Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Hear, my elect,” says the Lord. “Behold, the days of tribulation are at hand, and I will deliver you from them. Do not fear or doubt, for God is your guide.
2 Esdras 16:74-75
Good morning Prayer Team!
There is no question that life moves pretty fast for most of us. And even the most successful life is likely to have its moments of doubt. Life moves so fast that most of us have the experience of looking at a pile of work and wondering not only how we are going to get it all done but wondering “what am I doing? Am I even doing the right thing in the midst of all this work?” Even the best life has stress. Lives with extra obstacles and people with heavy crosses have heavy stress. But even people whose lives are going fairly well have moments of stress. And stress not only zaps our body with physical fatigue, but it zaps our spirits by filling us with doubt. Stress is certainly not confidence building. Managing stress is, but stress itself is confidence deflating.
There are three great ways to manage stress. The first way to manage stress is to pray-most people looking at a pile of work think it is counter-productive to put it off for a few minutes to pray. However, a prayer for efficiency quickly makes up those lost minutes and then some. So, don’t discount the power prayer. Second, read the Bible. Because the Bible not only provides inspiration, but it provides encouragement and comfort. Many people also have the also read inspirational Christian books. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found the right thing to read and gotten comfort from it. In fact, on some occasions, I find so much comfort that I keep reading, well after the time I planned to stop. And the third way to manage stress is to enjoin your neighbor in your stress. What does that mean? To find a neighbor in whom you can confide, who will provide you empathy and comfort. Of course, as they say, what goes around comes around, so we also have the opportunities to be good neighbors, to help manage the stress of others, but not only showing empathy and concern but also by focusing on not being stress creators. A great way to reduce stress, is to not cause stress for others.
For those who have doubt creeping into your life today, you must know this: God wants the best for you. He does not want you to fail. He does not want you to have stress. He does not want you to have doubt. If it’s not good, it’s not from God. Doubt is not good-and it’s not from God. A time of doubt is a time to dig into a deeper reserve of faith, a deeper level of prayer, a deeper level of trust.
When a baseball player has struck out three times in a game, it must create some doubt for him. But when he comes up in the last inning with a chance to win the game, he can’t be filled with doubt. He has to realize that he can still be a hero and be remembered for his success, rather than his failure. And as he stands at bat, and those doubts creep in, he has to slow things down, and think about each pitch. If you are sitting in your office, or standing in your kitchen, wondering how I’m going to make it all happen, put those doubts away and focus on each task, praying for guidance, leaning on God for strength, and believing in yourself-God doesn’t want you to fail. Ask Him for clear thinking and wisdom, efficiency and confidence, and take Him into each task that you do today.
Lord, thank You for all the blessings in my life. Thank You for my talents and my successes. Thank you for my opportunities and even for my challenges. Please walk with me today, in each opportunity and in each challenge. Give me wisdom to meet each challenge. Give me wisdom in each decision I have to make. Give me clear thinking. Give me wisdom. Give me efficiency. And give me confidence, that walking with You, I may not succeed in every task, but in the important things, I will not fail. While I may not always succeed, help me to do Your will in all things, and give me comfort in all my moments of doubt. Amen.
Have confidence in the Lord and in yourself today!
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