One Christmas List That Can Actually Relieve Your Stress

Gifts that Relieve Stress - Find out what you can do to relieve stress this Christmas and beyond with these simple gifts and actions! #gift #giving #love #comfort #encouragement #stress #inspirational

Today I’m reposting an article I wrote two years ago with a message that bears repeating! It’s all about the hidden benefit and stress reliever of love! And who doesn’t need to relieve stress at this time of year? I know I sure do! Read more to find out how to apply this stress reliever to your life! 

Have you ever noticed that when you feel unloved you also feel incredibly stressed? And notice that when you give and receive love it calms you like no other stress-reducer can? 

Relieve Stress - Find out what can relieve stress this Christmas season, as well as discovering key ideas for putting this stress-reliever into action! Click to find out more! #marriage #suffering #stress #love #encouragement #comfort #holiday

Even though Christmas is all about “love”—celebrating the birth of “Love” in the form of a babe in a manger—ultimately this time of year can feel like one of the loneliest and most stressful times of all.

This is especially true for those who are in heartbreaking and desperate marriages!

Sadly, we’re not always able to change how our spouse feels about us, but we do have the power to change the stress we feel by loving those who are in desperate need of our love.

[bctt tweet=”Find out what I’ve learned can relieve stress like nothing else this Christmas season and beyond!  #stress #outreach #Christmas” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

Certainly, the Bible tells us to love ALL people. But it also directs us to show love and comfort to a specific group of people—those who suffer.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”          —2 Cor. 1:3-5

When we love and show compassion like this, our stress level improves because …

  • It feels good to love and bless others who are in need and hurting.
  • We feel loved in return because others almost always show gratitude for the gift of love we’ve offered them.
  • We feel God’s approval and delight in our choice to show love like He did and does for you and me! 

I have been taking my inspiration for this series, Loving Strong through Holiday Stress, from a Bible study I’ve been doing called, “6 Shades of Love.” (You can catch a preview of this day’s notes here).*

My notes from this study are based on this important passage, penned by the Apostle Paul to the Philippian believers …

“It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 1:7-8

Isn’t that the most lovely and affectionate message from the Apostle Paul? Melts my heart to read it every single time!

The reason I think it bursts off the page is because Paul truly and deeply loved these brothers and sisters in Christ. And he loved them not just because God commanded him to! He also loved them because of the constant love they showed him during his difficult missionary journeys and especially while he sat in prison awaiting execution! 

I know the affectionate and faithful acts of these believers encouraged Paul—lessening the stress he felt because they loved him in word and deed. And I’m certain that the Philippians’ stress was relieved as well when they read and received Paul’s affectionate affirmations and words of thanks back to them.

So instead of … 

  • Drowning in the discouragement of our messy marriages and discouraging lives.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of “holiday to-dos.”
  • Focusing far too much on the “stuff of this season” when we should be focusing on the “reason for the season” . . . 

[bctt tweet=”Let’s all choose to rise up out of the ashes of our own grief and discouragement to love those who are suffering and in need this Christmas season! #love #stressless” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

Love Prisoners - Find out how loving prisoners can actually lessen your stress at Christmas and beyond! Click to find out more! #prison #ministry #encouragement #stress #troubles #inspirational #love #compassion

I don’t know what that might look like for you …

  • Perhaps it’s making time to spiritually and emotionally encourage a discouraged believer in their faith and/or life.
  • It could also be buying some presents/food for a believing family that can’t afford much.
  • Maybe it’s financially supporting a missionary family.
  • Another way might be to offer support to a Christian charitable organization.

If you don’t know where to start, consider these opportunities …

1. Samaritan’s Purse meets all sorts of needs, like: Operation Christmas Child, International Crisis Response, Feeding Programs, Health and Medical Ministries, Discipleship, Education and Training Ministries, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, just to name a few. 

2. If you’re interested in helping those “who are in chains,” like the Apostle Paul was, then check out: Prison Fellowship Ministry.

3. Interested in sponsoring a child? There are a variety of ways to do this at Compassion International. My hubby and I have sponsored Marianna from El Salvador for 7 years now. Our only regret is not doing this sooner! 

4. Many of you know Bev Rihtarchik of Walking Well with God. She helped to found Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc., where you can sponsor a child for just $15/month. This price hasn’t increased since I posted this article two years ago! And it will provide Christian education to impoverished children in Pakistan. You can find out more about how all of this works here.

*I was going through the “6 Shades of Love” two years ago. But now have my most recent Bible study that examines the story of Christ’s birth from Luke’s gospel available to purchase! In fact, it’s on sale now through Dec. 20th for just $5.99, down from its original price of $6.99. Be sure to grab your copy on Amazon before the price goes back up! Merry Christmas, my friends!


