Real stress comes from the pressures of life that are unavoidable we all experience to one degree or another that produces strain. Things like 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 when the mind adds additional burden to a stress already in progress. Self-stress turns into real stress, a sort of double stress dose. When you experience them together it becomes stress upon stress. Real life stress is difficult enough to bear without adding more pressure on top of its already cumbersome weight. If not managed properly in time it can have an affect on your spiritual, emotional and physical health. Here are some questions to consider to see if you 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 about the body's chemical reaction in prolonged times of stress. A break-down that naturally occurs 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 nuptials, 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 your emotions it can have a similar break-down on your spiritual health. In other words, the same way it wears on the various functions of the body it wears down your spiritual reserve. This is the reason separating out the stresses (or crosses) that you are called to carry from the self-stress is so important. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a weakened spiritual condition. Self-stress can causes gradual withdrawal from spiritual battle, and spiritual desensitization (where you feel spiritually unmotivated). This is a prime time for Satan add on doubt, discouragement, depression, worry, anxiety and many other stress inducing thoughts to the mind.
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 recognize this might be happening in your life it's a good thing! This way He can turn things around! It is often when we are facing simultaneous exhaustion -body and soul- that God allows the stilling of both to reorder our health. He alone can restore the spiritual as well as the physical state of our being. If you are at this place to any degree here is a faithful word- “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, writing down 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!
(Try our devotion meditation designed to carry you away from your stress and draw you into the arms of Jesus... click here)
The question came in:
Why do I always feel stressed? It doesn't seem to matter if things are good or bad I'm always feeling stressed.
You may be adding more stress to you life in the form of self-stress and not even realize it? It's important to know the difference between self-stress and real stress so you can know which one you are experiencing and why?
Using Philippians 4:8 as her starting point, Paula Masters helps women navigate beyond clouds of spiritual darkness into the brilliant light of truth, peace, and healthy thinking.