Stress is a reminder to us that we are not able to do this on our own. Problem is, we don’t get the message.
Ever have one of those days… weeks… months… when it feels like you have just been called in to replace Atlas? Situations in your life, your family’s life, or even just that jabber-mouthed friend who needs to vent at every spare moment can make you feel like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders!
Our first day on the job, we may do just fine. We roll with the punches, paint on the smile and drag our burdens (and those of countless others) along as we plow through life. After a while, though, we wear down, and we fall into a danger zone.
Oh, we try to disguise it. We tell people, “I’m just not feeling well” or “I have a headache.” We list it under its aliases: overwhelmed, tired, too busy, maxed out. We rarely call stress what it really is, and it is this:
“I am relying on myself right now to get through life and it would appear I am coming to the end of my resources. I am not operating in faith at the moment.”
Here’s the kicker, though. Stress has such a huge effect on us physically. It makes us feel horrible. In my family, we have a long line of stress-related stomach issues. I personally have stress-related migraines that cause blindness (yes, very exciting) and have recently discovered I clench my teeth when stressed, which causes severe, unable-to-eat jaw pain.
Still, in the midst of all of our physical maladies and mental frazzledness (new word) we try to push on in our own strength.
This is where we run in to trouble because, for many of us,
solving stress + my strength = sex
Countless women have admitted that this is when we are weakest. Why? Because stress is, first off a spiritual weakness, which grows to an emotional weakness, which then becomes a physical weakness.
I’ll be brutally honest, in the hopes of not causing anyone trouble on here, but orgasms are very stress-relieving. They don’t rid any of our cares, they don’t solve any of our problems, but they release hormones that make us, if only for a few moments, feel good. Sure, I am still carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, but at least I don’t feel as bad while doing it.
In that moment, we fail to realize that the stress will still be there, and will be compounded by our recent failure. Now, on top of dealing with the venting friend, the family issues and the broken washing machine, we have to square with the guilt and shame of failure.
Maybe now is a good time to admit that we have poor stress-resolution skills?
I will confess I do, and while I am so much stronger now than I was years ago, I can hear the subtle whispers of my heart to take the easy (temporary) way out of this. Instead, I have decided to set the world down, go back and start over.
It starts as a spiritual weakness. When the world was set on my shoulders, I clenched my teeth (quite literally) and pushed forward. I completely neglected the gentle calling of my Saviour when He tells me to cast all my cares on Him, or when He tells me to let Him know all of my requests and promises that His peace will keep my heart. I ignored the advice of Proverbs when it says to trust Him with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding. I tried to do this on my own and have found myself, in turn, walking further away from Him!
Then it proceeds to an emotional weakness. My heart gets overwhelmed, my mind starts to whir. I dwell in all the negativity and soak it up like a sponge. Instead of fleeing to Him when a situation overwhelms me, I let it overwhelm me, forgetting the prayer of the Psalmist when he said, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to a rock that is higher than I.” Pretty soon, I am unable to be thankful for even the smallest of blessings. My joy is gone.
Then the body falls apart. Our bodies were simply not made to carry the world, and as we try, on our own, we find our facilities failing. We start getting physically ill, and instead of going back to the source and strengthening the spiritual weakness or emotional weakness, we turn to our drug of choice to numb the physical pain!
Are you stressed today? Don’t keep carrying it on your own! Don’t even try to stand up underneath it. Let your burdens come crashing to the ground in a pile of tears and running mascara, and then call out to your Heavenly Father, who waits, ready to bear those burdens, heal your heart, and strengthen your spirit.