new ways. Dream of something that has absolutely nothing to do with a current program or ministry where you serve.

A wide range of interests.— The sheer accomplishment of even a small task helps boost your spirits. So whether it’s gardening, fishing, collecting, woodworking, hiking, drawing, sketching, or any other type of hobby, take time to enjoy it. It will be good for you and others.

Insight into one’s own feelings and those of others and the ability to communicate feelings appropriately.— Learn to deal with four general emotions. “To deal with” does not mean to hide or suppress, rather learn to express these emotions appropriately. The emotions are glad, sad, mad, and scared. (See 35. “How to Nurture Emotional Well-being” for more on these four emotions.)

Focus, a commitment to life, and a philosophical framework.— Maintaining your focus within personal experiences can help you interpret life with meaning and hope, even at life’s seemingly hopeless moments. As a minister, what is your commitment to life? What is the philosophy from which you work? If you grasp, really know, your own commitment and philosophy, you will be steps ahead when you must make difficult decisions. Maintaining your focus will help you through times when hope is distant.

Take time to write down your commitment. Complete each of the following in the order presented:
1. My commitment to God is
2. My commitment to my family is
3. My commitment to my work is

(Adapted, Tommy Yessick, Minister’s Wellness, Recreation and Sports Ministry Specialist, Ministry Team Leadership Department, LifeWay Church Resources, Nashville, Tennessee)