Stress. Tension. Pressure. The fast-paced, high-energy life in which we live is full of language describing the emotions associated with the demands of this world. But stress does not have to be a negative burden.  Stress is required for growth. Tension allows us to wrestle through complexity and make space for creativity. Pressure pushes us to move beyond stagnation and provides means for change.

Too often the prescription for stress is to avoid it, eliminate it, or numb it. For a fleeting second, it feels like a victory. The things of this world are conquered or at least subdued for the moment. The problem with this mentality is that pressure when not released, tension strained too tightly, and stress left unchecked results in damage or worse - death.

God does not promise us a life of ease. In fact, the Scripture speaks that in this life we will face many trials (John 16:33). In the tension of life, we can trust that God, our father, will use this for our good (Romans 8:28).

When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.
 Psalm 94:19

Rather than seek out means to avoid, eliminate or numb our stress, turning to the Word of God provides the strength we cannot have on our own to sit in the tension, to grow through the pressure, and to allow stress to push us toward who we are called to be.

When facing times of stress, moments of pressure, or lives filled with tension, meditate on these 20 verses of Scripture. Taste and see that the Lord is good and He will use this time to prosper you and not to harm you; to give you a hope and future (Psalm 34:8 and Jeremiah 29:11).

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3

Stand firm, and you will win life. Luke 21:19

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 118:5-6

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.Romans 8:6

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. Luke 21:34

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on."
"Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."
 Revelation 14:13

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight. Psalm 119:143

Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.

Psalm 55:22

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 16:8

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise -
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56:3-4

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13