Some handle stress better than others. But denying we’re stressed so we’ll be thought more spiritual might mean we need our heads examined.
Pretend or get real?
My choice is the latter.
I can’t hang with the too blessed to be stressed crowd, and loathe easy cliches. Unless we live on a tropical island with a paid mortgage, perfect health, every relationship filled with joy, where crime-wars-poverty-and-disasters never hit – well, life gets rough. Our tendency to shield and insulate makes sense when we’re feeling overwhelmed. I’ve just never understood the purpose of spiritual cliches.
Stress mounts. Energy plummets. Coping mechanisms aren’t at all what they’re cracked up to be. One phone call, diagnosis, or job loss can cause life to cave. We’re facing hard battles, each one of us. We’re blessed, and we know it, but we’re living in earthsuits susceptible to wear and tear.
One of our healing co-factors is transparency.
To come as we are means no more pretense. No more bandaid ministry to each other. Transparency eases the stress of guardedness and self-protection. Once we land among safe company, we begin to heal. We can relax and simply accept where each of us are on this journey. When God shows us Christ in each other, we’re less about judging and more about loving support. This ripple effect breeds health. When a sister or brother stumbles from the stress of life, we don’t spout veiled condemnations, we give a hand. Mostly, we give our heart.
Other healing cofactors are rest, hormone balance, and brain nutrients.
In the physical, we forget that our hormones and brain chemistry all vary with milage. Chronic stress depletes us. If we come unglued, it might be less about missing our quiet time, more about the lack of sleep and skimpy diet. Too many times we’ve carried spiritual guilt about attitudes, behavior, or feelings, not realizing our brains or adrenals were whacked. Some have suffered for years with imbalances that even good doctors failed to address. How can we cope when our brains and bodies are crying for help? We may get down on ourselves and want to give up. We isolate. We cry. We suffer in silence.
Well, here’s a cliche I will use:
Knowledge is power.
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed, out of control, or desperately blue – it’s not necessarily a spiritual problem. Years of irritability, mood swings, lack of motivation, anxiety, tears, insomnia, and dark depressions nearly did me in. Life slipped me by. I couldn’t join in. Well-meaning folks lectured me about bible-reading when I couldn’t even concentrate. But then I began to find answers. I’m compiling common-sense tools to get my life back, thank God, and you can, too.
There’s a reason some of us handle stress better (or worse) than others. Maybe the too-blessed-to-be-stressed crowd has more seratonin. Or estrogen. Or the guardian hormone, progesterone, which calms the nervous system. All I know is, where folks lack compassion and grace, we’ll find comfort in the truth. Where they lack understanding, there is One who knows our frame. If you struggle this way, you’re no less spiritual than anybody else. There is an emotional rescue plan and we’ll talk about it later.
Are you experiencing chronic stress? Do you sometimes badger yourself or want to give up? Maybe you’re not up to par and want to share.
I’m praying for you today and so appreciate your being here.
Your sister sojourner,