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Stressed Out — Why?
By Wayde I. Goodall
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:31, ESV1).
Panic, schedule, tension, lack of focus, and … not sleeping well, not resting, relationship challenges, and mistakes can all be a part of too much stress. Also, there is a very real enemy out there that does not like us, or anything we attempt to do for God’s kingdom.
Just a couple of reminders:
1. When the enemy attacks you: Remember that you have the prayers of Jesus backing you and helping you continue with the good thing God has called you to do. In the case of Peter, “Satan demanded to have [him].” The same is likely the case for you. Satan wanted to sift him like wheat … shake him up, push him around, and cause his emotional skin to fall apart. Satan didn’t get his way because Jesus cared about Peter very much and He does the same for you. He will protect you from the enemy of your soul. The enemy can only do so much (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).
2. You have a responsibility to care for yourself. Remember, you are the controller of your decisions, steps of faith, time, and the care for your body, emotions, and spirit. The wonderful prayers of Jesus for you are one thing … you are caring for “you” is another. Remember, if you do not take care of you … who will? If you do not start today … when will you begin?
Think about this:
• People sleep 2 1/2 fewer hours each night than people did 100 years ago. You are sleeping less than your grandparents did.
• The average workweek is now longer than it was in the 1960s.
• The average office worker has 36 hours of work piled on his or her desk, or on his or her computer. It takes 3 hours a week to just sort through it and find out what we are to do.
• We spend 8 months of our lives opening junk mail or e-mail, 2 years of our lives playing phone tag with people who are too busy, or who are not answering, or waiting for people who are trying to do too much and are late for meetings.
Dr. Richard Swenson, in his book Margins states: “The conditions of modern day living devour margin. If you are homeless we direct you to a shelter. If you are penniless we offer you food stamps. If you are breathless we connect you to oxygen. But if you are marginless we get one more thing to do. Marginless is not having time to finish the book you are reading on stress. Margin is having the time to read it twice. Marginless is part of our culture. Margin is counter-culture, having some space in your life. Marginless is the disease of our decade and margin is the cure.”
The Immediate Benefits of Rest —Margin and balance
Swenson illustrates these truths:
• Peace of mind.
• Better health.
• Stronger relationships.
• Usefulness in ministry.
The stress of ministry and leadership is significant. The strength God offers is without boundaries. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10,11, ESV).
Just some thoughts that I have needed to apply to my life (over the years).
Always know that I am …
Your Friend and Servant in Christ,
Wayde Goodall, D.Min
Dean, College of Ministry
The College of Ministry at NU is here to serve you. Let us know if we can be of any assistance to you in your leadership. You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Scripture quotations marked ESV are taken from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version, copyright © 2001, Wheaton: Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.