Stop Stress with Praise

When you wake up, do you immediately stress over your long to-do list? Here's how to make worry relinquish its hold.

Posted in , Jul 2, 2015

If you're waking up to a stress-filled day, praise God first thing!

Waking up with a hard and fast day before her, Shawnelle Eliasen realizes that praising God in that moment can override the surge of stress triggered by a long to-do list:

I heard the birds before I was fully awake.

The evening had been cool. Unusually crisp for summer in the Midwest. We’d gone to bed with the windows wide and the birds pulled me from that sweet place of solid sleep to wakefulness. The morning was rich with sound.

It had been a hectic few days. Commitments blocked the squares of our calendar and the sheer business of running from one event to the other had blocked our joy. We don’t do well when life moves hard and fast–even when the commitments are positive and good.

It’s entirely possible to grow weary from the weight of good things.


My husband, Lonny, rolled over, his arm draped me, and the upcoming day’s to-do list moved through my mind. It brought stress. It curled my fingers and tightened my toes. But then, in a grace-gift whisper that only my spirit could hear, there was a gentle voice.

Listen. Just listen. Don’t move too far ahead.

I sat up, propped pillows behind my back, and listened. There were only the birds–creation’s morning chorus. It was too early for cars to bring the busy noise of morning commute. There were just songs. Simple and sweet.

And the Lord’s presence was powerful.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs on your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31, ESV)

Sitting there, God’s creation reminding me of His care for me, the pressures of the upcoming day fled. Worry relinquished its hold. Tension set my body free. 

My spirit could sing, too.

Lord, thank you for this morning. Thank you for the things You’ll do today. Thank you for going with me–wherever I go. You are kind, compassionate, and in control.

Praise overrides panic.

Daunting duties shrink as awareness of His glory grows.

And in Him I could let go of the pressure and find perfect peace.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. (Psalm 150:6)

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