The Value of Stress by Pastor Ken Damstrom
THE VALUE OF STRESS
WHAT IS STRESS?
Everyone has it. It comes in many ways, shapes, and forms; we are never told in Scripture that we can avoid all stress! We are told that God will help us to manage stress.
What about stress today? In “1984”, a writing by the late author Alvin Toffler, called “Future Shock”, gave us the following thoughts:
“More people experience more shock when changes take place in a short time span!”
Talk about change? We are in a continual state of change day after day. U.S News once informed us that: ” 7 out 10 people felt stress sometime during an average workday…30-40% of the above group indicated stress…54% said that they had more stress than their parents (Parents Magazine).
The article went on to say that most people experience “loss of temper” at least 5 times a month. 56% said that stress made them do things they know they would regret later on, 75% noted that stress kept them from enjoying life to the fullest.
A Gallup Poll found 90% of people are stressed at least once a week, 25% said they were stressed daily. (Anything sound familiar?)
There are physical as well as psychological symptoms which clearly point to the effects of stress in our lives; “tired, fatigue, tremors, aches, tics, twitches, rashes, hives, itching, overeating, loss of sleep, etc. Psychologically, we experience irritability, anger, hostility, loss of humor, feelings of being overwhelmed, etc. Stress causes people to turn to a variety of medicines to treat symptoms. Their health is affected, their marriages are affected, and job performances are at times strongly influenced.
From a spiritual point of view, what is stress? Anything that blurs our focus on Jesus Christ and causes us to lose the peace promised to us we can label stress.
Psalm 34: The good man does not escape all troubles- he has them, too. BUT the LORD helps him in each and every one.”
As we noted in the video clip on pressure at the start of our subject, ALL IS NOT BAD! Stress is inevitable…but here is the key!
- Avoid stress when possible.
- Manage stress you cannot avoid, i.e. Joseph & Potiphar’s wife: where was the stress? Check it out for just one example.
Other areas include: stress of seduction; stress of being blamed; stress of gossip and rejection; stress of bitter accusations; stress of coping with indifference from God; stress punishment; stress of angry feelings; stress of rejection; stress of being hopeless.
THE BIG KEY TO SUCCESSFUL STRESS MANAGEMENT IS: (avoid undesirable stress whenever it is possible. For example, do not chase tornadoes, keep away from hurricanes, don’t get caught in snowstorms, and do not feel you must have the last word in every relationship…WHEN YOU CAN AVOID THE ABOVE, DO IT!
God’s word teaches us that not all stress can be avoided, however, many stressors can. HE helps HIS children manage stressors they encounter!
THE GOOD NEWS IS that we can manage stress by employing a life of stress management and our guarantee is through Jesus Christ. Romans 2:12-14 explains where lots of stress comes from when it says, “God’s laws are written within them; their own conscience accuses them, or sometimes excuses them.”
We all have a conscience and often one strong stress stimulus is guilt. The Holy Spirit knows how to manage our guilt stress so “we can have real peace” (Romans 5:1. Also see John 5:24; 6:28-29; Romans 3:21,22,27; 1 Cor. 1:30, 31; Heb. 9:14).
The value of stress/pressure is great when we put it all in the Hands of the Lord! He has made us for a purpose, do we realize how important that is? Victor Frankl, in his book, MAN’S SEARCH FOR A MEANING, discerned in the midst of the horrors of the concentration camp, in the midst of the worst stress possible, THAT A MAN MUST HAVE A PURPOSE FOR LIVING!
Solomon said life “was meaningless, meaningless…” (Eccl. 1:2, 3, 8-11). Our foundation is not empty, but solid upon Jesus Christ. Our stress-free HOPE is in JESUS! HE is our purpose, our reason for living! The list of stressors goes on and on, the pressures never-ending, yet our guarantee is solid when we experience the full circle of managing stress by adhering to the following behaviors.
- GET INTO THE WORD
- MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE
- FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRISTIANS
- SERVE OTHERS-OBEY GOD
- GUARD YOUR TEMPLE
- MAKE A TOTAL COMMITMENT
Pressure-treated experiences develop faith, strengthens our humility and keeps us on that Solid Rock to stay. James further says in chapter one, “consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4.
PETER MARSHALL, CHAPLAIN OF THE U.S. SENATE ONCE SAID:
“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”