A doctor told me this two years ago. I was in pain constantly - my whole body ached and my back, which was injured, h.u.r.t. I couldn’t think straight because of the pain, and I was having other symptoms, of which I will spare you the details. After collecting a running tests on all manner of bodily fluids, I was told that the stress I was under had triggered an autoimmune disease, but I was not actually diagnosed (probably sparing me great insurance woes in the future). I was told to rest more - at least eight hours a night, eat right, and eliminate the stress in my life.
Yeah, right. I’m a mom. The stresses of my life all have names, need lots of love, and look too cute asleep in their pajamas snuggled up with their Linus-blankies. And those sweet stresses cause more stress - they unknowingly reek havoc wherever they run, dropping toys and gold fish on the floor and then walking on them. They require feeding and that means cooking and that necessitates cleaning which takes time - and by the time the job is done, it’s time to start again.
At the time the not-diagnosis was made, I had been running a five-year marathon of being the main caregiver for a medically-fragile child, and it was topped off with a great sprint of grief. Some how I really don’t think that doctor would have approved of me having two more children. I did clean up my diet and quit routinely eating things that I’m allergic to. I still don’t sleep much because babies will do that to you.
I learned that “removing the stress” doesn’t necessarily mean “don’t be in a stressful situation.” It means that I must watch my attitude because life happens, but being stressed is a choice. The washer breaks, but I don’t have to lose my cool. Tires blow out, but I don’t have to give up my peace. My children can be running through the house like cheetahs, but I don’t have to be stressed about it. I can hand each thing over to my sweet Jesus, and He’ll give me peace and joy in each situation.
One question, though - if that’s all you have to do to remove stress, why is it so hard to do it?