Stress Is A Part Of Life
We have all heard it said a dozen of times before, “Stress makes you grow older faster.” Now like you I get weary of junk scientists who say such things one year only to have another scientist scuttle his findings the next year; but as to date The National Academy of Sciences says chronic stress can damage the DNA of your immune-system cells and thus speed up your aging process.
Without getting too technological; a team of psychologists and medical doctors recruited 58 women ranging from 20 to 50 years in age, 39 of who were the primary caregivers for a child that was seriously ill; the rest had healthy children. After performing a standard test on the mothers to determine their stress levels in the previous month, the results showed that the most stressed women in the study had immune-system cells that looked 10 years older than their chronological age.”
The evidence is convincing that stress is produced by major changes in life or emotional disturbances, changes such as relocation, a job change, grief and loss, or emotional disturbances such as major financial loss, an unexpected disease, physical injury. These prolonged demands can drain one’s mental and physical endurance to the breaking point . Our minds and bodies are amazingly designed by God to withstand a great deal of stress. However, if the stress persists for too long, or if the nature of stress is too extreme and intense, the stress management systems of the body become overwhelmed…. Just as a racing engine will eventually rattle both motor and body apart if it is constantly revved up and never maintained or allowed to rest, so the human body and mind will inevitably rattle apart if placed under constant stress.
Stress is a killer. The question, however, is what can be done to reduce the ravages of stress? Some experts suggest an anti-aging medicine to protect one’s aging cells. Happily, the Bible offers a much better solution, free of charge and one that can be applied here and now.
The Scriptures teach that the first critical step to effectively managing stress is to deal with any disobedience to God. Certainly not all stress is the result of disobedience to God. Nevertheless, a great catalyst for stress is living outside of God’s moral and ethical standards. The farther one wanders from God’s protective guidelines, the closer the individual moves toward a life of unrest. The Psalmist testified to this when he wrote: “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy for me to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body …. I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin“ (Psalm 38:4-7, 18).
A second biblical solution in managing stress is to stop being over-anxious about circumstances that you have no control over. Even if the Mayan disaster was going to happen; what could you have done about it? Relax! “Underneath are his everlasting arms.”
Some say worrying can’t be helped. But if that were true, Christ wouldn’t have commanded: “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear …. For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:25, 32-33). It’s as simple as the old cliché, “If you’re worrying, you’re not trusting God; and if you’re trusting God, you’re not worrying.”
Third, human beings are made in the image of God — we are triune beings. Man has a spirit, soul and body — and all three need to be regularly nurtured. Retreats (times of refreshment) are important for restoring the mind and body. Sleep is important in helping the brain to replenish essential biochemicals that help to cope with stress. Physicians say exercising just 20 minutes three times a week can significantly help in releasing physical and emotional tension, enhancing circulation, and helping one to feel better.
Additionally, one’s spiritual side needs to be quickened and maintained as well. People without a personal relationship with Christ as Savior and Lord need to begin by straightening out the matter of their salvation first. Afterward, a quiet place should be chosen where one spends a few minutes each day alone with God in Scripture reading and prayer.
Dr. James Dobson tells a humorous story about Bill Klem, a famous National League umpire. Klem was well known for hesitating a moment before signaling a ball or a strike when calling a game. One day a hotshot young pitcher, after throwing a crucial pitch, got irritated with Klem and yelled at him, “Come on, Ump, What is it?” Klem immediately pulled off his facemask, stared the kid down, and yelled back, “It ain’t nuthin’ till I call it!” “Well, that’s kind of the way it is in life,” says Dobson. “We can’t stop the curveballs from coming our way, but we do get the privilege of deciding what to call them.”
Stress in life is inevitable; as we get older our dreams get chipped away little by little, our best friends let us down and we let them down; and the more we become aware of our own frailties. As I grow older and change with age this one thing I have determined to do; “to know Him more clearly, to love Him more dearly, and to follow Him more nearly, ‘day by day.”
This is one absolute way to overcome stress. You have to find the right person to lean upon, someone who can be there with you at all times and in all situations. And that person is Christ. You can cast all your cares upon Him, all the time. To lean too heavily lean upon anyone else is to lean upon an open door. One day that person just won’t be there to lean upon. Peace in a stress ridden world is found in a person who can always be there for you, with you, and in you; and only Christ can “be with you always,” The Bible says , “He is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14).
I know of no better New Year’s resolution to this year than;
“ I refuse to live in Fear.”
God is greater than all your problems and bigger than all your needs.
As the Psalmist said:
“You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
His love endures forever.”
He’s Only a Prayer Away!