What I Have Learned (Again) About Stress in the Last Few Days

by Andy Wood on November 1, 2013

in Allocating Your Resources, Five LV Laws, Insight, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Abundance, Turning Points

inflated gloveThe stress you feel is proportional to the amount of control you have over a situation.

That sounds very intuitive, but there’s a spiritual contradiction to that.  More on that in a minute.

Here’s an example of how that idea works out in the natural.  A month ago I go to the doctor and he says my lipid levels are high.  I roll my eyes and say, “same old same old.” I don’t get stressed about it because there is something I can do to correct it.  Anyway, I’ve been hearing that for 30 years.

When he sends me for another test and I find out my heart calcium score is high, almost in the danger zone, again, the first thing I do is look for something I can do about it, because I have a steadfast belief that I can do something about it.  So I’m motivated, but not stressed.

Same thing goes, even when I’m told I’m a Type II diabetic because of my lifestyle choices in the past.  Well, crud.  But I can do something about that by making different choices (and by the way I am making different choices and seeing wonderful results).

But when the doctor says I have a narrowing in the arteries at the top of my heart and he “wants to take a look at it” with an angiogram, and oh, by the way, if there is a significant enough blockage he may put a stint in it, suddenly he has crossed the line of my control.

Hello stress.

Suddenly I’m in a situation where I have no control over what happens (assuming I decide to go along with the test, which I did).  And if I don’t have another solution to the issue of not having control, my stress will be off the chart.

Solutions in the World of the Natural

So where do I find relief for that level of stress?  Several earthly things come to mind, and I did them all. And yes they do help deal with the stress of the situation.

1. I am doing what I can do. Just because I couldn’t test my own arteries doesn’t mean I was helpless to do anything.  I’ve been exercising (finally) and eating well (finally). And it has helped on many levels.

2.  I chose to trust the doctor who took me across the control line.  That’s a matter of faith, and I can’t say enough about your belief system and the role it plays in leading you down a pathway of peace.

3.  I got informed.  I’m not one of those people who wants to look away when somebody is sticking something sharp into my veins.  Knowing things is important to me because it helps me see what I’m dealing with.  And if I can see it, I can face it.  So I dug into my favorite paranoia site (WebMD).  I read what to expect, how to respond, what was true, not true and unknown.  This deals with the area of the mind.

4.  I deliberately took time to calm down, pray, and work on my positive emotions.  Negative emotions like fear, anger, worry, anxiety, bitterness, and self-pity kill people.  Positive emotions like gratitude, love, and laughter (I have laughed an enormous amount and had the nurses in stitches, to coin a phrase) help people live longer. I decided to choose to live longer.

5.  I “surrendered” to the will of the people who say this needs to be done, as well as to the Lord.  I kept assuming all the fuss was for nothing and I was wrong. Rather than continuing to resist or live in denial, I took somebody’s word for it when they said, “You may have a more serious problem.”  There is freedom and peace in giving up your will to the will of another who has your best interest at heart.

6.  I connected with people with whom I could share my silly fears, questions, etc.  I can be a cave dweller, and I did my share of that. I took some time just to be alone and stew, pray, and the like.  But I also intentionally talked some things out with other people, including family members, friends, and even those who could read between the lines in what I wrote.

Supernatural Solutions

All of those factors helped, and I think God created us to be able to respond in those ways. If you had absolutely no spiritual solutions at all, no relationship with God or faith of any kind, I could point those six things to you, along with a good dose of “the dreadmill” for exercise, and your response to stress would improve.

But there is so, so much more available to you. There really is a “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

In the natural it’s true that stress is proportional to the amount of control I have over a situation.  But Jesus says, “Happy (blessed) are those who recognize their spiritual poverty, mourn, and are meek.”  You’ll find that in the first three verses of the Beatitudes.

Translation:  I am most happy when I am powerless, I feel the powerlessness of my situation, and I surrender myself completely to the control of God.

Is that a contradiction to what science is teaching us about stress and control?

Not really.  It’s leverage! 

It’s life on a higher plane.

When I admit my powerlessness to the Lord, I am empowered to apply Kingdom solutions to earthly stresses.

When I “feel my feelings” and mourn my losses, I am positioning myself to receive a personal level of comfort, encouragement, and engagement from a God who “gets me” because He created me.  Nothing in nuclear medicine can compete with that.

When I surrender completely to a God who holds me in the palm of His hand, who has intended everlasting life for me, and who tells me to trust Him, mainly through my obedience, I receive from Him the identity as a joint-heir of Jesus.

It’s one thing to have peace because of doctors and expertise and science. It’s another to have peace because the Lord of the Universe is in control.

And He is.

Even when I’m on the treadmill and eating turkey nuts and spinach.

On Earth as it Is in Heaven…

So the test went very well. No blockages. But more importantly, I was free to delight myself in the abundance of peace.

oxAnd since it took place on October 31, I took an inflated latex glove and when the nurses came to get me for the test I perched it between my legs and told them I’d dressed up like a cow for Halloween.

They laughed hysterically and had to tell everybody, including the cardiologist, about it.

Later I decided I was actually an ox.  Named Pulse.

Pulse the Ox.  Get it?

So what is it that has you stressed out?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha Orlando November 1, 2013 at 8:16 am

There is so much peace to encounter when we surrender to God’s will. So glad your health is improving and that you have shared here how humor and positive thinking sprinkled with faith can get us through the toughest moments.
Blessings, Andy!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..Give Me a Break!

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: