A Key Ingredient to Handling Stress: Lean on the Divine

A Key Ingredient to Handling Stress: Lean on the Divine

© GLOW IMAGES Model used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

I live in an area of the country where a lot of families have lost their homes and businesses because of economic conditions. Kids have changed schools and friends. Moms and dads have new pressures – many outside their control. The deeper I look into my community, region, and nation, the more I observe new and sometimes threatening situations that are developing: reduced school funding, public services not being provided, and lack of resources for safety-net services. The social mood seems to be changing in ways I have never experienced.

According to Alan Hall’s article Bear Market Stress is Weakening Society, “Stress is born of the same fear that drives stock prices lower, tanks economies and escalates foreclosures, and also increases the risk of disease…” He describes foreclosure as “one of the most disruptive and stressful financial calamities that a family can suffer.” Studies even indicate that foreclosures create a public health crisis and harm the health of families and communities.

And Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s Chief Medical Editor, says that, “stress is a huge factor in creating these conditions.”

Probably none of us are surprised by these findings of researchers and authorities. Cultural stresses seem unavoidable and increasingly damaging. It becomes an enormous question for us all: How can the societal conditions that are creating stress and fear be tempered?

Many are finding that opening to a higher, divine power makes emotional situations less stressful.

Recognizing the causes of fear and stress, and thinking through how to address them in thought, is important in improving health. This recognition needs to be at the individual as well as the societal level.

Embracing happiness and replacing negative thoughts with positive ones becomes more powerful and healing by understanding man’s individual relationship with the Divine. This Divine is what Mary Baker Eddy, an early writer on health issues, referred to when she said, “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings.”

I’ve seen this unconditional divine good in operation. Once my family had multiple national and international flight connections to meet, but due to recent severe weather conditions across America the airlines told us that the connections were impossible. Our tickets were non-refundable and amounted to many thousands of dollars. We remained calm in prayer, knowing that whatever happened would bless us. New ideas were presented and a solution from unexpected sources became available. Rather than succumbing to stress, prayer – leaning on the sustaining infinite – brought joy and harmony and all connections were made.

What I find exciting about leaning on God through prayer in times of stress is that it’s not just an option for a limited number of people. God has the infinite capacity to sustain each one of us as we strive to break through limitations of every sort imaginable.

About the author

Don Ingwerson Don regularly blogs on health and spirituality and lives in Laguna Beach with his wife - both Christian Science practitioners. He brings his years serving the public in education to his work as a liaison of Christian Science, where he maintains contacts with the media and legislative offices.


  1. Marshall McNott says

    Don, Well said and so very true. I’ve also heard it said “Don’t just lean in Him; hang on Him.” When I served at the LA Mission, we would often encourage people to “tie a knot on the end of the rope and hang on.” We know our Father will never let go of us, so we can know we’re not doing it with our own strength, but His.

  2. Elizabeth Anne Nelson says

    Thank you, Don, for this blog posting. The issue of stress seems to many to be the default setting for the day or week. To address this issue, we need to know that there is a power outside of ourselves, which does govern and replaces self-reliance with God- reliance. I love what the Spiritual thinker Mary Baker Eddy says regarding this government: “To break this earthly spell, mortals must get the true idea and divine Principle which governs the universe harmoniously.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 39). This government is exact and total and does not allow for the mistakes and mismanagement which cause stress. Leaning on this sustaining law replaces stress with peace. Elizabeth Nelson

  3. Anne Hughes says

    The most tempting time to listen to those negative thoughts, it seems, is if I awake in the middle of the night. I am learning that my best defense is a loud mental “NO!” If strong assurances of God’s goodness don’t arrive quickly, I use the wonderful online resources of the Christian Science Publishing Society, such as “My Bible Lesson” that can be read easily right on my little iPhone. Before long I am ready to finish my night’s sleep, and a better view of a situation replaces the stressful one.
    Thanks for the post.

  4. Rahla says

    Thanks, Don. The opening line of a loved hymn is “Peace be to this congregation.” Wonderful to know in times of stress that we are each an important and loved member of the congregation. No one is left outside.

  5. Mary Lou MacKenzie says

    Staying calm is sometimes easier said than done. But when one turns to a divine source for that comforting calm, I think it can be more easily achieved. Thanks for the good reminder.

  6. says

    Thanks Don and I don’t have much more to say as by the comments it’s all been said. Prayer is effective and for those who have not tried it, please do. I think you will find yourself being released from strain and stress.

    I love one of Mrs. Eddy’s poems that reads “It matters not what be thy lot, So Love doth guide; For storm or shine, pure peace is thine, What e’er be tide.” And it is so true. It does not matter what is happening in our lives as long as we can let Love (another name for God) guide us. So whether things are great or things are stressful we can be at peace just as you were with your flight connections. Leaning on God is really restful, not stressful.

  7. Jim Raynesford says

    It has occurred to me that sometimes stress is the result of disappointment with the way things are going, feeling that only “my way” is acceptable. I have been in several situations which seemed to be disastrous, but after they worked through, in retrospect I could see that God had a better plan than mine was, and that I ended up being wonderfully blessed by His plan. Sometimes it seems as though God was saying, “OK, you’re through here now. I want you over HERE.” And when I went “over here” I found a greater blessing than what I had had before. So one way to handle stress is to go forward confident that God’s plan is better than anything “I” could imagine.

  8. Anne says

    This post gives good ideas and a great example of how prayer can lift the burden of stress and solve any problem harmoniously. The quote from Mary Baker Eddy lifts me right out of anxious and worried thoughts. “Leaning on the sustaining infinite” removes the stress by giving one’s life over to God. I know that He can handle it a lot better than I can, and there is great comfort in that thought. I liked Jim’s statement “that God’s plan is better.”

    The ending of the post is perfect. It is exciting to lean on God, and to realize that it is everyone’s privilege, because each one of us is included in His unlimited goodness.

    Thank you.

  9. says

    Boy, did this ever come at the right time. I’m working on a lecture for my church. It’s my first time on the committee, and I’d agreed to be chairman. The places we had rented before had raised their prices drastically. I suggested a beautiful hall for our lecture, but the price was also too high. However another smaller theater at the same venue matched our price and needs. We agreed on a date for the lecture, and I called to book the smaller space. The woman told me that it was undergoing a six week renovation and our date was right in the middle. She was surprised they hadn’t told me! I asked her, “What would you do?” She said she would talk to people and get back to me. At this point I happened to read your article! The story about the flight connections and your conviction that “whatever happened would bless us,” really resonated. I knew I could only be blessed by agreeing to serve the church and that the church could only be blessed by sharing this wonderful event with our community. I called the lecturer’s secretary to explain the possible delay, and said that I would really welcome her prayers right now. A few moments later, while we were still talking, a call came through from the venue. They offered us a conference room at the same lower price, or… the original hall that we loved so much for only a small amount over that price!! You can guess which one I took. Truly Love blesses and cares for and loves her ideas. Thank you for this inspiring blog.