Summary: God says we need to LEARN to LAUGH, CULTIVATE CONTENTMENT, ALLEVIATE ANGER, and WALK in WISDOM. Link included to formatted text, handout, and PowerPoint Presentation.
Dealing with Stress and Tension
You will notice in this passage some negative words…
v. 13 sorrow
These are all synonyms for stress and tension. They represent those times when the string gets too tight…and then it snaps!
Ill—guitar string can snap if too tight/balloon seems fine, it can take a little more, then boom!/volcano: beneath surface…fire! Pressure cooker boils over!
These are stressful times in which we live. And almost everyday you hear about another home where the string has snapped.
For example: did you know that an act of domestic violence is committed every 15 seconds in America? Scary, isn’t it? In 1/4th of all marriages, violence occurs at least occasionally. 20% of all murders take place w/in the family! Of those, 13% are committed against a spouse!
We used to say it’s a jungle out there. Now we’d have to say, it’s a jungle in here!
Stress in a home is like sand to machinery, and a marriage which should be smooth and efficient, instead begins to slowly grind away!
So, how do we reduce stress and tension in the home?
1. Learn to Laugh
17:22 What is a broken spirit? Well, the spirit of a man is the wellspring of life, and when the spirit is broken, it means you’ve lost your zest, your enthusiasm, and you’re tempted to give up.
Laughter is a gift God has given to us, to release tension, and to keep our spirits from being broken in this sin-cursed earth. Acc’d to this verse, it’s one of God’s ways of keeping us healthy, emotionally and physically.
Medical science has proven that when you laugh, chemicals and enzymes are released in the brain which are extremely imp’t to the health of our vital organs.
Listen to part of an article from a secular magazine called Executive Digest: “Scientists have been studying the effects of laughter on human beings and have found, among other things, that laughter has a profound and instantaneous effect on virtually every imp’t organ of the human body. Laughter reduces unhealthy tensions, and relaxes the tissues, as well as exercising the most vital organs. Laughter, even when forced, results in beneficial effect on us, both mentally and physically. So, the next time you feel nervous and jittery, indulge in a good laugh.”
I don’t think I could ever possibly deal w/ the stresses and pressures of the ministry, if home were not a fun place to be. Kimberly will vouch for the fact that most of the time our home just rings w/ laughter…once in a while there are other sounds! But there’s just something wonderful in the air there…
This girl [my wife] gets giddy every night at 9! You say, I thought she was giddy at church! No, at church, she’s a “Goth” compared to home!
And the kids pick up on our spirits and join right in…they don’t even know what they’re doing sometimes, but they love the spirit! And our home is a place of laughter, a place of “playing”, games, chasing, walks, piles of leaves, etc.!
3 things you ought to give your children:
3 rules you ought to have for your home:
• Be fair
• Be firm
• Be fun
Learn to laugh…don’t take things so seriously…lighten up!
2. Cultivate Contentment
vegetable plate/filet mignon
ill.—dad pulls up to little frame house in old car/kids run to meet him/enters: smells aroma of fried chicken, ocre, etc./no tablecloth, just placemats, no china, just mismatched dishes…some chipped, stainless steel silverware, paper napkins/dad reaches out and they all hold hands, he thanks God for their love and the food/amen…and dig in!/not in a dining room, just kitchen, but it rings w/ laughter/they tell about their day: hit homerun, dog chewed hair off my dolly.
--mansion w/ white columns out front, dad pulls up in BMW, kicks cat out of the way. No one comes out to meet him, they’re all in their rooms watching their private TV’s, playing on their X-Box or Nintendo/time to eat…long formal dining room, china, crystal, cloth/servants bring out ors d oeuvre’s, appetizers, soup du jour, salad, smoking roast./Dad eats as fast as he can, preoccupied, thinking about work/Mom has a face like a hatchet, she just knows he’s messin’ around w/ that secretary/surly, rebellious teenagers say nothing unless it’s sarcastic and cutting…
Which of these homes would you like to have? The first!
Not saying it’s impossible to have both, although it’s not common to have both.
If you want to have a happy home, you have to cultivate contentment. Live w/in your means. Financial stress will kill the spirit of a home…you don’t need that.
“Better is a dinner of herbs…”