Dreaming of Green Meadows and Peaceful Streams
I am not sure about you but after this week I could sure use some rest in a nice green meadow with a peaceful stream. A stress-free life sounds like a utopian dream sometimes and the promises of heaven just too far away. Is it possible to experience a stress-free life on earth? Perhaps to tackle the stresses of life we need to examine the characteristics of a stress-prone personality.
I recently read an article by a leadership publication on the 8 leading character trait indicators that stand out above others in the stress-prone individual. As I read through their list I quickly identified with 6 of the 8. Do you find any of the traits that you identify with your personality?
- Plans day unrealistically
- First, to arrive, last to leave
- Always in a hurry
- Makes no plan for relaxation
- Feels guilty about doing anything other than work
- Sees unforeseen problems as a setback or disaster
- Is always thinking about several other things when working
- Feels the need to be recognized and overextends because of this
The article also makes several suggestions on what to do if you align with the stress-prone characteristics. It suggests that you recognize aggravating aspects of your life and simply accept them rather than fight them. The adage of having the wisdom to discern what can and cannot be changed and attempting to change the first and accept the second is of grave importance of freeing yourself to live a more stress-free life. The article goes on to suggest that you should practice listening over talking because it is more relaxing. And lastly, be sensitive to change so you can sense it coming and adjust. This allows change to be manageable rather than insurmountable.
Finding a Stress-Free Life
All of that appears to be sound advice yet there seems to still be some missing component to achieve the stress-free life filled with green meadows of rest and peaceful streams. So, where can we find that missing component of contentment? It is found when we allow God, our shepherd to guide us fully as we entrust our life into His care.
Christ is our good and caring shepherd and never-failing guide. When we choose to follow Him and obey His commands we place our full hope and trust in eternal life and secure our future. So, what about those ”green meadows” and ”peaceful streams” that restores us? It is only by trusting fully in Him and following obediently you can reach these places of rest, peace, and contentment. And what is even better is that the green meadows and peaceful streams aren’t just found in heaven but are achievable places on earth as well.
Stress-free living is possible on this earth even while amid problem-riddled circumstances. Allow Him to lead you to rest in the green meadows where peaceful streams flow as fully as your trust in the Good Shepherd. For those who depend completely on Him for their provision, guidance, and protection experiences this promise.
He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. Psalm 23:2 (NLT)
Your Way or the Highway Doesn’t Lead to Green Meadows or Peaceful Streams
Insisting on doing life your way will not lead to a stress-free life. However, following Christ in obedience will. Too often we seek to blame God for the circumstances in our life and environment that occur through series of unwise decisions on both our part and others. When we rebel against our own best interest the only life we can expect is one riddled with stress. But through Him, we can find rest and peace no matter the origin of our circumstances.
Seeking peace through equally fruitless means such as pleasure, drugs, alcohol, wealth, and other dead-end roads lead to nowhere. There is no peace found on these paths. Yet, when you follow the path given by God in His Word peace is not only obtainable but promised. It begins by keeping His laws in your heart and obeying them through your actions. When you do these things, peace comesÂ to your life. But it should not be peace that you search for as the end means but instead the goal should be focused on following Christ. For when you follow Christ you experience the ”side-effect” of peace that only comes from receiving Him.
Stress-Free Living is Possible
When you depend solely upon God and not worldly things He will sustain you. But if you abandon Him to follow your own way you abandon the peace He provides through His provision and protection. Stress-free living is found through trusting and following Him who created us.
So, challenge yourself to a life of ”green meadows” and ”peaceful streams” by trusting fully in the secure protection of the Good Shepherd, who knows each sheep individually. Firmly plant your convictions in His promises of the past that will indeed lead to a permanent future of rest and peace. Be motivated by the sustaining vision of resting in Him even on earth. For He can bring peace in even the most stressful of circumstances. Surround yourself with the comfort of knowing that God is in full control of both heaven and earth and He promises not only to care for His flock but to return for you. You can always turn to Him for help and He can transform any situation tragic or otherwise into good for His kingdom.
May you experience a stress-free life of ”green meadows” and ”peaceful streams” next week and a lifetime.
Love in Christ,
The Lord is my shepherd: I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1 (NLT)
What are your thoughts?
Do you desire a stress-free life? Have you experienced the rest found in His ”green meadows” and ”peaceful streams?” Share your thoughts on the requirements of following Christ to experience not only the peace found in the promises of heaven but on earth as well.