Stress-Busters for the Stressed-Out

Tips for Staying Calm in the Midst of the Storm

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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You just got home from a rough day at work. Just as you walk in the door, your spouse screams at you for being late, your youngest child is crying because her cat ran away, and your cell phone starts ringing. The only one who seems happy to see you is your dog.

lightstock_99422_medium_maryann_Photo by Shaun Menary. Lightstock.com Photo ID: 99422

By this time, you want to turn around and leave for some remote, uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific, taking only your dog with you. Only there, you conclude, can you be free from the stress that has you on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

Perhaps at no other time in history have human beings been so bombarded with such potentially stress-producing situations. Stress causes our brains to go on overload, our bodies to suffer, and our hearts to wither. But is there any way out of what seems like an endless treadmill of turmoil?

Yes, there is! As always, the way out is found in the Bible, God’s manual for man. God never intended for us to live in stress. In fact, God’s will is that we live in continual peace. But how, you ask, can I live in peace when, whichever way I turn, I’m bombarded with problems, conflicts, and tension?

Good question! You see, peace has nothing to do with our external circumstances. Peace, on the other hand, has everything to do with our internal circumstances. What do I mean by that? I mean the state or condition of the inner core of our being, also called our heart.

“Peace has nothing to do with our external circumstances. Peace has everything to do with our internal circumstances.”

Just think of the eye of a hurricane. While horrendous winds are raging all around it, the eye of a hurricane is quiet and peaceful. The same can be true of our hearts. In the midst of the worst kinds of crises, our hearts can be at perfect peace.

So how do we achieve this perfect peace on the inside? The Bible gives us the answer in Isaiah 26:3: “You (God) will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You.” Perfect peace comes from keeping our minds focused on God. When we do, we draw wisdom and strength from Him to deal with whatever problem we are facing.

Using the word “stress” as an acronym, let’s take a look at some practical steps we can take to develop inner peace:

1. Stay (fix) your mind on God. Keep Him continually in the center of your thoughts. You do this by talking with Him frequently during the day, by reading the Bible, and by praying.

2. Trust God. He is absolutely trustworthy and will never let you down.

3. Refuse to worry. Worry will always rob you of your peace. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

4. Establish your heart on God. This means build your life on God. Go to Him at the first sign of stress. Vent your frustrations on Him. He can handle it.

5. Sort out your priorities. We often get stressed out because we’re doing too much. Once when I was feeling particularly frazzled, I cried out to God in frustration. “Lord,” I said, “I just don’t have enough time to do everything I have to do!” Lovingly He replied, “You always have enough time to do what I have called you to do.” I realized then that I was doing some things that He had not called me to do, even though they were good things.

6. See life from God’s perspective. God’s perspective is eternal. He sees the big picture. We should do the same. When we do, those little irritations of daily life fade into insignificance.

So no matter what you’re facing today, remember that it’s temporary. As you focus on God, He’ll get you through every situation, no matter how serious. And as you focus on Him, you’ll have peace in the midst of every storm.

Guaranteed! 🙂

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In my newest work of fiction, SURRENDER TO LOVE, young widow and life coach, Dr. Teresa LopezPicMonkeyFINAL061815416pm Gonzalez, has no peace until she learns to keep her eyes focused on Jesus.

Available in Kindle and print versions.

You may leave a comment by clicking here. To receive these blog posts in your emailbox, please click here.

If you found this post helpful, please pass it on to someone who can benefit from reading it. Thank you!

If you have any questions, you may contact me as follows:

Email: drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com
Snail Mail: PO Box 1185, Merchantville, NJ 08109
Tel. 856-488-3580
________________________________
Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Photo by Shaun Menary. Lightstock.com Photo ID: 99422

Amazon.com Required Disclosure:  MaryAnn Diorio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com  or via one of her social media venues below:

Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayers?

Three Reasons for Unanswered Prayer

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
_______________________________________

If you’re like me, you’ve been through periods of your life when it seemed as though God were deaf. Of course, He is not deaf, so the reason we sometimes don’t hear from Him must be something else.

illustration of a man praying under the cross

Photo Source: Fotolia.com File: #61687178 | Author: sognolucido

Please allow me to offer you three reasons that I have discovered for unanswered prayer. As I addressed each of these reasons, I discovered that my prayer life made a turn around and I began to see results.

