The Back Page
By Wendy Squires
I hope that the people who read this column don't mind, but as I ponder what to write, it seems that God gives me a message of something I need to work on in my life. Just maybe, I am not alone and others will find benefit from the words I write down.
As I look around me it seems that we live in a world rife with stress…work stress, financial stress, health stress, parenting stress, stress to achieve, and I would even go so far as to include leisure stress. Fitting in the perfect holiday into our hectic schedules. There are anti-stress workshops, anti-stress diets and vitamins. And there is also a plethora of self-help books on how to de-stress your life. But who has time to read those? Stress seems pervasive.
It is interesting that the term “stress” is relatively new. It was coined by scientist Hans Selye in the 1950s. He studied the effects on the human body from stress. And from his work the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory was developed. It lists 43 life events. You scroll through them and mark down the point value of each one that applies to you over the past year. When you finish and tally your score it indicates the likelihood that stress will affect your health. While death of a spouse or foreclosure on a mortgage would seem intuitive to increase stress, it is somewhat surprising that marriage and major vacations can add to the tally.
But this is a world-view on stress, and I feel God is wanting to teach me that He has a different view, and He wants me to view the world differently.
Firstly, I think there is a difference between stress and hardship. Stress I feel is a passive, helpless state. Hardships on the other hand are difficulties inherent in living in the world we do. God gives us the grace and strength to face these hardships and from His loving mercy, gives us peace during the hardships. (John 16:33)
We must remember that even the hardships we face are temporary and God is in charge of the “big picture”. He asks that we remain focused on the eternal view. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
It can be comforting to reflect on how God uses the most challenging hardships to draw us closer to Him. I have experienced that several times in my life. I can look back and see how God was present throughout those challenges and how He did bring “good” from those situations. And I thank Him today for the reminder of that.
So yes, life will continue to be challenging. Juggling all of life's demands probably will still cause me a few extra grey hairs, and if I am not careful to keep my focus where it needs to be, I will let my stress meter climb.
But for today, I will rest in the knowledge that God is good, God provides for His own, God is love, and God is in control.