Stressed or Stretched?

I read an article by Jodi Cameron in Champion Life Magazine (out of Champions Centre in Washington) called Stressed: Using it without Losing it (on page 10). She talked about how she is overcoming her stress. She took some time out and got some counselling. She talked about how important taking control of your thoughts is. She’s got control of it, but it takes a lot of control. I’ve heard some people talk about stress, as if it was just a phase in their life, like it didn’t take anything to ‘get over.’ They talk coldly about it, as if they’re audience is also ‘over it,’ when, really, people reading articles about stress are stressed. Jodi didn’t do that. She shared how she felt/feels when stressed. She wondered how she got to that place. And she shares how she is conscious of not letting things become stressors.

The part that stuck with me from Jodi’s article was this line:

Some of us feel stressed when it’s actually a healthy process of being stretched.

I’ve been anxious for the past five months. The strange thing about anxiety and stress is that you can feel it in your body too. I can manage it most of the time, but not always. This line helped me put it a little bit more in perspective. Some of my stressors, not all, are because I am being stretched. That’s not easy. It shouldn’t be! As Jodi says, we shouldn’t be living a stress-free life. That’s not healthy either.

So for today, when I start to feel anxious I’ll ask myself if it’s because I’m being stretched. If it is, I’ll take a moment to be thankful for the opportunity to be stretched. I won’t let myself be paralyzed by anxiety. I’ll take control of my thoughts. I’m being stretched to get better. That’s why school is stressful, why exercise can make you sore, why relationships aren’t easy. When someone tells me their classes are easy, and they have so much free time – I’m not envious. This is stretching me, making me better – even when I don’t like it.

Proverbs 23:18

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.

Take a minute to read Jodi’s article. See what you take away from it.

Side Note: This is not to say that just doing this will remove stress. It helps. Each day may need new ways. There are many other things involved. I am conscious of my thoughts, and I read verses, like the two above, everyday. Many additional ways to help. Also, this is not to dwindle when stress is related to a mental illness.

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