I am a results-oriented person.  I want what I do to bear fruit.  I don’t like spinning my wheels.

And my guess is that you don’t either. 🙂

So, here are the three reasons I’ve discovered for unanswered prayer:

1) Praying for something that is not specifically promised to us by God in His word.  God has given us thousands of promises in His Word.  Each of these promises represents what God wants for us and what Jesus died to give us. When we pray based on these promises, we can rest assured that God hears our prayer. Why? Because He cannot contradict Himself nor what He has promised.

For example, if I pray for healing, I can pray with confidence that God hears me because He says in Psalm 103:3 that He heals all my diseases.  Not some, but ALL.  So when I pray based on that promise, I can rest assured that God hears my prayer.

The opposite is also true. If I pray for something that God specifically forbids in His Word, He will not hear my prayer. Years ago, a woman began praying to marry a prominent evangelist. The only problem was, he was already married. So she prayed that his wife would die. There was no way God was going to hear this woman’s prayer because it contradicted His Word about marriage and about having murderous thoughts toward others. 

So, when you pray, be sure that what you are asking for is something God has promised you. The only way to know this is to study His Word. If what you are praying for–like whether or not to move to Atlanta–is not specifically stated in His Word, then stand on His promise in Psalm 32:8 that “He will instruct you and teach you the way to go.”

Many of God’s promises cover general situations, so use those promises as your foundation for praying when there is no specific promise for your situation.

2) Praying based on grace alone, and not faith.  This kind of prayer leans on God’s grace alone in that the person praying sits back and waits for God to act.  An example would be a person who needs a job and asks God for one but does not pound the pavements looking for a job. Instead, he expects God to drop a job in his lap. This won’t happen. God expects us to cooperate with Him by trusting in His grace and then by taking some action to prove our trust in His grace.

3) Praying based on faith alone, and not grace.  This kind of prayer leans on my personal efforts alone in that, once I pray, I think it’s entirely up to me to get that prayer answered.  This is a legalistic, “works” mentality prayer, and it won’t go anywhere. It will not get a hearing from God.

For example, I may need healing, so I ask God to heal me but then I keep thinking that my healing will take place some time in the future. I also make sure that I’m doing everything right—eating right, exercising right, acting right, praying enough, reading my Bible enough, fasting enough–and on, and on, and on.  If I don’t see the answer to my prayer, I start feeling condemned and wondering where I’ve missed it.

Yes, I’ve been there. Done that.  This process is all wrong.  It’s backwards and won’t get an answer to prayer.

Why not? Because both God’s grace and my faith are required to receive answers to my prayers.

So, let’s get practical.  How do I get my prayers answered?

The process is really very simple.  So simple, in fact, that we can easily miss it.

 1) Believe that God wants you to have what He has promised you. He paid a big enough price to give it to you by sending His Son Jesus to die for you so that you could experience the fulfillment of those promises in your life.

2) Realize that whatever God has promised you in His Word is already yours. If you don’t see it present in your life, the reason is that you have not reached out into the spirit realm with your faith to bring it from the spirit realm into your physical realm.  God is not holding back on you. You are holding back on yourself.

3) Realize that your faith does not move God to act.  God acted 2000 years ago on Calvary.  Your faith simply reaches out to grab hold of what God did on that old rugged Cross.  As Jesus hung dying on that Cross, He said, “It is finished.”  He meant that what He came to do was done.  There’s nothing more for Him to do, but there still is something for us to do.  Our part is to reach out and take what Jesus gave us on Calvary.

Just as we received the new birth by reaching out to Jesus and accepting His gift of forgiveness and eternal life, so do we receive everything else God has promised us.  In the same exact way–by reaching out and accepting His gift of every promise He died to give us.

It’s as simple as that!

