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Monday, May 1, 2017

Stressed, but not stressed out

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. 
(Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

Stress is something we have in life, but we don't have to be stressed. 
(Chad Moore, Pastor Sun Valley Community Church)

What stresses you out the most? What causes you to "be stressed"? When you stop to think about it, stress isn't really a bad thing. I have my favorite stretch plastic wrap that clings really well to the sides of the dish so I can create a tight seal when I need to keep in the freshness or preserve the moisture in some food. It isn't one of the name brands, but I love it nonetheless. What gives it the cling is really the response it has to the "stress" I exert upon it. The pulling of it tight against the sides of the dish until it creates a "drum-like" appearance is what makes this cling really solid. The stress is actually helping the wrap do what it was designed to do. So...isn't it quite possible the stress in our lives is helping us perform as we were designed to perform?

There is much to be said for "stress" - ranging from a really negative perspective of it being the stuff that kills us to a very positive perspective of it being the stuff that helps us grow. Even too much of a good thing can become harmful to us, though. Just the right amount of salt brings out the flavor in the food. Too much of it actually destroys or overpowers the taste of all the other food. The fine balance of "having salt" and "being over-salted" can be likened to having stress and being stressed - - - too much of a good thing becomes harmful when allowed to get into places it doesn't belong!

We aren't going to get through life "stress-free" and I am pretty sure we wouldn't want to live that way anyway. The stress we face actually helps us keep our "true center" - - - it drives us toward God and dependence upon him. This is the right way to view stress. The wrong way is to think we can make it through somehow in doing something differently, depending upon our own magnificent ideas to get us through to the other side. I know I wouldn't want to do surgery on my own body - - - and I would be a fool to attempt it. When my body is under stress because of disease, I want to take it to someone who knows how to alleviate the stress it is under. 

The antidote to stress is not to run from it, or even attempt to change the circumstances on your own so you don't have it any longer. It is to turn to God and turn it over to God. Then he will help us "in our stress" to not "be stressed", because we will know rest and peace within our souls. It is called trust. We might just do well to get to that place today. Just sayin!