Page 18 - EMCAPP-Journal No. 14
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are  instead  now  going  to  be  filled  with  pain,   ded—or  indeed  only  one.  Mary  has  chosen
             sorrow, and grief. One perspective to consider    what  is  better,  and  it  will  not  be  taken  away
             is that the relational and work areas of life will   from her” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV). It is apparent
             not only be painful in themselves, but they will   that Martha had become stressed over the pre-
             be out of balance and this will also produce pain   parations, an experience many people can have
             and stress. A concrete way of understanding the   when entertaining guests. This is an example of
             original meaning of stress can be helpful: pres-  a stress brought on by prioritizing events over
             sure  applied  against  an  object  that  will  even-  persons  and  putting  too  much  focus  on  the
             tually weaken or fracture the object. In human    wrong thing. If I were to set down with Martha
             terms, this is felt as exhaustion or pain. When   in  my  psychotherapy  office,  I  might  explore
             the stress of a life lived out of balance presses   with Martha the mindset she had while fussing
             on the human psyche and on human relation-        over the preparations for her company. Was she
             ships, the result can be what once was called a   perfectionistic and driven to appear adequate?
             “break-down” and in the case of relationships,    Was she rule-conscious and bound by narrow
             perhaps  a  break-up.  These  tragic  experiences   confines of how to entertain? Was she playing
             are too common and give testimony to the dis-     out themes from her childhood where she was
             order and chaos in our lives.                     an oldest child and expected to be the respon-
             The imbalanced and sinful condition of huma-      sible one? Did she wrestle with sibling rivalry
             nity is also described in Romans 1:25. In this    and  her  need  was  to  look  superior?  Was  she
             passage, Paul refered to the human condition of   simply  following  the  expected  custom  of  the
             trading truth for lies, for worshipping created   day for serving a guest? No matter what the psy-
             things rather than the creator. The result is that   chological explanation, Jesus’s words were clear.
             God gave humanity over to its desire. The out-    Martha had her priorities backwards. Mary had
             come  is  found  in  Romans  1:26-32.  The  stress   chosen to spend time with her guest, to priori-
             brought on by such experiences is clear.          tize the person over appearance and service. In
             Theologically, some of the stress humanity ex-    this biblical example of stress, we can learn that
             perience in life comes from living life our own   stress can occur when our priorities are not in a
             way. In our lack of trust in God, we live inde-   healthy order, even for those who have a relati-
             pendent of God and his design. We seek peace      onship with Jesus.
             but largely can’t find it. However, as believers,
             we know that peace comes from a trusting re-      Body Care and Sabbath as Ways to Destress
             lationship with Jesus. Notice what Jesus said in     Health-care  professionals  are  often  expected
             John 14:27. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I   to help people learn to handle their stressors in
             give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.   healthy ways. This expectation exists although
             Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be   there is often little or no formal training to help
             afraid” (NIV). The peace that Jesus gives cannot   professionals  learn  how  to  help  others  mana-
             be found in the things of the world or the hu-    ge  stress.  Most  mental  health  professionals,
             man relationships we try to form. Our spiritual   at some point in therapy, will assist clients to
             identity is designed to be in Christ and when we   handle stress in healthier ways.
             have that priority straight, we are on a plane to   Helping  people  manage  their  stress  is  an  im-
             handle the many stressors of life in a way that   portant task for a therapist. Furthermore, from
             leads to confidence and trust that God will walk   a  holistic  and  Christian  perspective,  it  is  im-
             with us through the stressors and difficulties of   portant to note that because stress can impact
             our lives (Ps. 23:4ff.).                          physical  health,  helping  people  manage  stress
                                                               is  consistent  with  care  and  nurturance  of  the
             Believers,  too,  can  confuse  priorities.  Jesus   temple of the Holy Spirit, the human body (1
             confronted Martha for prioritizing things over    Cor. 6:19-20). Though the context of this verse
             persons  in  Luke  10:38-42.  “Martha,  Martha,”   is not about stress, a general application is that
             the Lord answered, “you are worried and up-       we are to honor God with our bodies (v. 20).
             set about many things, but few things are nee-    God came to redeem embodied souls and the

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