Stress is all around us and unfortunately, within us. We know stress is not good for us. Physically it wrecks havoc with our bodies. Mentally it causes us to make poor, rash decisions and not work up to our full capacity. It causes us to lash out at those around us and causes damage to relationships we once cherished. Having the peace of God does not mean all is quiet in our lives. It means that even though everything is falling down around us, we are still able to hold onto our anchor in the storm and remain balanced and content. Easier said than done! What are some practical ways we can accomplish this so we can have a strong, steady walk with the Lord instead of being distracted and always giving our second best? Stay with as we explore true peace to combat all of the anxiety this world has to offer.
We often think about the “good ol’ days” when life moved slower so stress seemed lower. Sometimes we look back fondly to those earlier times with thoughts of living with more simplicity and clarity. The thing that escapes our little dream is that stress, no matter when and where life is lived, is always an ever present threat to upend our equilibrium. Take the early church, for example. They had the Apostles there, they had the miraculous gifts of the Spirit working and Christianity was growing by leaps and bounds. You would think that Christian life in that era was not only good but easier than it is now. While that is a nice thought it certainly is not grounded in any reality. The truth is the early church not only had to deal with continual persecutions all around them, they also had to deal with internal stress and strife – serious internal issues that could have crumbled the very foundations of Christian belief. By God’s grace, the Christian leaders of the day addressed these issues (Acts the 15th chapter) and headed off a catastrophe.
What about us today – how does stress manifest itself here and now? Julie, our “CQ Rewind Chief Editor” joined us for this conversation and shared some of her own difficulties in dealing with stress. Turns out that she has an autoimmune disorder (these are far more common than you realize) and while it has proven to be a long term and challenging experience, it has also proven to be fertile ground for Christian growth and development. Julie laid out MANY insights and suggestions regarding the stresses of our day.
The following is one key point from our conversation: Stress is cumulative. Most of us go through our everyday experiences managing the everyday stresses of life with at least some small measure of success. The trap is sprung when other things pile on – additional family issues, sickness, tragedy, work issues, etc. and we continue to try and manage it all in the same way that we were previously treading water. Now we sink. Now we open our eyes one day and feel that overwhelming sense of hopelessness that makes us think that we are done. Over. Defeated.
WAIT! DO NOT PANIC! There can be a happy ending to all of this. While I will not promise you it will be easy, I will promise you it is attainable. Please check out our December 5, 2016 podcast, “Why are We SO STRESSED?” and open the door to ideas, solutions and peace as you confront the stresses of your own life.