Running is my favorite way to replenish. To some, that may sound like suffering. To be honest, it is! Early morning wake-ups. Snowy, sloshy roads. Below-zero wind chills or triple-digit heat. But the suffering doesn’t bother me—it brings me joy, knowing I’m improving my physical well-being, cultivating a healthy mind, and connecting with God.
When trials or hard times come along in life, this mindset is more difficult to achieve. It’s easy to be bothered, experiencing anger over what’s happened or anxiety about what could happen. We seek to escape or avoid, hoping to reduce the stress. The situation can become the primary focus of our lives, and when it does, we miss out on the life God has for us.
Lead Pastor Ben Snyder’s bottom line was “refocus on purpose to get through what bothers you.” To get through. Not get around, go over, or sneak by. We’re going to experience difficult seasons, but it’s our choice where we put our focus. If we keep our focus on God, we can rejoice in the hard times and not be bothered.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
When we remain in Christ, we’ll be like a tree planted along the riverbank: strong in the midst of heat and drought. We won’t be bothered by our circumstances. We’ll be too busy producing fruit, experiencing the life-changing adventure God has for us.
When you feel stressed, what do you do to help relieve that feeling?
What are some practical steps you can take to remain in Jesus the next time you feel bothered?
Make a list of the things that are bothering you. Find a Bible verse to see what God has to say about it.
The next time you feel stressed, take a moment to pause, read James 1:2-4, and say a quick prayer.
If you haven’t already, sign up for GrowthTrack to discover your purpose in the life-changing adventure God has in store for you.
Lord, there is so much to be bothered by. Too often, I take my eyes off you and get wrapped up in the earthly things around me. When I do this, please remind me of your presence, remind me to remain in you. Jesus, help me to keep my focus on you and give me the boldness to live out your purpose for my life. In your name, amen.
This post was written by Ryan Leone, a first-time contributor to the LivingItOut.
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