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In my newest work of fiction, SURRENDER TO LOVE, young widow and life coach, Dr. Teresa LopezPicMonkeyFINAL061815416pmGonzalez, struggles to reach out to take what God has given her. Will she come to understand that what God has promised her, He will fulfill if she only surrenders to Him?

Available in Kindle and print versions.

You may leave a comment by clicking here. To receive these blog posts in your emailbox, please click here.

If you found this post helpful, please pass it on to someone who can benefit from reading it. Thank you!

If you have any questions, you may contact me as follows:

Email: drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com
Snail Mail: PO Box 1185, Merchantville, NJ 08109
Tel. 856-488-3580
________________________________
Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Photo Source: Fotolia.com: File: #61687178 | Author: sognolucido

Amazon.com Required Disclosure:  MaryAnn Diorio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com  or via one of her social media venues below:

Special Blog Post: My Thoughts on the SCOTUS Decision on Gay Marriage

A loving warning to those who would defy God

Statement by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio on Recent Supreme Court Decision on Gay Marriage

While the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage focused on marriage between two men or two women, I would contend that the real issue underlying this abominable decision goes far beyond gay and lesbian marriage.

Truth Text Red Black BurstPhoto Source: Fotolia File: #84769189 | Author: ileezhun

The issue is not homosexuality. Homosexuality is one sin among many, although Scripture does state that sexual sins differ in that they are sins against our own bodies (I Corinthians 6:18). The issue is that our culture has strayed from a Biblical worldview.

A Biblical worldview is based on Absolute Truth, and Absolute Truth is defined as what God says in His Word. God has determined the standard for what is right and what is wrong. No man can change that standard without suffering serious negative consequences.

But, in our culture, we have attempted to replace God’s standard of right and wrong with our own. This is called humanism, aka relativism. Today, the standard for determining right and wrong is public opinion, the majority rule.

But God’s standard is true whether I believe it or not. I may believe that the law of gravity does not apply to me, but if I jump off a roof, I will go down, not up. Likewise, God’s laws cannot change regardless of what I believe about them.

God has declared that homosexuality is wrong and against the nature of man. Note what He says in His Word: “… do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Many kinds of sin are included in this warning.

We can flaunt God all we want, but He also says this: “Don’t be misled; remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it: a man will always reap just the kind of crop he sows!” (Galatians 6:7).

I plead with those of you who want to hold fast to ideas that are against God’s Word to reconsider. Man is not the one who decides what is true or not true. That has already been decided and determined by God and is found in the Holy Scriptures. No one can arbitrarily change what is true or not true. We may try to do so, but we will end up destroying ourselves in the process.

As we have abandoned God and His Holy Scriptures, we have created a culture of people who are lost, afraid, and without purpose. You may not believe that the Bible is the unerring Word of God, but what if it is? I happen to believe it is and base my entire life on it. God’s Word has never failed to prove true for me in the 45 years during which I have followed Jesus Christ. God’s Word will always prove true, no matter how much one may oppose it or disagree with it.

Remember: we are not God. He is!

_________________________________________
Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved.

God’s Presents or God’s Presence?

GOD’S PRESENTS OR GOD’S PRESENCE?

 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Hershey_KissesDo you have a nickname?  Mine is “Nonna Chocolate.” 🙂 You see, whenever I visit my grandchildren, I arrive with ten Hershey chocolate kisses in my pocket, two for each grandchild. 

As soon as I arrive at my daughter’s house, my grandchildren run up to me and eagerly ask, “Nonna, do you have chocolate?” 

My daughter gently corrects them and says, “Say hello to Nonna first and then ask her for the chocolates.”  My daughter is trying to teach her children to honor my presence first and my gifts of chocolate second.

My grandchildren’s reaction to me reminds me of my reaction to the Lord.  How often have I approached Him asking first for His presents while ignoring His Presence?  Too often, I must confess.  And yet, our Lord, like me, would appreciate being acknowledged first by His children for Who is He, not for what He can give us.

I must admit that when my grandchildren are happy to see me because I have chocolates to give them, I wonder if they would be just as happy to see me if I came bearing no chocolate gifts. Our Heavenly Father feels the same way. After all, He is a Person and has feelings just as we do.  Are we not made in His image?

