Written by Dr. Mark
Really all stress is from within, its how we react to a stressor that is put in our way. Do we use the stress response to perform better, and overcome the stressor in front of you, or do we become paralyzed and accomplish nothing?
When I was young I always had this thought, that if I made fun of someone for something, God would then make me that way, for example making fun of the chubby kid at school, hmm…. Anyway the other night we were with some friends and one of the guys was saying he has a hard time showing his wife grace when she gets in a mood, or because so stressed she becomes paralyzed. He said he’s trying to work on being more understanding, but he was raised, that if there’s work to still be done, you get over it and push through. The world keeps spinning even if your not feeling so hot and I somewhat agreed with his sentiment, and would sometimes have those feelings for my wife Amanda, when she was in a funk. Fast forward 2 days and I wake up feeling just awful. I still got up, got myself dressed, got the kids off to school and myself to work. But I was pretty useless at work and there was no “pushing through it.” So I went home after being there only a few hours and just laid in bed. Which I hated doing this, because I know when I’m out of commission, it puts more work on everyone else on my team.
Switch gears for a second. My daughter, Ayva is on a soccer team and I love how the coach has been training teamwork into these girls. For example, the other night at practice one of the girls said she had to go to the bathroom, so the coach asked if anyone else needed to. A couple girls raised their hands. So the coach said everyone not going to the bathroom had to hold a plank while the other girls ran to the bathroom. I asked Ayva after practice why she thought the coach did this, great teaching moment coming up right? She said “so we don’t have to go to the bathroom during practice.” Which I told her, you’re right, but there’s a bigger lesson to get from it. So I talked to her about what it means to be on a team, and how if one person falls behind or isn’t prepared it affects the whole team, because they fail and succeed together, so you want to have responsibility not just for you, but for the whole team.
Great lesson, but later I realized I completely missed another part of this, the part the really affects adults more than kids. I emphasized to not be the girl that makes the team need to hold a plank, but didn’t say anything about how you should react if you are one of the girls holding the plank. I doubt the girls feel this beyond maybe a joking tease, but how do we as adults respond when we come home to our spouse that’s been home all day and the house is a mess and they are completely overwhelmed, or when that co-worker bails or calls in because they are sick, or if that sick person in bed all day is your spouse, do you resent them. (Amanda has been great while I’ve been home sick by the way.) Or when you are in traffic and someone makes an honest mistake, to you become enraged and literally hate that person that you don’t even know? Or that person that wronged us, years ago, and probably deserves our anger, but you haven’t seen them in years. They are oblivious to the amount of anger you foster for them, its only harming you and those around you.
This is where I’m going with all this. Grace, Forgiveness, and Understanding. The opposite, bitterness, resentment, and anger are killing you from the inside. The Bible tells us to show grace and forgiveness to others, even the undeserving, but if that’s not reason enough for you just think about it. When we make a mistake, there’s nothing that feels better than being forgiven. So why is it so hard to extend that to others, especially when you come to realize the bitterness you’re holding on to is hurting you, killing you more than it ever will affect that other person. It gets in the way of your ability to have joy in your life, it affects your relationships with the people closest to you. It prevents you from serving others the way you want to. It is causing you Stress, unnecessary stress, which is killing you.
Stress is a big deal, thus we do a whole workshop in the 60-Day Turnaround on it. I highly recommend it.
Thanks. -Dr. Mark