Learn About The Impact of Stress On Family
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
What is easier to remember–the last time you had an afternoon of leisure when nothing was really planned, or the last time you reached for the aspirin because you had a headache? Chances are about 10 to 1, you remember reaching for the aspirin. That tension-headache which made you snarl at the kids and grouch at your wife wasn’t necessarily organic. It doesn’t mean you have a brain-tumor or need to see a neurologist. Your headache, however, was a red flag. It signaled stress as your nervous system screamed, “Help! I’m overloaded. I just can’t handle this.”
The problem is STRESS, which in simple terms is physical and emotional weariness caused by overloading your system with the wear and care of life.
Stress is what you feel when your teen-age daughter comes in and announces, “We’re going to elope!” Stress is what you feel when there is too much month at the end of your money. Stress is what you feel when you miss an airplane flight and the next plane arrives after the wedding. Stress is what you experience when you look up and see a blinking red or blue light in your rear-view mirror. Stress is what you feel when you have an appointment and there is no gas in the car because your teen-age son used it the night before. Stress is what you feel when you are in the military and you get passed over for promotion. Stress is what you feel when your rich aunt dies and you get cut out of the will. Stress is what you feel when you are a turkey and it’s the week before Thanksgiving.
Everybody knows what it is today, whether he lives in Tuguegarao or Tokyo. The business man trying to make a profit in a down market; the salesman striving to reach his quota; the housewife who holds down a job, is chauffeur to her kids and tries to be a wife and mother. The single parent is no stranger to stress as he or she tries to be both mother and father, earn a living, raise the kids and keep her or his own sanity. College students know what stress is, facing competitive exams.
To make it personal, finish this sentence. Stress is what I feel when…. That brings it home. How would you finish the sentence? “Stress is what I feel when….” No age group is immune from the problem today, whether it is children on a playground or seniors who struggle with insufficient income or the loss of a mate.
I’d like to make something clear as I begin the first of a series of commentaries on stress and your family: All stress is not bad. Stress causes the tension which holds the suspension bridge over the raging waters. Stress on the strings of the violin allows the beautiful melody to come from the fingers of the master as the bow glides across the strings. Stress causes the drums to resonate to the beat of the drummer. But, of course, too much stress causes the bridge to collapse and the strings of the violin to snap and the drumhead to burst.
Most people, however, operate better and are far more productive with some stress. The problem is not stress, but too much stress. Many people are competitive by nature, and they are going to go for it. They are like the goalie in the world cup who knows that he’s going to be under tremendous stress; the entire game may depend on his stopping the ball from going through the net, but his mother or the Apostle Paul couldn’t keep him from heading out on that field. He’s going to go for it, and so are you.
In the Upper Room told the disciples, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Resource reading: John 16:1-15.