Saturday, August 1, 2015

My Thoughts on Stress...

       Some of you know that I am going to college and pursuing a Bachelors degree in Leadership and Ministry.  This weeks lessons and discussion have been on stress and so timely for me.  I am sharing what I posted in my class discussion area.  I have included the comments from my fellow students about my post.
 Stress is the shovel that digs an early grave.  Stress increases risk for disease and if one were to go to the doctor with strange, unexplainable symptoms the question would surface, "have you experienced any recent stress?"  "Stress is the process of appraising and responding to a threatening or challenging event."  Women tend to have higher rates of stress then men do.  Men are compartment thinkers, women are connected thinkers, this may contribute to their varying reports of stress.   When one is stressed the immune system is repressed making it easier to get sick.  When my daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer, we asked the doctors desperately, "what caused this?"  We were told that even the common cold could have stressed out her body just enough to mark the beginning of cancer growth.  There are studies that prove a link between cancer and stress.  Stress doesn't necessarily give someone AIDS but it will definitely be a contributing factor in how well the body fights off infections.  Basically, stress increases the vulnerability to most diseases, including heart disease.
      We are to "cast our cares on Him," we are "not to fear," we are to "trust."  God promises to provide peace and comfort when we surrender our stress and worries to Him.  He doesn't wish us to carry our burdens alone, "His yoke is easy and His burden is light."  He wishes to enable us to have peace and to sense His love and reassurance that He will take care of us.
     I have faced the tremendous challenge of stress many times in my life.  One way I cope with stress is to envision myself beyond the difficulty.  The next way is to look back over my life and recall the many, many times God has gotten me through tough times.  The third and hardest thing is when I surrender the stress and/or stressors to Him.  I give Him my needs and take my hands off while acknowledging that sometimes, I have no control over the outcomes. Fourth, I try to plan ahead to eliminate unnecessary stress. Fifth, talk to a trusted friend or loved one.  Learning to cope with stress is not something I'm perfect at. Quickly surrendering it to God would help me feel peace sooner.  I hope to memorize scripture that will encourage my faith in this area.
Crystal, upon reading your post, I was engulfed with the Holy Spirit. It put things in a different perspective for my life. In my many years, I have encountered stressful situations and I am ashamed that I have not handled them as graciously as it is clear that you have. The things that have been put on your plate have brought you through with a strong grasp of how reliance upon our God as forged your path. Stress can either consume you or make you stronger, and it is quite evident that it has enhanced your relationship with our heavenly Father. It proves that God will not give you more than you can handle. Our God is an awesome God!! Your post truly touched my heart. Blessing, Kati

"Stress is the shovel that digs an early grave." This is a great and accurate statement. I am dealing with more stress right now in my life than ever before. Sometimes I honestly think it is going to kill me, until I pick up my Bible. One thing I am learning to do is look for God's fingerprints on all situations. Sometimes it takes a little detective work, but it is helping me tremendously. I look at every stressful situation and try to figure out how it could glorify God. I do this because I know that if God is allowing it, He has a purpose for it. Knowing that is what motivates me to fight through it. I know it is going to end the way that God wants it to. The Bible says, "Be still, and know that I am God!" (Psalm 46:10, NLT).
"Cast you cares on Jesus", my mom used to tell me that all the times. Actually that was how she ended each call we shared while I was in prison. At first I didn't want to hear what she had to say, but over times I began to realize the true meaning of that and my stress and anxiety began to subside over the years I was away. I began sleeping better and my depression began to be lifted from my shoulders.
When all seems dark and there seems to be no where to go "cast your cares on Jesus"

And from my Facebook this week-
Stresses in family, stresses in finances, stresses in several other situations. I'm glad to have a wonderful husband and a loving Heavenly Father. "When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock, that is higher than I." Psalm 61:2

"Be still, and know that I am God!" (Psalm 46:10, NLT). When you don't know what to do, "Be still."  When you don't know what to think; "know that I am God."