Are you feeling stressed? What’s at the root of it?
It may be that you think you are having to multi-task too much every moment of every day. (Multi-tasking is often code for super-juggling and over-functioning [OVER-tasking!!!]–an unsafe practice.) Slow down. Take the Sabbath God GAVE you and COMMANDED you to take. Every person is gifted with 52 snow days a year. The world will go on without your efforts at work or around the house on that day. 24 hours of intentional, stress-free, joy-building, God-infused rest and fun. Try it and see.
Or, perhaps, you’re stressing because of the amount of things you’re allowing (i.e. inviting) into and through your mind. Alvin Toffler, in his book, Future Shock, called this “infobesity.” This is especially true in our hyper-information age of Facebook, TV, blogs, texting, and everything else. If your search and read enough, you’ll find that everything will kill you. Everyone is dangerous. Everyone is a predator. And everything and everyone you’ve ever known is ominously dark. Too much information puts our heads in a funk. As Festus once theorized about the Apostle Paul: “much learning doth make thee mad!” (Acts 26:24 kjv); or, as Solomon claimed: “much study wears you out” (Ecclesiastes 12:12 nlt). Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz, in commentary on this issue, furthered the warning of this danger. “Just like overeating damages your health, overconsuming information causes chronic stress.” (1)
So, what to do? One, be aware of what’s going on in yourself. As the author of Proverbs said, “The heart knows its own bitterness, and no outsider shares in its joy” (Prov 14:10 hcsb). Awareness is important, because as the proverb teaches, the deeper our anxieties and stresses run, the more distance grows between us and others. We’ll be awoken from our depression late in the night and wonder where our friends are and how we got here. (Chances are, we’ve been pushing people away slowly and quietly through cocooning and inaction.) Yet, most often, the encouragement out of over-stressing comes from God through others’ love and reminders to keep life straight: “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up” (Prov 12:25 nlt). So, if de-stressing Job #1 is to become fully aware of what’s going on in yourself, Job #2 is to draw close to people who are godly, balanced, and kind.
And Job #3 is to go to God. “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays FOR US with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will . . . God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God . . . And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love” (Romans 8:26-28, 38 nlt). He knows what’s going on. He’s not going to leave you without help and encouragement. But, it’s not His job to make you take it. It’s yours.
(1) Oz, Mehmet & Roizen, Michael. “Rework Schedules to Relieve Stress,” Chicago Sun-Times Food, January 30, 2013; page 10.