What a Waste!
For reading & meditation – Philippians 4:13
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (v. 6)
We continue meditating on the principles we can use when our lives are threatened by stress: Recognize the symptoms of stress. No alarm bells ring in our homes or offices when we are suffering undue stress, but there are adequate warning signs. People under stress generally become irritable and overreact to relatively trivial frustrations. They show a change in their sleep patterns, and become increasingly tired and restless. They derive less pleasure from life, experience no joy while praying or reading the Bible, laugh less, and become plagued with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. They sometimes develop psychosomatic complaints such as tension headaches, indigestion and other things. Some people have what is known as “target organs” – physical organs that are the first to suffer when they are under stress. Harold Wilson confessed that whenever he had to fire a colleague, he suffered acute stomach pains. Henry Ford suffered cramps in his stomach whenever he had to make an important business decision. Trotsky, when under pressure, used to develop bouts of high temperature, and frequently had to spend time in the Crimea recuperating. One businessman I know always has a glass of milk on his desk from which he takes frequent sips in order to calm his nagging peptic ulcer. Are you able to recognize your own particular patterns of stress? You owe it to God and yourself to find out. The waste that goes on in Christian circles through believers channeling their energies into coping with stress, rather than into extending the kingdom of God, is appalling.
Prayer: O God, sharpen my ability to recognize the things I do that contribute to stress in my life, so that all my energies can be channeled into spiritual activity, not self-activity. For Jesus’ sake. Amen
For Further Study
1. What was the key to Paul’s trust under stress?
2. List six reasons Jesus gave for not worrying about tomorrow.