Friday, July 11, 2008

Why So Much Stress?

Why do I feel the need to carry so much stress? What am I hiding from or covering up? What hole in my life am I trying to fill with stress?

Those are tough questions. But if you don’t deal with them, none of my stress-busting tips are going to do you any good—not for long, anyway. If you want to be free from stress, you have to learn to say no.

You have to pick the events and "yeses" that will yield the greatest reward in your life. Here’s an idea: next time you know your response should be no, don’t leave room for compromise.

When your stressed-out friend asks you to co-chair the graduation committee, don’t just say, “Let me think about it.” Instead say, “Right now, that’s impossible.” And shake your head from side to side as you say it.

Studies show that when you do that, the person you addressed is much more likely to hear no.

Even Jesus had to say no to those around him when it was time to be still and listen for the voice of God. Remember what happened after Jesus fed the five thousand? The people were so impressed that they were ready to make him their earthly king—by force if necessary. No doubt it was flattering to be asked. I know I would be very tempted to give in if somebody wanted to make me their king! But that wasn’t what Jesus was there to do. So instead of going along, saying yes, taking on one more thing, he “withdrew again to a mountain by himself” (John 6:15 NIV).

When the high-pitched whine of our earthly stress jams every signal around us, we not only lose perspective, we lose an opportunity to hear from our heart, from our loved ones and from God himself. Before you say your next “Yes!”, ask yourself if you are prepared to add the accompanying stress to your life.

I look at it this way: If the vessel is already full, where are you going to put that golden opportunity for success or for ministry when it finally arrives? You hear it every morning at the coffee shop: “Would you like room for cream?” Yeah, this time I would. Thanks.

[John Tesh]

No comments: