Here is Christ’s clue to the third principle for dealing with stress: “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going” (John 8:14). The principle is this: Know what you want to accomplish. Christ said, “I know where I came from, and I know where I’m going.” Unless you plan your life and set priorities, you will be pressured by other people to do what they think is important.

Every day, either you live by priorities or you live by pressures. There is no other option. Either you decide what is important in your life, or you let other people decide what is important in your life.

It is easy to operate under the tyranny of the urgent, to come to the end of your day and think, “Have I really accomplished anything? I used a lot of energy and did a lot of things, but did I accomplish anything important?” Busyness is not necessarily productivity. You may be spinning in circles, but you’re not accomplishing anything.

Preparation causes you to be at ease. To put it another way, preparation prevents pressure but procrastination produces it. Good organization and good preparation reduce stress because you know who you are, whom you’re trying to please, and what you want to accomplish. Having clear goals greatly simplifies life. Spend a few minutes each day talking with God in prayer. Look at your schedule for the day and decide, “Is this really the way I want to spend a day of my life? Am I willing to exchange twenty-four hours of my life for these activities?”

Rick Warren, God’s Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).

Check out this Bible Study based on Rick Warren’s book, God’s Answer to Life’s Difficult Questions.

These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.

Lessons include:

How to Cope with Stress

How Can I Rebound from Failure?

How Can I Defeat Depression?

How Can I Live Above Average?

How Can I Have Peace of Mind?

How Can I Handle Discouragement?

How Can I Overcome My Problems?

How Can I Be Confident In a Crisis?

How Can I Ever Change?

How Did I Get Myself in To This Mess?

How Can I Overcome Loneliness?

Why Is This Happening to Me?