Where do you put your stress?
One place I put my stress is in my shoulders. They get all tight and begin to ache as the days go on. I have friends that put their stress in their head. They get these terrible migraines that knock them down for a few days. I even have even seen people’s hair fall out due to stress. Straight up.
It is crazy how an intangible thing like stress can actually manifest in our physical tangible bodies. It is not real. It is a thought. I can’t cut it out of my flesh. There is no machine to remove it. There isn’t some medicine that can shrink it. It exists only in the mind of the person carrying it. But it gets out of our mind and into our body. High blood pressure. Bubble guts. Headaches.
So what do we do with this thing. We all have stress. Just the constant weight of some worry. We are stressed about some work relationship. Or the bills. Or the kids. Or the car. Or the marriage. Or the test results. And the weight of that worry sets up camp within our mind. And it is not just passing through. No. This day tripper has come with enough supplies for a season. Not just that, this guy has brought friends. It is rarely just one weight, but multiple streams of anxiety pulling at our attention. We have made the horrible mistake of crossing the streams, and are experiencing total protonic reversal (that is a Ghosbusters joke).
I don’t want my body to choke on the stress of my life. I don’t want my shoulders to seize up. I don’t want to fly off the handle for no reason. I don’t want to vent the overloading system with tears trying to avoid the coming overload. I don’t want to hide in my house or in my heart. I want to live. I want to walk outside in the danger and unknown. I want to love fiercely and swing the bat as hard as I can. “It feels wrong not to swing.”
What do I do with all the stress that this kind of living brings? The bigger your life, the more weight to carry. The more people you love, the more vulnerabilities to your heart. The more you attempt, the more that can fail. How do we as people face such things?
I am going to tell you where I put my stress. And I am not just talking smack. This is really what I do with it. I put it down at the feet of Jesus.
Now don’t roll your eyes. Let me tell you the story.
Every morning and every night I go to my knees in prayer. With my heart bowed low I make my prayers to God the Father. I try to model my prayers after the teaching of Jesus, when he teaches us all how to pray in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6). You may have heard of his model prayer.
Who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom Come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
Lead me not into temptation
But deliver me from evil
For yours is the power and the glory and the kingdom
Forever and ever.
This prayer is where I deal with my stress. A loving Father. Daily Bread. Forgiving and being forgiven. And temptation. I am going to spend the next few weeks writing about stress, and how it doesn’t crush me. I know everyone is not the same. My goal is not to shame those who are laid low underneath their stress. I am just gonna share some things I have learned about resting in Jesus that has given me an easy smile even in the midst of incredible loss and failure. I hope it is a help to you. I’ll be back next week with the next part: Being loved by the Father.