Did you know that you might be adding more stress to you life in the form of self-stress and not even realize it? What is the difference between self-stress and real stress? How do we know which one we are experiencing and why is it so important to know the difference?
Real stress come from the pressures of life that are unavoidable. We all experience this to one degree or another. It can be illness, family issues, career challenges, relationship difficulties, finances, death of loved ones, or any difficult life event that causes a heavy heart.
Self-stress on-the-other-hand is the natural default of the mind that adds unnecessary burden on top of our real stress. It may be replaying worries in our head, or fretting about something that hasn’t happened yet, perhaps ruminating on a hurtful situation, etc. The problem is that self-stress turns into real stress. When we experience them together it becomes multiplied stress. If not managed properly in time it will have an affect on our spiritual, emotional and physical health. Here are some questions to consider to see if we might fall into the category of self-stress:
- Do I find myself worrying quite a bit?
- Do I strive or fret?
- Do I have the tendency to agonize over a problem?
- Do I replay stressful events, or potential events over and over again in my mind?
- Do I struggle with anxiety?
A Christian heart specialist speaking on the subject of stress and its effects to the heart, teaches that the body’s chemical reaction in prolonged times of stress causes break-down. Not only to the heart, but to many functions of the body including the digestive and immune system. He even suggests that good stress has the same effect on the body over time. For instance, a woman planning a wedding may be very excited about the upcoming event, yet, the state of being under the continual pressure of putting together the event can wear on the body and emotions, and come wedding week she may find herself ill.
Not only does stress have an effect on the body, but through our emotions it can have a similar break-down on our spiritual health. In other words, the same way it wears on the various functions of the body it wears down our spiritual reserve. This is the reason we must separate out the stresses that we must carry, from the self-stress that we add upon it. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in a weakened spiritual condition. Self-stress can cause gradual withdrawal from spiritual battle, and spiritual desensitization (where we feel spiritually unmotivated). This is makes us susceptible to discouragement, depression, worry, anxiety and many other ailments.
We all will experience trials – we can’t go through life stress free. The Bible says, “…in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Yet, think about this… how can we carry the stress that God allows us to carry if we are not being a good steward of our health? And how can we be healthy physically enough to carry our burdens when we are causing emotional breakdown spiritually by self-stress.
If God has brought you to an awareness in this area, it is a good thing! It is often when we are facing simultaneous exhaustion–body and soul–that God allows the stilling of both to reorder our health. “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10). Crawl into His healing arms. Let Him renew your health both spiritually and physically. Pray and ask Him to show you how to be a good steward of both stress and health. Consider it seriously, with all gravity, any impressions and inspirations that He gives. Replace those moments of self-stress with the truth of His Word. This is a good and trustworthy prescription to be applied. God cares about your stress, your health and the condition of your soul – He, indeed, is the ultimate Physician, Counselor and Rescuer!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post! Between getting ready to graduate, being engaged and planning for a wedding, balancing work, friends, family and school and so much more just can really cause a lot of stress but reading what you had to say really helped me! I love how you said that by adding all this stress it allows satan to cause us to get even more down! I loved everything you had to say! Thank you!
I’m so glad you enjoyed this post Bethany! Congratulations, by the way, on your engagement and upcoming graduation!!