Thursday, October 20, 2005

Two Kinds of Stress

Jesus himself said that if anyone was tired, exhausted and stressed out, we could come to him and he would give us rest.

Is anyone out there ready to say that this is their normal experience? Does anyone out there feel like the one word that could summarize their current lifestyle is "rest"?

Judging by the comments and email I've received in the last 24 hours, I'd say this is an area many of us struggle with. And it's not for a lack of ideas. There were many great suggestions. CJ, I'm obviously not taking one of yours (fasting from my blog), but I am taking the other two.

I think Amy and Kerry make really interesting points that I want to follow up on. Amy is right: a certain amount of stress in life is unavoidable. Some can be avoided, so it is wise to talk about stress reduction. But some isn't, so it is also wise to talk about stress management.

I think a lot of our stress (notice I've changed the subject from my stress specifically to our stress in general -- Do I know how to avoid, or what?) comes from disobedience. God tells us to take time off, enjoy small pleasures, celebrate life and the goodness of God. If I don't obey God -- whether it is in taking a Sabbath rest or in overextending myself financially or treating my body as a Holy Temple of God -- I bring avoidable stress on myself.

Overeat, gain weight, feel terrible, add more stress. Drink too much, do stupid things, feel terrible, add more stress. Practice deception -- even in small things -- cover my tracks, wait to be discovered, feel terrible, add more stress.

Any time I disobey God, I end up adding more unnecessary stress to my life -- stress that is easily avoidable if I will just do what I know I'm supposed to do.

I am rarely this open about things, but I feel the need for confession. So, here are some areas where I have been walking in disobedience:

I've been talking more than listening.
I've been eating too much and not getting enough rest.
I haven't been exercising and treating my body right.
I've been more concerned with how God's correction applies to other people than how it applies to me.
I haven't been trusting God with my finances.

How about you? Anything you want to confess? Any areas where you've been walking in disobedience that have added unnecessary stress to your life?