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of stress can be seen to produce Godly bene-      of stress was not present. Either way, stress was
             fit (Heb. 12: 10-11). Even in the secular litera-  sure to follow. In the moment that their “eyes
             ture,  there  is  evidence  that  stress  and  trauma   were opened” (Gen. 3:7), they felt the change
             can  have  benefits  for  people  (Park,  Cohen,  &   and  certainly  the  stress  of  the  new  awareness
             Murch, 1996). Though like a reframe, the diffe-   of guilt and shame was experienced. From that
             rence is that trust in God allows the stressor to   point forward, the weight of decision making
             have spiritual benefit. The person without the    would be with humankind. It would mean that
             spirit cannot envision this.                      decisions could have bad consequences and the
             Not all stressors are equally stressful or dama-  person making the decision would be respon-
             ging  and  being  stressed  repeatedly  in  small   sible. There is often heavy weight – stress – that
             ways may be as damaging as more catastrophic      is  experienced  with  this  reality.  Furthermore,
             events.  Ongoing  daily  hassles  can  impact  our   the stress of guilt and shame that accompanies
             health as negatively as large catastrophic stres-  a sinful choice would become a reality. In a lost
             sors and, in some ways, may even be worse as      condition,  man’s  dead  spirit  disconnects  him
             they wear down the physical and psychological     from God. Yet, because of the innate spiritual
             defenses that ward off illness. Ongoing stress we   nature of the human creature, it is possible to
             live with because of lifestyles, either within or   ask  questions  about  meaning.  Unfortunately,
             out of our control can wear on us. This was the   meaning  is  often  sought  in  things  other  than
             point Selye (1976) and Maté (2003) made. We       God. The search for meaning does not necessa-
             must consider the ways we drive ourselves and     rily lead to finding meaning. Frankl (1984/1946)
             instead pursue lifestyles that incorporate balan-  referred to this as existential frustration. Jang’s
             ce and rest.                                      research  (2016)  confirmed  Frankl’s  ideas.  His
                                                               data  showed  that  it  is  possible  that  a  search
             Theologically, the problem of stress may be tra-  for  meaning  can  be  related  to  distress,  but  if
             ced to the original garden. The man and wo-       meaning is found, as is often the case in reli-
             man were given a choice in the garden. What       gious experiences, the distress is dispelled. Fin-
             is not known is whether in their pre-fall nature   ding meaning in life reduces distress. However,
             they experienced the stress of choice. From an    if a person engages in a religious experience but
             existential point of view, our own freedom can    fails to find meaning in it, then distress or an-
             bring anxiety and stress. Upon grasping the re-   xiety will likely not decrease. Jang’s (2016) work
             sponsibility persons have with freedom, the fear   provides a steppingstone to further explore exi-
             of failure or the anxiety over potential outcomes   stential meaning and its relationship to distress.
             of a choice can lead to feeling stressed. It is not
             unusual to listen to my students or clients la-   From the biblical narrative of the fall, a coup-
             ment over having to decide between different      le things stand out. First, the stress of the guilt
             jobs, to marry a person or not, to break up or    led  to  covering  and  hiding.  The  couple  cove-
             not, or even to make a move across the country    red their nakedness and they hid from God. In
             for a new job. In these cases, personal intentio-  this example, the couple did what humans have
             nal sin is not the problem. In each of these ca-  been doing since that monumental time in hi-
             ses, the angst of the responsibility for the choice   story – hide. Hiding and covering are ways to
             is experienced. Change creates the state of the   deal with stress and are a cause of stress. Of-
             unknown. Change is scary. Knowing that one is     ten the ways we avoid issues in our lives only
             responsible for their choices and the outcome of   leads to more stress. Avoidance and withdrawal
             the choices is a heavy burden for some people.    are only short-term solutions but generally can
             In the garden, the freedom to choose was given    lead to the experience of more stress.
             to the man and woman. It is interesting to consi-  In Genesis 3:17-19, God spoke to the man and
             der if the pre-fall couple experienced stress over   told him he would be engaged in painful toil
             the choice. The scripture is quiet on this topic.   (Gen. 3:17). Pain will also accompany the birth
             It is entirely speculative that Eve may have felt   of children (Gen. 3:16). The areas of life desi-
             stress. Perhaps in her gullibility, the experience   gned  to  be  blessings,  relationships  and  work,

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