Choose Peace Not Stress

We live in a time of high stress according to many writers. I think that humans have always faced stressful circumstances. Think about living in houses or shelters ill-equipped for the winter with the constant threat of a near-by enemy who could come and kill you.

That’s stress.

But many of us live in a state of constant stress. A boss. A spouse. A job. Not having a job.

Dr. Henry Cloud spoke at Willow Creek last week. He’s a psychologist whose knowledge and wisdom has guided me through many of his books. His topic was stress. That started my thought process.

I’ve had periods of time over the last ten years or so where I was in chronic stress. I pride myself on knowing how to handle stress–meditation, Yoga, exercise, proper eating, sleep–you know the drill.

But some things just come back at you constantly. You have to find a way to deal with it to end the source.

Sometimes you are in a situation where you hold the key. In one of my cases, I could have solved the problem. But it involved work. Eventually I quit. In another case, the only solution was to leave the situation.

Today, I have the stresses that come from being at the end of a big project and struggling to finish the research and write the report. Then the annual stress of assigning referees to soccer  matches.

But these are manageable. You tackle one piece at a time and keep at it. The stress just keeps me sharp.

There is a difference in the stresses.

But Cloud pointed out that God will help.

I thought about Paul who wrote to the Galatians that peace is a fruit of the Spirit. “If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.”

Or again when he wrote to the Philippians, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Interesting that Paul adds “with thanksgiving.” Taking time every morning or evening to remember all the things for which you are grateful is another great stress reliever.

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