Ministerial Musings: Stress, Stress, Stress
~ Natalie Goldberg
Stress. It seems to attack us from all corners: work, family life, even the nightly news with its constant reports of “what’s wrong with the world” seems to barrage us with fretfulness. Clearly that is not healthy, but how can we help it? It is everywhere, like a plague. In the car we face road rage. At the supermarket we wait in long lines, when we’d rather be somewhere else. And at the end of the day, when we long only to sit down with a hot cup of tea and a book, we remember that there are bills to pay, laundry to do, and soccer games to get ready for. Stress. It is everywhere!
But it is not enough to have friends say, “Stop worrying so much.” That doesn’t lessen the demands that surround us vying for our time and attention, our money and our energy.
I do not offer these words from some bully pulpit or podium of “I know better” knowledge. There are times that I am a wreck as well with all the worrying I do. (Trust me on this one.) But there is a bit of Scripture that I keep in my back pocket that ushers me through such times of travail.
“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34)
Jesus was talking to a group of people on a mountainside whose lives were full of stress. They were poor. They were worrying about what they were going to wear and where they would find their next meal. Yet, Jesus assured them that God would care for them, just as God cared for the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. God will also care for you — if you simply open yourself to the divine presence and let the Spirit of peace into your soul.
Again, I am preaching to myself here as much as I am speaking to anyone who cares to read these musings. There are times that I have to remind myself to stop, to pray, to put everything into perspective — to see my life the way that God sees me. That’s not easy. We judge ourselves constantly, but God doesn’t. God is love. And God is saying to me, “Relax. You’re ok. You’re loved no matter what. Today’s troubles are enough for today. Relax. I will help you carry them.”
I lay myself and my burdens before you:
Transform my brokenness through the balm of your Spirit.
Help me see my worries as limitless possibilities for change.
Remind me, at the core of my being, that whatever stressors
cloud my spirit, I am far more than what I do or say, because,
in the end, I am loved by you — a love that knows no end.
Thank you for the blessings you continually pour into my life
in the name of the Sovereign One, Christ Jesus.