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Summary: One moment we can be happy and soon life brings circumstances that can trouble us. If not careful we will let everything become so intense that we will lose our joy. God did not create us to live a stressful life but to enjoy every moment of our day.

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Pressed but not crushed

Joke: Once a man who was suffering from severe stress went with his wife to the doctor. The doctor said to the wife, “Your husband needs rest and peace. Here are some sleeping pills.” Wife, “When must I give them to him?” Doctor, “They are for you.”

Helen Steiner Rice: Life is a mixture of sunshine and rain, teardrops and pleasure, laughter and pain.

One moment we can be happy and soon life brings other circumstances that can trouble and upset us. If we are not careful we will let everything become so intense and pressured that we will lose our joy. Many people are burned out at the end of the day and go to sleep sad and tensed. God did not create us to live a stressful life but to enjoy every moment of our day.

Proverbs 15:13-25 13A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. 14The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. 15All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast. 16Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil. 17Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred. 18A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel. 19The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway. 20A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. 21Folly brings joy to one who has no sense, but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course. 22Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. 23A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word! 24The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead. 25The LORD tears down the house of the proud, but he sets the widow’s boundary stones in place.

In this passage we can notice some negative words: Crushed spirit, oppressed, turmoil, hatred, hot temper, conflict, quarrel, failure. These are all synonyms for stress and tension.

Someone compared human stress to a balloon. A balloon may seem a very beautiful thing for a child but we know there is pressure inside. We put more pressure and boom it bursts. We have a certain limit of tolerance beyond which many of us snap.

Ecclesiastes 5:17 As a man comes so he departs, and what does he gain, since he toils for the wind? All his days he eats in darkness with great frustration, affliction, and anger. This is stress. We are living in times where people are not able to handle stress anymore. Last week a 30-year-old Infosys employee committed suicide because of stress.

Stress is a mysterious thing: You can't see it, you cannot touch it, but you definitely know it's there. Psychologists say men, women, and even children nowadays suffer from stress.

Signs of stress

a. Forgetfulness. b. Temper.

c. Chronic fatigue/sleeplessness. d. A sense of helplessness.

e. Never having a sense of accomplishment. f. Feeling like a failure.

g. Constant illness. h. Headaches and tensions. Migraines.

i. High blood pressure. j. Heart disease.

The root behind all of this is human stress. So if you deal with the root the stress, you stop the fruit, all these symptoms.

Biblical steps to reduce stress.

1. Learn to Laugh.

Proverbs 15:13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast. We live in a stressful world, so need to take some time to lighten up.

Joke: The employees of a company were having a pizza party in the break. After the break the new CEO takes a walk and decides to sack all lazy employees, who have not joined back work after the party. Soon he notices a young man leaning against the wall, doing nothing. The CEO asks him, “What’s your pay?” “Rs. 6000,” said the man. The CEO asks him to wait and walks to his cabin. He returns with Rs. 12000 and says, “Here is your pay for 2 months. Now get out and don’t come back again.” Feeling very good about downsizing the CEO looks around and asks “What was that fellow doing here?” A worker shouts out, “Pizza delivery boy.”

There are all kinds of benefits that come from a joyful heart. People who laugh on a regular basis are healthier, live longer, have better relationships, and make better decisions. We have bills to pay, children to raise, deadlines at the office, traffic jam, sickness etc and it is easy to get bent down by the pressures of life. If we are not careful we will let everything become so intense and pressured that we will never laugh, we will never have any fun, we become burdened down by life.

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