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Monday, February 10, 2014

Stress Fracture

It could make you feel better, or worse. The list of "The Most Stressful Jobs for 2014" came out recently. It was noted that “stress levels seem to be on the decline from a year ago.”

As one might suspect, military people and rescuers (firefighters) are right there at the top of the list. Military personnel in combat top the list. Military generals are next. The price of freedom often brings the wages of stress on service men and women and their families. Thank God for their willingness to shoulder this burden.

Having served in the military, I was spared any combat role. My stress at the end of my four years of service was preparing an evening sportscast on American Forces Radio and Television Services in Iceland. Whew. Imagine THAT stress! But I digress.

Airline pilots were in fourth place. Then “event coordinators.” (Who knew that planning a bar mitzvah could kill you?) Public relations execs and senior corporate players are rated right up there. Newspaper reporters, police officers, and taxi drivers round out the top ten. No comment.

A lot of the job stress comes with life risk—either to you or others. But another major factor was facing deadlines. That’s the kind that most people endure each day. It was not stated, but I am sure that stress also comes from relational issues with people who hold some aspect of your life in their hands. That list can be lengthy.

There is no need to spend time here identifying the health issues related to stress. In his book Margin, Dr. Richard Swenson argues that a majority of our health problems are connected in some fashion to stress. His prescriptions fall into categories of time, money, emotional well being, and our physical state. He’s very wise in showing how most people live so near the edge in these areas that it doesn’t take much to break them. If you haven’t read any of his materials, seek them out.

Some folks face another kind of job related stress. Like…NO job! Unemployment or underemployment can cause great burdens on the soul and with relationships. I’m currently a “tweener”—between my last job and what I hope is my next assignment. So far, my stress level is pretty low.

Here is what I know for a fact: God is aware of every need I have. He is mindful of my circumstances. He is capable of dealing with any obstacle. Like…any.

The Psalms are replete with words of encouragement from a guy who lived with a huge amount of stress: King David. His life seemed to be a stress magnet! And he offers this great counsel through a question: “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)

I admit that mere mortals can appear to have control over our circumstances. But if a man who frequently faced LIFE ENDING situations can grasp the truth that God IS in control…then we should learn this message. And abide in its truth.

Of course, you MIGHT want to consider taking up one of the LEAST stressful jobs. Like a hair stylist. Or a librarian. Or an audiologist. I “hear” no complaints from them.

Meanwhile, take a deep breath.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

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