 

When has love given or received relieved you of stress in your life?

 

What are some ways you want to extend God’s love to others this holiday season?

 


Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me MondayKingdom BloggersLiterary Musing MondaysPurposeful Faith, Tell His StoryInstaEncouragements LinkupRecharge WednesdayPorch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Tune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementGrace and Truth Faith and Friends Faith on Fire FridayFresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday

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33 responses to “One Christmas List That Can Actually Relieve Your Stress”

  1. As you wrote, the Christmas season is a season of Love. I feel this most when I am doing something for someone else. It’s nice to think of love as a stress reliever. It is just the thing to help us during this busy season.

    I love that you highlighted Bev’s ministry. Her heart for those children in Pakistan is such a God-driven ministry. Blessings on your week.

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    1. Yes, me too, Mary! I think the correlation seems kind of like a no-brainer. But I’d not really stated it before, so it has helped me as well to run to “love” whenever I’m feeling stressed! Thanks for stopping by to encourage, my friend! Hugs to you!

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  2. Beth,
    Thanks so much for mentioning our ministry!! We currently have twenty children on the waiting list in a part of the world where few ministries dare to go. We would love to have some folks come alongside us an pour out love on an orphaned child. I know that helping others helps relieve my stress and focus on self at the holidays. Helping others truly does help our heart. Advent blessings to you sweet friend!!
    Love and ((HUGS)),
    Bev – Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. http://redeemerchristianfoundation.org/

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    1. You are more than welcome, Bev! You are an inspiration to all of us in the blogging community and I only hope this brings a few extra people your foundation’s way. Thanks for stopping by, my friend! Hugs to you too!

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  3. Thank you, Beth, for this encouragement to focus outward and find joy.
    And we’ll always find stress when we depend too much on fragile human relationships to meet our needs. They were just not designed to bear the great weight of our neediness!

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    1. Great way to put it, Michele. Yes, we will always be stressed and disappointed by other humans. Better to encourage them and we gain the blessing as it almost always multiplies back on us as well.

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      1. Happy to be back into this truth once again, and impressed by the notion that love begets love.

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  4. Maybe some of our stress is self-imposed, when we’re too wrapped up in our own heads instead of being aware of who is around us and how we might minister to them …

    I tend to feel stressed when I’ve got far too much on my plate and when I’m tired. If we can love ourselves better and say ‘no, thanks’ more often, we’d probably have more energy and compassion for those who truly need us …

    Just some random thoughts early this morning, friend …

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    1. Yes, I think you’re right, Linda. Sad that at a time of year when we are encouraged to think of our loving Savior and giving to others, we get caught up in selfish desires and considerations. And you bring up a good point, we are loving ourselves when we pay attention to our limits and give where it matters most. We don’t need to be all things to all people. That’s our beautiful Savior’s job! Thanks for stopping by to “think” and share what rolls around in your lovely head, my friend!

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  5. I guess the most stressful thing for me was seeing Christmas in a context of tradition and memory; things are just so physically painful now that memory lane is anything but comfort.

    Giving that up, leaving the cherished ornaments and memories in their boxes…that is hard, but it makes it easier to gain perspective, that there are those who are far worse off. Only when one banishes sentimentality from one’s own situation can one, I think, turn the full light of compassion on others.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/12/your-dying-spouse-413-meaning-of.html

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    1. Yes, I can see how that would stress you, Andrew. And the holidays probably have galvanized memories of pain for you that come as the season draws near. I’m praying that your pain is relieved by all who love and surround you–both at home and in the blogosphere. And I agree, thinking about those who are far worse always brings perspective and compassion. That alone is a stress reliever! Thank you for stopping by, my friend. I do hope you feel my and all of your friends prayers being lifted up for you!

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  6. This is a great way to start out this season, Beth. Love the list of resources. I year or so ago, I heard a personal testimony of a little girl who was the recipient of a simple shoebox gift and how God touched her heart, eventually saved her and brought her to the US to work with one of the ministries you listed.

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    1. That would be wonderful to hear, Donna–that this little act of love brought a child to Christ! It truly is a wonderful opportunity to bless a child across the globe with so much more than a box can contain. My church, as well as my small group, does this every year and we find it so exciting to bless these little ones at Christmas time. Now I can add the news of how this impacted a child’s eternity! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me, my friend!

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  7. Wonderful focus for this season, Beth. Sharing on FB & Twitter!

