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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Being carried away by currents of stress?

Ever "feel" like you just cannot get a handle on things and like the whole world is just spinning out of control?  We all have these days, but a lifestyle of this type of "feeling" will absolutely undo the strongest person!  We can receive all kinds of input all day long - what we do with the input and how we allow it to affect us determines if we will live in peace, or fall to pieces.  If you stop long enough, you might just begin to realize there is a link between peace of mind and stress.  The more physical, mental, or emotional strain we put ourselves under, the more we begin to feel a little tension in our lives. The more tension we begin to "feel" without "processing" it correctly, the greater the chances are it will affect our peace.

A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones.  (Proverbs 14:30 MSG)

Look at the link between a sound mind and a healthy, flourishing body.  The more stress we accumulate without processing it, the more it begins to affect our body.  There is often more to a few extra pounds on our frame than just not exercising as much as we should, or eating a few more calories at lunch than is really called for.  We have to "process" what we take in, but when we take in more than we can "process" and add to it the stress of life accumulating out of control, we are sure to reap a pretty unhealthy response. The body can "process" almost anything, but we have to give it time and the right means by which to process it.  The same is true of our mind and spirit. As long as we give them the right time and means by which to process what is coming into them, we can "deal" with the stuff coming our way.  Neglect the time, or use an incorrect means to deal with the stuff and your peace will soon be turned into havoc.

Peace is more than a "feeling".  Jesus said, "I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way than the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid." (John 14:27 ERV)  The world gives us a peace which is elusive - based on circumstances and things we can "control". When we throw in things we cannot control, the world's peace flies right out the window.  The peace Jesus gives is "his own peace" - in other words, he gives us enough of HIM to deal with the things life throws our way.  If we find our peace is not enough, what we really need is more of Jesus, not more of what we have already been doing!  Too many times we think peace is a thing, but if we read this correctly, peace is a PERSON, not a thing!  We need more of the PERSON of Jesus if we are to "deal" with the pressures of life.

We can probably all associate with the idea of "runaway emotions". Unchecked emotions run rampant in our brains, releasing all kinds of hormones which eventually begin to do damage in our bodies.  In looking up the word "runaway" this morning, I found it means to desert.  When we allow emotions to "runaway", we are "deserting" our post of peace - we are choosing to see the things which are out of OUR control as out of ANY control in our lives. Most of the time, when we begin to be carried away with the emotions, we are "leaving our post" - running away with what is carrying us along.  

I live in the deserts of Arizona, so when rain comes here, the ground cannot always soak it up quick enough.  People are constantly warned about flash floods in the dry riverbeds.  In fact, we have a "stupid motorist" law here - because so many try to cross over what appears to be only a few inches of water, but get carried by the raging current of muddy water and debris.  Then they need rescue and the rescue costs them dearly!  They don't cross the usually dry wash without some type of warning of the impending danger of doing so - there are signs posted reminding them of the potential dangers of crossing even those 6-12 inches of water.  The same is true of most of the emotional "current" in our lives - we see clear warning signs, but just don't heed them!  When we launch out into the "current" of emotion, we get carried away - needing rescue!  Remember, all "rescue" costs us something we may not have been prepared to "pay"!

Another key idea in our passage is the "corrosive" part of emotional strain. Not only do we get carried away, abandoning our post of peace, but we begin to experience the corrosive effects of wearing emotions.  Corrosion doesn't occur immediately - it occurs over time, with a gradual deterioration sometimes not noticed until it begins to weaken the "frame" of what once existed.  When we try to make our own peace, rather than standing firm in God's peace, we are going to deteriorate somewhere down the line.  There is no "protection" as great as the PERSON of PEACE.  

Here's the truth:  Peace is a PERSON - seek the PERSON of PEACE and you will have enduring peace.  More of Christ equals more peace.  Nothing else will quite do when we are dealing with the corrosiveness of stress in life.  Just sayin!