The Value of Stress…

How do you deal with stress? Do you get angry, sad, depressed? Do you run from stress, or try to avoid it, or cry? Each and everyone of us probably handles stress differently. But no matter how you handle stress it has an affect on you emotionally, spiritually and physically. As a student of history I have noticed that presidents look drastically different when they come out of office. People who go into the presidential office look enthusiastic and young, but when they come out the enthusiasm is generally gone and they look much older. I can’t imagine a more stressful job than the President of the United States. Personally I deal with stress by internalizing it. I keep it bottled in until it busts out or it goes away. I do not suggest handling stress this way. For the most part I deal with stress by avoiding the situations that stress me out. I like to escape my stress by playing video games. With playing video games I also eat, which is why I am probably fat. The problem is that this really does not make the stress go away. In fact I have learned that the only way stress goes away is when you deal with the issues that stress you out. But what do you do when dealing with the issues does not work? What do you do when dealing with the issues that stress you out bring more stress to your lives?

No matter what you do sometimes the situations that bring the most stress never stop being stressful. For example, the stress of marriage or being a parent. The reason why the stress of marriage and parenthood never stops is because they are worth being stressed over. The weird thing about stress is that the longer we put up with the stress the more important those situations become to us. Think about this. If a person stressed me out and I did not truly care for that person, I would just avoid them or tell them off. I would disassociate myself with them because I do not want the stress. But if it is someone that I truly care about I deal with the stress. I find ways to work through the issues, situations, or problems with this person. Sometimes I believe stress is a good indicator on how you truly love.

Think about it from God’s perspective. I have often wondered how stressed God gets with us. I believe that God does get stressed because Jesus felt stress. Multiple times Jesus states in frustration, “You of little faith” or He asks the question in Matthew 17:17, “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” I can just imagine how many times God just wants to forget everything and start over. I am just glad that God handles stress better than I do. As I stated above, stress is a good indicator for how much you care about a person.

No matter the stress we might feel, it does not compare to the stress that God feels. I mean have you ever “sweated blood” because of the stress you were under. I mean, many times God could have rejected us to relieve the stress, but He didn’t. This is not Gods way of dealing with us, it is God’s way of showing how much love He has for us. James 1:2 reminds us of the pleasure that we can receive from stress, “My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy.” Our testing becomes joy. Why is this?

I think that our tests become joy because we join in God’s stress. We join in the love that God has for His creation. It is Gods love that endures through all the stressful situations that life can throw at us. Even people who seem to stress us out the most become reasons to celebrate because by not giving up on them we actually show them the love we have and give. I believe that Psalm 118 becomes a very important Psalm to read in times of stress. This is just a taste of this great Psalm, “Give things to the LORD because he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever. Let Israel say it: ‘God’s faithful love lasts forever!’ Let the house of Aaron say it: ‘God’s faithful love lasts forever!’ Let those who honor the LORD say it: ‘God’s faithful love lasts forever!’ In tight circumstances, I cried out to the LORD. The LORD answered me with wide-open spaces. The LORD is for me – I won’t be afraid. What can anyone do to me? The LORD is for me – as my helper.” Isn’t it interesting that the phrase “God’s faithful love lasts forever” is the important phrase in this Psalm.

As we deal and handle stress remember the love that God gives us which lasts forever is faithful no matter how we stress out God. Remember that our love is tested all the time, but we must remember that our love comes from God’s love which is faithful. Hopefully as you deal with life’s stress you will learn that stress is not something to run away from, but something to find value in…

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