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    1. Thank you, Sarah! Your friendship and support mean a lot to me!

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  8. Dear Beth, until recently I would have thought the idea that giving love could be a stress reliever was just daft. Especially giving love to someone who was suffering or in need. After my recent brief mission I see what you mean and I agree. Caring for my father (small f), although hard work, was a joy and was even restful. Something I am doing differently that I need to think about. Over Christmas I’ll be keeping him under my loving gaze, and I’ll try to work out what was going on and how I can extend that to my wife and our son.

    However, none of these people are Christ-followers by any means, quite the opposite. Now that I think of myself as a Christ-follower am I to turn a cold shoulder to my family (small f)?

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    1. Yes, I join you in that flawed or superficial point of view–at least that was how I would have seen it in the past. Now I know without a doubt there is an undeniable connection between loving others/being loved and my level of stress. It is worthy to be stated in this very practical and provocative way.

      I’m so glad you are learning to better love your father and finding that it brings you joy and rest. I do hope you continue to ponder exactly what it is that is helping–though ultimately, it is the Lord ministering to and thru You. I hope He also brings great healing to your heart, as well as your father’s. I’m certain, whether he acknowledges it or not, he feels a difference in you and is grateful for it. Sometimes it takes years though to ease the pain and lower the defenses in troubled relationships. And the more significant the relationship, the longer it takes! I also hope you continue to extend love to your wife and son. It’s one of those odd ways God blesses our love. As we share it, it never lessens or divides but only multiplies in huge ways–spreading to all in our lives.

      Perish the thought that you would not be gracious and loving to your family members who are not Chris-followers! They are in need of Christ’s love as much or, dare I say it, MORE than other people. You will almost certainly draw them to Christ as His love is extended through you. It is the best way to share your faith and live out Christ’s love that has been and will continue to be showered on your head and heart. Thank you for your friendship, David! Consider yourself cyber-hugged!

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  9. It’s easy to stress and give – but loving does not create stress. That’s a really great thought! Thank you.

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    1. Yes, when we truly give out of love for others out of our love for God, it does not create stress–quite the opposite! Thanks for coming by and encouraging me, my friend!

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  10. Love this!!!! Sharing! I am so glad I came here today! Blessings from Espressos of Faith!

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    1. I’m so glad you found it encouraging, Bonnie Lyn! I’ll be stopping by your place later today once I have a window of time! Nice to meet you!

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  11. Thank you for redirecting the focus, Beth! Amen! Let’s love in Word and deed! : ) Great list of opportunities to give!

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  12. Love this! Concentrating on others is the “medicine” for our me-me-me-caused stress and anxiety. Thank you for pointing our focus in the right direction!

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  13. […] One Christmas List That Can Actually Relieve Your Stress […]

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  14. […] One Christmas List That Can Actually Relieve Your Stress […]

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  15. This is a message that bears repeating, Beth, and this is the perfect time of year to spread the word. Giving love away at any time of year can lift our spirits. If we look around we can always find someone who needs a gentle word of encouragement. Wonderful post!!!

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  16. Great reminder, Beth! It’s always a balm for our souls to focus on others.

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  17. Oh, I forgot to tell you I love your title graphic! It’s so cute and creative.

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  18. He’s only just a yellow mutt,
    and stands with paw upraised;
    maybe I shouldn’t really care, but
    by love can God be praised.
    He will not yet let me near,
    but I place food on the ground,
    then look to see him cock an ear;
    “Hmmm, I’ll stick around.”
    There is a doghouse he can use,
    and perhaps he’s sleeping there;
    that is, of course, for him to choose,
    but I hope he knows I care.
    I hope that this my God doth please,
    compassion for the least of these.

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  19. Focusing on the why goes such a long way for me. Teaching my children the why gives me so much peace during the Christmas season in the middle of all the crazy!

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  20. Beth,
    Thanks so much for re-posting this great reminder. It does bless us when we help others who have much less than we have. I truly appreciate the nod, for a second time, to our ministry (as well as your own personal support). I just took a meal to a friend who had surgery and it did both of us a world of good. Wish I lived closer to bring you a meal. I hope and pray you are recuperating and on the road back to full health.
    Love and hugs sweet friend,
    Bev xx

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  21. What a wonderful list of resources that we can support! Like the lyrics from the song, “Love isn’t love until you give it away.” All too often I’ve hoarded that resource instead of giving it away freely!

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  22. GREAT POST, Beth!!! I love your points. We are all looking for that Christmas list that will actually relieve our stress, especially today—one week out from the BIG day! It’s really all about our focus!

    Pinned & tweeted!

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

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