Friends, I know that you’re working hard and you’re doing the best that you can. At the same time, I hope that you’re open to considering a common mistake that Christian women, particularly long-time Christian women, make that creates stress and a feeling of disconnection with God.

Before I talk about this common mistake, let’s first clear up an straight-up lie: If you’re a Christian, then you shouldn’t experience stress. That’s not true. Stress happens. Even Jesus experienced stress in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39-44). Just because you experience stress in difficult times or a crisis doesn’t mean you’re a bad Christian or lack faith.

To make sure that we’re on the same page, stress is your reaction to the world around you. We think that all stress is bad, but it’s not. God created stress for a purpose – sounds crazy, right? But pay attention to this: Stress is an protective indicator created by God. Stress warns you when life is too much for your mind or body to handle so that you can adjust to protect your physical body and mental state.

The problem is that we don’t listen to our body when it’s trying to tell us that the stress is too much and we’ve been living stressed for too long. I wrote my Stronger than Stress book because chronic stress or overwhelm is a REAL spiritual and physical threat to our lives and relationships. I think that the biggest challenge to dealing with stress, especially among Christian women, is that we minimize or ignore the blinking stress warning light that’s been going off for months or even years.

LET’S GET REAL HERE: Some of us have an ingrained stubbornness that insists on taking care of everyone else before taking care of ourselves. You know who you are. I love you—and God knows how much you love the people in your life. But you’re worn out, and that’s not God’s best choice for you.

Since I travel by plane often, I’ve heard the flight attendant give safety instructions a significant number of times. It’s easy for me to rush to tune out safety talk and scroll on my phone because I’ve heard it all before. What do the flight attendants say before every single flight?

“In the event of emergency, put on your oxygen mask first before assisting others.”

Flight attendants remind us to put our oxygen masks first because if we run out of air, we won’t be able to take care of those who need us and can’t take care of themselves.

Today’s devotional is a reminder for you to daily put on your spiritual oxygen mask, and breathe deeply from God’s unlimited power, love, and grace in your life. This isn’t easy, but if you allow the urgent (life pressures) to hijack the important (connection with God), you won’t have what you need to care for yourself and others when you go through long seasons of challenge.

Here’s our spiritual oxygen mask verse for today: Matthew 6:33 NLT: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

When I look at this verse, it reminds you and me to live out God’s priorities. This means beginning our day by giving God room to speak His priorities into our day instead of allowing the “should’s” to be in charge. Let’s say this together: The more that we say “we should” the more chances we’ll have to stress ourselves out.

Here are a few questions:

  • How much of your day is constructed around your agenda rather than checking to see if those activities are on God’s agenda for you?

  • What if God’s Spirit wants to reassure you with certain promises so that you are rushing and running around with high anxiety?

  • What if, just for today, you did an experiment where you stopped to put your to-do list before God and asked Him what didn’t need to happen that day?

The reality is that not everything on our to-do list is for us to do. Some of it is actually God’s and we’re stressed because we’re attempting to do God’s job.

This is a lesson that God has taught me over the past decade due to my particular life challenges. So, when I start feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I began to use this prayer: God, what do I need to trust You to handle because I can’t?” This may be a prayer for you today as well.

In addition to your spiritual oxygen mask, consider a physical self-care oxygen mask, too. Here are some suggestions for today:

  • Sit for one minute in silence and practicing deep, nourishing breathing

  • Listen to a worship song (Here is my Spotify playlist)

  • Retiring to bed an hour earlier tonight (you know that you need the sleep!)

  • Drink water – sounds basic, but somebody needed this reminder!

I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! Do you tend to take care of everyone else before taking care of yourself? If you needed today’s reminder to put on your spiritual oxygen mask, leave a comment below. What do you sense God calling you to do?


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