So, the next time you are tempted to run to God only when you want or need something, stop and ask yourself, “What message am I sending to my Father in Heaven?  Am I hurting His feelings by seeking only His hand and not His face?” 

If you really want to make Abba Father happy, spend time with Him just worshiping Him and praising Him, without asking for a single thing in return. I guarantee you that your heart will fill with joy to overflowiing as you witness the joy on His face.

God’s Presence is to be valued far, far more than His presents.  Seek His Presence first and foremost, and you will have everything you could ever want or need.

Even chocolate! 🙂

If you would like to learn how to overcome fear, check out my book YOU WERE MADE FOR GREATNESS! You Were made for Greatness

You may leave a comment by clicking here To receive these blog posts in your emailbox, please click here.

If you found this post helpful, please pass it on to someone who can benefit from reading it. Thank you!

If you have any questions, you may contact me as follows:

Email: drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com
Snail Mail: PO Box 1185, Merchantville, NJ 08109
Tel. 856-488-3580
_______________________________________________________________

Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Photo Source: http://www.blog.peacemagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Hershey_Kisses.jpg

Amazon.com Required Disclosure:  MaryAnn Diorio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com  or via one of her social media venues below:

God Will Mend Your Broken Heart

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
________________________________________

the-broken-heartOne of the best pieces of advice I ever received was the following gem: Treat everyone as though he has a broken heart. Following this advice has done more for building relationships in my life than, perhaps, anything else.

Whether a person’s heart was only slightly fractured, or whether it was shattered into a million slivers of pain, the truth is that everyone’s heart, at some point in time, has been broken. Yet, too often, we are quick to judge a person’s behavior by our own self-righteous standards.

Take, for instance, the true story of a distraught young father who sat in a bus station with his three unruly, small children. As the children climbed over the benches, shouting and screaming, the father remained silent, seemingly oblivious to everything around him.

An elderly woman sitting across from them thought, Why doesn’t that man discipline those children? How can he allow them to behave so terribly, especially in a public place?

When she could not take the noise any longer, she asked the father to quiet his children. Apologizing profusely, he explained that he and his children had just left the hospital where his young wife, their mother, had died that day. Needless to say, the elderly woman’s paradigm suddenly shifted. Not only was she deeply ashamed of her critical attitude, but she also now felt a profound compassion for the young man and his motherless children.

How often do we resemble that elderly woman? How often do we judge others solely by their external behavior? Yet, if we were able to see into a person’s heart, would we not, like the elderly woman, be ashamed of our judgmental thoughts? Would we not then treat the hurting person with love and understanding?

Happily, there is One Who always sees clearly into the human heart. And not only does He see clearly into it, but He also knows how to take the broken pieces and put them back together again. His Name is Jesus. In Isaiah 61:1-3, we learn what He is like: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me…to heal the brokenhearted …to comfort all who mourn…to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness….”

Beauty for ashes! What an exchange! In fact, what Jesus did for you and me has, indeed, been called “The Great Exchange.” He exchanged His righteousness for our sin, His life for our death, His wholeness for our brokenness. Why? The answer is found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

You may be broken-hearted today. You may feel that you have no reason to live. You may even be thinking of committing suicide. If so, as a friend who cares, I ask you to give Jesus a chance. He says to you in Matthew 11: 28, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

So come to Him just as you are—all broken and battered and bruised. He will not turn you away. In fact, He promises that He will never turn away a contrite heart (Psalm 51: 17). Instead, like the father in the story of the prodigal son (John 3:11-32), He will run out to meet you with open arms, for He has been waiting for you for a long time.

And when you come home to Him, He will take the broken pieces of your shattered heart and put them back together again. But the best news is that when He puts them back together again, your heart will be stronger and more beautiful than it was before. I know, because He did it for me. And He’ll do it for you too. All you have to do is ask.

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To learn more about who you are in Christ, get your copy of Dr. MaryAnn’s popular ebook, You Were Made for Greatness! 
_______________________________________________

Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Photo Source:  http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=32337&picture=the-broken-heart&large=1

Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com  or via one of her social media venues below:

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