I was amazed when I started really looking at stress and its effects on our lives! If you weren't motivated before, a look at how stress can affect our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits will be what you need to get the ball rolling.
I was literally brought to tears when I was researching to find some of the symptoms of stress on our bodies. The list is pretty much endless with some major ones being high blood pressure, chronic pain, respiratory issues, decreased immune response, infertility, gastric problems and so on ..most of the 15 leading causes of death in the US can be linked either directly or indirectly to high levels of sustained stress.
Mentally speaking, stress does a number on us when stress becomes anxiety and worry. Our mind can use stress to diminish our value in our own eyes, or give us reasons to perpetually fail to trust God and His promises. Stress can be linked to many depressive and psychiatric disorders.
As far as our hearts are concerned, stress is a weight that we carry with us into every relationship, including our relationship with God. Since God uses our hearts to instruct, love, reach out and guide us we are selling ourselves short when we fill it with worry and anxiety instead of His peace.
Our spirits suffer the most, when we starve it of all that it needs to be at rest in its Creator. We separate ourselves from the gifts of the Holy Spirit when stress speaks louder than He does. We are left with a spirit lacking in rest and quiet comfort.
Stress is bad. It is harmful on many levels and has devastating effects if it is allowed to become a lifestyle.
How is it that it gets to be such a monster exactly?
Because stress does not stay a simple "not right" feeling that it starts out as. Its not just a temporary tension that will go away if left on its own. Not even close.
Stress is a jumping board for all kinds of emotions, reactions, misunderstandings, criticisms, self-loathing, judgements and damage to our whole person. We have to head its damage off at the pass, and get it under control before it gets to be more than we can handle.
We do well to reclaim the resources we have for Christ and His purpose for us. To be able to recapture the wasted energy of our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits and be able to apply it to God's work in our lives ...that is a great task indeed!
God wants us to love Him with all of us, and so we need to free up every part of us that is being wasted on unworthy causes, like stress.
So, keep reading. We will next look at HOW for goodness sake? :)
Pondering Point: What effects has stress had in my body, mind, spirit and heart? Pray that God will show you...He will.
Verse of the Week: "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Deut 6:5
Discussion Thoughts: What are some general ways that you have noticed stress affecting you or others around you? Do you feel that those things are damaging to your relationship with God or God's people? How?