Where Does Stress Come From?

Stress: a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existing equilibrium (Miriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition)

If we’re breathing, we all feel stress. Something is always trying to disrupt our equilibrium. For many of us, the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is the most stressful time ever. Even when we want to be at our happiest at Christmas, stress can rise like a multi-headed dragon.

I remember a line from a movie in which someone asked a character how he handles stress. His reply: “I find the source of the stress and I break its kneecaps.”

That sounded like a great solution to me until I discovered stress is more often internal than external. The stress comes from how I react to external factors in my life. And my reaction changes those external forces very little because I’m looking in the wrong direction.

Here are some sources of stress.

  1. The belief that I have to be control otherwise things won’t happen.
  2. I don’t trust people to whom I delegate tasks to do things the way I think they need to be done.
  3. When I get into discussions that turn to arguments because the other person and I aren’t interested in explanations. We’re more interested in proving one of us has to be right—and it’s not the other person.
  4. When I refuse to stop and rest or catch my breath. Rather, I push myself harder.
  5. When I worry more about results than obedience.
  6. When I bottle my worries and concerns and doubts inside me. And push the cork in tighter with each new frustration, overlooking the fact that the worries and doubts are breeding and multiplying. It’s like shaking a can of soda. It’s not going to be pretty when it opens.

The biggest source of stress is when I forget who my Helper is. Actually, it’s more than forgetting. It’s making a decision to ignore the fact I have all the help I need.

I see the problem as bigger than Him. I reject the idea that He has put other people in my life to help me.

And God is only a prayer away. One of my goals in 2018 is to increase my awareness of this, to invite His involvement before I even start a project. Even projects as mundane as grocery shopping. Or as huge as what are the next steps in my writing career.

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