Friday, July 26, 2013

that's tense

according to the american psychological association, some of the causes of stress are job, money and health. it is reported that 33% of americans feel like they are living with extreme stress levels, 76% cite money and work as the leading cause, and 48% report lying awake at night due to stress. it is ironic that "lack of energy" is cited as one of the top psychological symptoms of stress, yet sleeping is extremely difficult. one would think that if you have no energy left sleep would come easy.

david writes psalm 3 during a very stressful time in his life. his son absalom, his own flesh and blood, is  challenging david for the throne, and get winning! imagine a son, hunting his father down, and stopping at nothing until his dad is dead in order to step into a place of power. that is crazy and a sensible reason for david to be stressed.

in my studies to be a counselor i remember studying many founders and practitioners of psychological theory. there were some crazy approaches and practices for the sake of mental health. one theorist would utilize stress for the sake of change in a relationship. he would actually note and bring up stressful scenarios in the aim at gaining healthy relationships. he posited that if people found stress within the dynamic they would not be able to live with it and therefore would seek change. he, in essence, utilized stress for the sake of health. how crazy does that sound?

stress actually can serve to benefit in a short term function. it provides the body with elevated senses and sends signals through the body at an alarming rate. it proves to reveal that stress can provide to be an aid in the event of a serious event.

however, stress over an elongated period of time produces the opposite effect. raised levels of chemicals in the brain for a long period will dampen your immune system, decrease brain cells and impair memory. chronic stress is linked to depression as an excess of cortisol is released in the blood.

the lord has profound ways of revealing his desire for our lives. he is capable of giving us a free will while at the same time maintaining control of the entire universe. this is what makes the god of abraham, issac, and jacob possible to love. the god who sent his son to take the place of our payment for sin, truly just and at the same time truly merciful. god has not designed us to carry weight and burdens of life that break us as a result of a sin cursed earth. god can use the situation you are in right now to reveal his love for you. there can be an overcoming and there can be a righteous verdict that comes out of a highly stressful situation. never make a decision in the heat of a moment. allow the heat of the moment to provoke introspection.

what is this tense situation saying about me and my character?
what is this moment of stress revealing about how i handle suffering, confusion, uncertainty?

at the core of our introspection we will find the lord telling us something. even if we are not the author of the stress, even if we are wronged in a situation, or we are flat out a victim of someone else's sin, god will give you a message about your relationship with him. god wants to be the lord of your life in the surety of success and in the uncertainty of tomorrow. if nothing else you can testify to david's declaration...

you, god, shield me on all sides; 
you ground my feet,
you lift my head high;
with all my might i shout up to god,
his answers thunder from the holy mountain
psalm 3:3-4 (msg)

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