When explaining stress management to an audience, a lecturer raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 20 grams to 500 grams. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you will have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight. However, the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."
He continues, "And that is the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. When refreshed, we can carry on with the burden. So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work or whatever is burdening you down. Don't carry it home. Please don't pass it along to your spouse or kids. You can pick it up tomorrow!"
That's good advice. If you never stop, you can't start! Sometimes, we need to come apart, or we will come apart! Here's some logic for the overly stressed. Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the early bird, sleep late! Many folks today are like a billiard table with balls scattered all over the board. From time to time, we all need to take time to re-rack our billiard balls.
Jesus taught us stress management and how to move from stressed to de-stressed. Remember the Bible story when Jesus' disciples were in the middle of a sea, in the middle of the night, and in the middle of the perfect storm? I'll bet their blood pressure was 190 over 130. Then Jesus appears, walking on water. They thought it was a ghost. Let's take a glimpse into the disciples' minds. "It's midnight in the perfect storm, in the middle of the sea, and now there's a ghost walking on water. Mercury rising. Now their blood pressure is 210 over 150!
Yet, even in the middle of the storm, Jesus was there. Then Jesus spoke to his stressed-out companions, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid" There are 365 times in the Bible that God says, “Do not be afraid.” If you are like me, you probably need a "fear not" at least once a day every day of the year. Sure enough, the storm calmed down.
The lesson here is don't let the storm on the outside of you get inside of you. Great advice for the storm challenged and overly stressed, huh? Maybe it’s time to relax a bit, cool our jets, turn off our fear alarm clock, quit watching the news, and re-rack our emotions. Remember the glass of water? The longer you hold it, the heavier it becomes.
In Matthew 6, Jesus calmed the storm inside of 5000 stressed out, hope-hungry people. He said, "Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers, most of which are never even seen, don't you think that He will attend to you, take pride in what you do, and do His best for you? What I'm trying to say here is relax, to be not so occupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving."
Jesus is still telling His people and telling us at this very moment, “Relax, rest and trust in Me, open your eyes. God has things under control. You won’t respond to God and all that God has given you when you’re stressed. Listen, there’s another option, you can pivot from 'too stressed to be blessed' to 'too blessed to be stressed.’ A negative mind will never give you a positive life."
Let me be honest and transparent with you. I'm stressed about life right now. There is too much melodrama going on in the world as well as in my world right now. What is on the outside of me is starting to get inside of me. I needed this article today. I’m slowly learning that it's not the load that breaks you down; it's the way you carry it that breaks you down.
Let’s see if we get the message here. When life gets too stressed, put down the glass, sleep late for one day, and come apart lest ye come apart. Jesus calmed the storm on the outside of you, and He can calm the storm on the inside of you too.
There you go. Now you have been exposed and hopefully enlightened about stress management for dummies and smarties. I prefer the second category but sometimes visit the first. How about you?