“Count it all joy, my brothers,
when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know that the testing of your
faith produces steadfastness. And let
steadfastness have its full effect,
that you may be perfect and complete,
lacking in nothing.
I bought my daughter some hermit crabs. As we drive home, I’m seeing crab arms, legs, and pinchers all over the place. “This can’t be good”, my wife says. We find that this is a hermit crabs reaction to stress. They normally live for decades, but if they’re stressed, they can die quickly.
We can be like hermit crabs if we don’t deal with stress properly. We may not lose body parts, but we can lose physical and emotional functions due to mishandled stress. The Mayo Clinic and the American Psychological Association agree that stress is the number one killer in America.
Here’s some application:
1. Don’t medicate or find relief in another unhealthy habitual outlet. For example, “I’m stressed, so I need a cigarette.”
2. If you find yourself in a constant state of anxiety and always stressed, ask God to show you the root cause and invite him to inhabit that area, and ask him for a special encouragement in that area to get you through. E.g. Finances and bills keep you on the ragged edge all the time. Lack would be the “root”; God in your finances satisfies the need.
3. Understand that not all stress is bad for you. If handled properly, it can produce a tenacious steadfastness that makes you live out your identity in Christ in complete wholeness (James 1:2-4).
4. Philippians 4:6-7 is my favorite promise for diffusing stress: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.