Page 19 - EMCAPP-Journal No. 14
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resurrection of the body reminds us of the im-     work is to be on God, not our accomplishments.
            portance of bodies. Stress management in this      Accepting our limitations may allow us to set
            sense  is  truly  a  spiritual  endeavor.  Stress  ma-  boundaries around our lives that provides the
            nagement is not engaged just to relieve feeling    body and soul the relief needed to rejuvenate.
            of pressure. Stress management is taking care of   Living life at full speed may be admirable from
            ourselves because it honors God.                   a worldly or production standpoint, but in the
                                                               end, it leads to burnout. It also speaks to a life
            A closer look at the scripture reveals Jesus’s per-  that may be filled with pride in what one can
            spective.  Consider  Mark  6:31-32,  “Then,  be-   accomplish or alternatively, it could represent a
            cause so many people were coming and going         lack of trust in God. Letting go of our over-busy
            that they did not even have a chance to eat, he    agenda allows us to admit to God that he is in
            said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to       control and I am not. How much stress could be
            a quiet place and get some rest. So they went      reduced from our lives if we let go of co-depen-
            away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place”   dent behavioral patterns and trusted God? Can
            (NIV). I have emphasized the quiet and solita-     we take a day each week and rest in the biblical
            ry place because one of the antidotes to stress    sense? Some of us may struggle with this in our
            and busyness is to retreat from it. Jesus prescri-  busy, modern culture, but I am convinced that
            bed this for his disciples and the application is   God’s plan for rest was truly designed to benefit
            clear for our lives too. Even from the beginning,   our body, soul, and spirit.
            God instructed humanity to have a day of rest.
            Though there are several implications to a day     Conclusion
            of rest, at least one of them is that we need to re-  The  human  person  was  designed  as  a  body-
            treat from our work. We need boundaries, even      soul-spirit to be in relationship with God. The
            around our schedules and work. The health of       fall led to spiritual death as well as a life that
            our  body,  soul,  and  spirit  depends  on  taking   quickly gets out of balance. In a fallen world,
            a break from our work. Spiritually, it reminds     we will experience stress and tribulation. The
            us to be dependent on God, not ourselves. We       experience of stress exacerbates our fallenness
            quickly become spiritually unbalanced when we      by its negative impact on our physical, mental,
            depend more on ourselves and what we believe       and spiritual life. Jesus reminds us: “I have told
            we can accomplish than the God who gives us        you these things, so that in me you may have
            life and our work meaning.                         peace. In this world you will have trouble. But
                                                               take heart! I have overcome the world” (John
            A couple years ago, I experienced an especial-     16:33, NIV). Stress will be part of life. Still, we
            ly challenging time. I had let life and work get   can have peace.
            out  of  balance.  When  the  academic  year  was
            over, I engaged in a personal and private spiri-   Though many stressors are out of our control,
            tual retreat to the mountains. There, in a quiet   some are within our ability to change or be re-
            place, away from the distractions, I was able to   duced. Whether we can control the stressors or
            let go of the burdens I had let take over my life.   not, it is imperative that we learn to manage our
            I rested from my work, and I reconnected with      stress as it ultimately allows us to care for our
            God. Retreats can be seen as a weakness. But       bodies which are temples of the Holy Spirit (1
            retreats can be ways to regroup in order to fight   Cor. 6:19-20). Changing our lifestyle can be a
            another day. This retreat to a quiet place allo-   way of honoring God. We can show more de-
            wed me to rejuvenate spiritually, psychological-   pendency on him and less on ourselves, which
            ly, and physically. Spiritually guided retreats are   is  often  rooted  in  psychologically  misguided
            excellent ways to deal with stress.                attempts to deal with life, ourselves, or others.
            A sabbath was designed by God to remind us         There are many psychological tools available to
            of our dependency on him as well as for body       help deal with stress, but a biblically informed
            and soul rest (Exod. 20:8-11). It is to be a holy   psychology  will  also  help  us  see  our  circum-
            day and set apart for the Lord. Cessation from     stances through the eyes of Christ who wants to
            our work reminds us that our focus in life and     mature us in Godliness and holiness.

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