The Race Set Before Us

Everything we read talks about eliminating it. Entire programs of therapy are for the purpose of stress relief. Here it is …blunt and brutal - they are wrong.

Firstly, do you really think we can remove all stress? There is no such thing as a stress-free life. Easy is not equivalent with good.

Secondly, your ability to “handle” stress often depends on your experience. Have you faced death? I bet menu planning is not a huge concern. Have you struggled with health problems? If someone doesn’t like your personality, you probably aren’t offended. The more stress you experience, the clearer your life perspective becomes and the more you are able to handle.

Physically, there are two applications.

To start with, your body REQUIRES physical stress. Bone strength is build by physically stressing the bones. Muscle strength is built by physically stressing the muscles. Are you tired? Usually, we need more activity. It often “feels” wrong. When I am tired (and I don’t just mean one day but a life pattern), I need exercise not rest. My body is bent toward sin across the board. If I let my “feels” direct me, I will routinely make wrong choices.

What the human body is able to achieve is amazing. Changing your thinking of your capability often changes your results. I am aware that I am just a middle-age mom, but I attempt to behave and prepare like an athlete.

My food, sleep, water intake, activity, exercise and supplement program are all geared for someone of better ability. As a result, I have made physical improvements in my health. Pushing your body into stress increases your bodies ability to handle stress. I have a physical job, my “feel” is that I should rest to be ready to complete it. Actually, I need to train to be stronger than my day. We met a pastor on vacation who was quite heavy. On door-to-door visitation he came to a house he had to skip because the steps to their house were many. He then lost 150 pounds and trained to complete what God asked of him.

These are my two favorite quotes on training:

A lot of people talk about over training. You got to train first before you over train.

In the military, we always say we don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” - David Goggins.

Secondly, if you want to handle mental stress, you have to handle mental stress. A cyclist once said, “If you want to be better at climbing hills, climb more hills.” Now, let me very humbly say, as Phillipians 3:12 tell us, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." I find the following verses good to focus on during stress.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.Matthew 6:34
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.Jeremiah 29:11
I often sing to counteract my thoughts. "Believe Him" is a sweet one.

If God says you're loved, believe Him. When He say you're precious, believe Him. You can trust that He cares for you and knows what you're going through. He feels every burden you bear. He′ll be there whenever you need Him.

Believe Him!

So, why would you listen to even a whisper, stealing your joy. May I just remind you He′s already spoken? Won't you believe Him now?

It’s true that you will never remove stress but you can be better at navigating it. Small steps. Putting truth in God so He can remind you of it later. Correcting one thought at a time. Speaking in truth to yourself. Letting God correct and direct you through it. There are some hills that I climb that I cannot even glance at what steepness is before me, but I can focus on the next few feet. I stare at my front wheel. There are some trials that require us to just focus on doing the next thing, on God and that He cares…just keep going. So many times, I cannot SEE how it could EVER end well (can you just hear the drama in my voice 😂?) I can say that I have improved in this area, and I have NOT ARRIVED. 🙂

A sane person would never attempt a marathon without training. We are asked to run the race that is set before us.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.Hebrews 12:1
We can and should train for THIS race we are called to run because stress and challenge is part of the course. If you have no battle…are you engaged in the race? There is no fight on the sidelines, train because you will be called upon to run, if you are His.


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