Stress… how often do we hear that word? Seems like I hear it more and more, It is the go to word or explanation when things go wrong, As a CEO of a company that has over 50 employees I hear this word in many of my interactions on a daily basis. A few months ago I began to ask people what they meant when they used the term ” I am stressed”, ” I was just stressed out”, etc…
What I found was something that has definitively changed how I relate to people that say they are stressed. It has also changed my life in how I confront the stress’s I find within myself.
In all of the answers I received to my question about the definition of stress there were 2 common threads . One thread was the absence of hope. For every degree that hope decreased stress increased. The second was the presence of fear. Stress and fear are intricately connected. As hope disappears, stress increases, as stress increases fear also increases directly related to the amount of stress. Fear and stress will feed off of each other.
Consider this, You are talking a walk in the woods along a deep ravine, looking over to the other side of the ravine you spot a rather large bear. Knowing that the ravine is between you and the bear you have great hope that the bear will not be able to jeopardize your safety. High hope, low stress and low fear. As you turn to continue walking down the path you see about 100 ft down the path yet another bear. There is no barrier between you and the bear, within a split second you imagine the absolute worst things this bear may do to you. Your hope disappears just as quickly and is immediately replaced with high levels of fear and stress.
This thought process can be overlaid on countless situations in our lives. Your employer gives you a project and asks that you complete it within 30 days. Your hope is high in the confidence that you will have it done. Stress and fear are low. 7 days before the project is due and you have yet to begin, your hope collapses that you will meet the deadline and is replaced with stress and fed by the fear of what will happen. You mind has no problem conjuring up countless painful outcomes to this situation.
I am not suggesting that we can live stress free lives, live is difficult and unexpected things occur. I get that, but I am confident that if we understand where our stress is coming from that we will be able to quell the power it seeks to exert over us. My question to you today is where is your hope? What is your hope built on?
There is an old hymn I remember singing as a child. It has taken almost 40 years to understand the truth of it.
- My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
- On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
I encourage you to look at what you place your hope in. If you find yourself continually living in a perpetual state of stress and fear know that there is hope. Jeremiah 29:11 says For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.