Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com
Have you experienced stress in your life? Everyone does – even the apostle Paul. Let’s look at its nature.
Stress is the process by which we perceive and respond to events that we interpret as threatening to our well being.
Source of Stress
Stress comes from traumas that hit like a truck: war, flood, earthquakes, rape, fires, and torture. Paul described this as, “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep” (2 Corinthians 11:25). Pretty traumatic, don’t you think?
Another source includes major life changes: retirement, divorce, bankruptcy, job loss, illness, and the loss of a spouse or home.
Third, there is the merciless buildup of everyday hassles. Paul wrote, “Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28). Paul knew stress.
How Stress Works
Stress starts with a perceived danger. You rake the information into your brain, sort it out, and interpret it.
Meanwhile, your body is flooded with stress chemicals that give you bursts of energy to respond to the hazard. Afterward, your body settles down to normal. Everything is ok.
Consequences of Constant stress
However, sometimes we can get dangerously overloaded. If you live under unrelenting threats, eventually your body and psyche breaks down. Your energy level dissipates. For example, people in a battle zone are in a constant state of hyper vigilance, never knowing when the next grenade, mortar, or sniper bullet is coming.
Maybe the environment is a constantly hostile workplace or violence in a home. There might be overwhelming money problems. You can never escape from the steady pounding of peril and the surge of stress chemicals.
Impact of Stress
The end result can be chilling. Your immune system weakens, opening the door to many ailments. The scary ones are hypertension and heart disease. Tension headaches, insomnia, depression, nervous breakdowns can become dogged companions. Relationships are damaged. Quality of life declines.
Another frightening impact is cancer! Wow! The other day I was in my doctor’s office. I picked up some literature on the table from the American Cancer Society entitled, “What Are the Risk Factors for Eye Cancer?
It read, “The only known risk factor for primary lymphoma of the eye is having a weakened immune system.” That grabbed my attention, because prolonged stress weakens the immune system!
I know. This talk of stress is creepy stuff. But, next month I will talk about how Paul managed this villain. Come back. We can learn from him.
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