Summary: Not All Stress Is Bad

Stress or Distress?

We live in:

The age of the half-read page

And the quick hash and the mad dash.

The bright night and the nerves tight,

The plan hop, the brief stop,

The brain strain and the heart pain.

The cat naps till the spring snaps,

And the fun’s done.

2CO 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Not All Stress Is Bad

Scientists tell us there are two kinds of stress.

Eustress is the positive side of stress. When the body encounters manageable stress such as exercise, muscles grow and lung capacity increases. Weight lifters know that after stressing the muscles, they need to rest in order to repair; without it, muscles become damaged and injury results. Likewise, when we encounter a difficult leadership challenge, our character and skills can grow. When we go through periods where there is no opportunity to rest and repair, distress is the result.

1Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Distress is the negative side of stress. When stress causes strain we begin to suffer. Some experience headaches, others chest pains, some stomach problems, still others sleeplessness. All are the warning signs of too much distress in our lives. If we ignore them long enough, permanent damage results.

Traits / characteristic of the stress-prone:

1. Plans day unrealistically

2. First to arrive, last to leave

3. Always in a hurry

4. Makes no plan for relaxation

5. Feels guilty about doing anything other than work

6. Sees unforeseen problem as a setback or disaster

7. Is always thinking about several other things when working

8. Feels need to be recognized and overextends because of this

Symptoms of stress overload:

1. Decision-making becomes difficult (both major and minor kinds).

2. Excessive daydreaming or fantasizing about "getting away from it all."

3. Increased use of cigarettes and/or alcohol.

4. Increased use of tranquilizers and "uppers."

5. Thoughts trail off while speaking or writing.

6. Excessive worrying about all things.

7. Sudden outbursts of temper and hostility.

8. Paranoid ideas and mistrust of friends and family.

9. Forgetfulness for appointments, deadlines, dates.

10. Frequent spells of brooding and feeling of inadequacy.

11. Reversals in usual behavior.

Keith W. Wehnert, Stress/Unstress, 1981, Augsburg.

LK 8:11 "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.

13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

What To Do

A. Setting Limits

Stress management is partly about learning to set limits, physical, spiritual, and emotional.

1. Recognize aggravating aspects of your duties and accept them rather than fight them. Wisdom to discern what can and cannot be changed, attempt to change the first and accept the second. Be honest with yourself about your situation. If you tell yourself it isn’t there, you will not be able to confront it. We are not ostriches with our heads in the sand. We have been given a sound mind.

2. Identify your emotional needs and find ways to meet them. Relationships, rest, laughter, etc.

1PE 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

3. Practice listening--it is more relaxing than talking

4. Be sensitive to change--sense it coming and make adjustments. This makes change manageable rather than insurmountable.

5. Have a regular personal quiet time. Develop a personal relationship with God. This will sustain you through any situation. Nothing else can take place of this.

PS 42:1 As the deer pants for streams of water,

so my soul pants for you, O God.

PS 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When can I go and meet with God?

PS 42:8 By day the LORD directs his love,

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