This post is about stress, so I shall break it up into segments and keep it short so you don't get stressed out reading it. I hope this first segment will help someone.
Things that we may not have planned, both good and bad, happen to us, and around us. These may be events that affect our health, our relationships, our life pursuits or our careers. The shock and impact of some of them can leave us tense, paralysed or confused. We are confronted with a demand to deal with situations we did not expect, situations about which we may not be able to do anything at all. Your husband or wife strays. A child is arrested. The utility bill is too big for your paycheck this month. The baby you never planned is on its way. What to do?
Sometimes the key is to do nothing. Most stress is caused by our failure to recognise the difference between the fact that something has happened and the question whether it is our duty to take any action in response to it. This failure often puts pressure on us to "do something", even in situations where it is not in our power to act. When we feel responsible but can't act, we react emotionally, and this erodes our ability to cope. In such situations, slow down and concentrate on coping. Such moments may well be moments for faith in God, and for leaning on the shoulders of others. The reason we are counseled to "bear one another's burdens" is clear: when it's your own burden, it may be too close for you to bear without falling apart. Find a dependable confidante and pour it out.
(In the next post, which should be up in a day or so, we shall deal with stressful situations caused by things we can do something about, e.g. the utility bill).