Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 (NRSV)
What do you worry about? Have you tried giving those worries to God? Have you experienced the peace of God? Does it surpass all understanding? Who have you met who lives with this peace? What does it mean to have a heart and mind guarded in Christ Jesus?
I read that recent studies have demonstrated stress changes our brain chemistry and our behavior. Those who are “always” stressed are prone to habitat formation. By forming routines and habits we attempt to put ourselves on automatic pilot, and in that way the hope is that we can better focus on the crisis at hand.
However, what is actually happening is our brain is rewired in ways that keep us stressed. The automatic pilot does not help stress go away, it keeps us stressed out. Constant stress has also shown to hurt our immune systems, raise blood pressure, stiffen arteries, and make us miserable among other things.
Thankfully, according to the study, such changes in the brain are reversible. What does it take to change it back to normal? Relaxing.
One of the finest gifts of prayer is its ability to help us relax, to exist in the moment with our God who is in control. When we are on autopilot we are always trying to stay one step ahead, to figure out what comes next, and the consequence of that is stress and worry. Also it seems autopilot has no room for prayer.
Jesus said, “You cannot add anytime to your life by worrying about it,” and maybe it is time we start believing him! Life is a precious gift. By living we get to experience love and beauty, friendship and nature, sunrises and thunder storms, the feel of water hitting our bare skin and a well needed hug, even in the midst of pain and strife.
Think of all the reasons to pray to God with thanksgiving right now. Now pray with that thanksgiving, and perhaps you may feel the peace which surpasses all understanding as the stress melts away.