Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2010
Scripture: Genesis 3:8-10; Psalm 118:6; Proverb 17:22; Matthew 6:27-34; Hebrews 13:6; 1 John 4:18.
Stress. It’s something we all feel at times: the final exam…the bills to be paid…the baby crying…the boss yelling…the roof leaking…and the car quitting. These things are a part of everyday life. Stressful events happen, but it’s how we handle them that matters.
When faced with chronic stress, we begin to notice not only emotional but physical symptoms. At first, stress manifests itself in milder symptoms such as headaches or an increased vulnerability to colds. However, the more exposure to stress along with an inability to handle it properly, can lead to more serious conditions:1
- hair loss
- heart disease
- obsessive-compulsive or anxiety disorder
- sexual dysfunction
- tooth and gum disease
- and possibly certain cancers
It’s been estimated that as many as 90% of doctor’s visits are for symptoms that are at least partially stress related.
On the other hand, having a happy attitude can do wonders for our bodies. In an interview on happiness, Psychiatrist Dr. Donald Rosen explains: “We’ve known for a long time that stress has adverse effects on an adult. People with highly stressed lives have increased incidences of heart disease, stroke, chronic illness, autoimmune illnesses and cancer. What's exciting is that having a positive emotional tone does more than mitigate the negative effects of stress. We know that they resist infections better and that when they do get sick they get less sick.”2 He suggests that happiness is “more of a way of being than a way of feeling at any one moment….”
Dr. Rosen also shared facts of a Detroit study of nuns that began back in the 1930’s. Researchers read the nun’s diaries, looking for references to positive words and the number of different types of positive words. The result? Those nuns who had the most references to positive feelings and words lived nine years longer than nuns who recorded more negative thoughts!
So how does one replace stress with a happiness that brings peace? It’s a process. It requires looking at the balance of your life, eating healthfully, getting adequate sleep, exercise, a hobby, spending time with family and friends, and giving back in some way. But this week’s memory text holds the most important key: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
So peace—perfect peace—comes when our minds remain, linger, and wait, on Jesus. It’s an act of surrender; it’s a deliberate choice we make because we trust Him. We trust that He can handle any problem and every heartache. We keep our minds on Him by spending time talking with Him, reading texts of assurance in the Bible, and fellowshipping with happy and positive Christians.
Do what you can to improve your lifestyle and then “stay” and “trust.” The benefits will do wonders for your health!