Summary: In Wednesday's Word new series, "Let's Talk About," we’re going to be looking at some of the causes and cures for one of the number one maladies of our culture and society, and that is, stress.
Let’s Talk About
*** Watch: https://youtu.be/cQ7VJqmlpho
Stress can best be described as a state of mind that causes tension and feelings of anxiety and worry that works itself out in our physical bodies and exhibit signs like hypertension, headaches, aches and pains, along with difficulty in sleeping.
Most of the time we view stress as unhealthy as it negatively affects our health, work, finances, family, and the future. There is, however, a positive side to stress, and that is it keeps us safe when dangerous situations occur.
But too much stress produces a myriad of physical symptoms like headaches, muscle tension and aches, restlessness, high blood pressure, upset stomach and nausea, tiredness, fatigue, and sleep disorders. Stress leading to anxiety has also been linked to six of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and even suicide.
Now, besides the physical symptoms, emotional problems also surface such as fear, anger, irritation, along with sadness, depression, being overwhelmed, and panic attacks.
So I think it’s safe to say that stress is nothing to mess around with.
Now, there are three realities about stress that we need to understand.
First, stress doesn’t work, because it accomplishes and solves nothing. It’s like pushing the gas petal in a car while it remains in park. It revs up the engine, makes a lot of noise, but goes nowhere.
Next, stress isn’t reasonable. It exaggerates problems making mountains out of molehills. It expands the problem making it bigger than it really is.
And finally, stress strangles life right out of us. This comes from the Old English word for “worry,” which means to strangle.
So predominate is stress in our culture that a whole new medical field was developed to deal with it, Psychology. But the good news is that God is our Great Physician, and has written out the prescription.
The Bible says, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” (Proverbs 12:25, NIV)
What Solomon is saying is that stress weighs heavily upon the heart causing all kinds of heart related illnesses. It also moves us away from trusting God to where we start trusting in ourselves instead. Stress, therefore, is the sin of not trusting God.
For the next several moments, let’s look at a couple of the top stressors and their cures.
Busyness is one of the big stressors of our day. What’s sad, however, it that its considered one of our society’s biggest virtues. We talk with pride about our ability to multitask and work long hours, but these are actually counterproductive because of all the stress they produce.
But God never created us for this type of life.
“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” (Psalm 127:2, NLT)
As I like to say, if we’re burning the candle at both ends, then we’re not as bright as we think.
The prescription to busyness is found in what King David wrote in Psalm 23.
“He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.” (Psalm 23:2 NKJV)
When we give our lives over to God, He gives us rest and refreshment, and helps us live a more balanced life.
I like how David puts it saying that God “makes” us lie down. In other words, if we don’t stop to smell the roses now, God might make us lie down and smell them from a hospital bed.
Nothing destroys a soul faster than guilt.
King David said, “For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.” (Psalm 38:4 NKJV)
One of the many ways we feel guilty is by the mistakes, or sins, we commit. But notice what the Bible says concerning these feelings.
“God declares us ‘not guilty’ of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins.” (Romans 3:23, LB)
Jesus as already paid for our sins when He died upon the cross and rose from the dead. No psychologist can ever remove our guilt, because only God has the power to forgive our sins, and thus the guilt that goes along with them.
Indecisions are another big stressor. Maybe it’s because we know that while we make our decisions, our decisions make us, and every decision has consequences. That’s why decisions are so stressful, which is why we shy away from making them.
God’s prescription for indecision is to understand that God feeds and leads, provides and guides, and protects and directs.
And while we make our plans, things change, and so we need to learn how to trust the Lord when we don’t understand, and when things just don’t make sense.