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4.04.2007

Stress and Blessings


I love this time of year. Honestly, I do. Spring is my favorite season. I love seeing everything come alive again.
Right now, at my desk, I have a vase full of daisies and daffodils. I bought them for myself on Monday...because I was completely stressed out.

In the midst of this wonderful time of regrowth and renewal, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus (commonly called Easter). It's such a beautiful holiday, so profound and soul-stirring.
And because I have to plan and participate in the worship services this week, I haven't given it hardly a thought.
Stress!

I love being involved with worship. I truly do. But some of the more Administrative (as opposed to Creative) duties are just draining. Stress!

On Sunday, I admitted my stress to my 20somethings group, as I stood in front of them, leading worship, just me and my guitar. I didn't really want to admit it. I didn't really particularly want to say anything to them, because I didn't want to draw anymore attention to myself. Yet I found myself sharing about my struggles and stresses, because I believe that in order for worship--any worship, not just the singing kind--to be authentic, it had to be honest.

You know what happened? My group prayed for me. (I shouldn't call them "my" group. I just meant the group that I am part of.) Blessing!

The last song we sang was "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord," in which we sing that no matter what we're going through, we will praise God. It's a profound thought, one I have already admitted I struggle with.

So, I wonder: was the stress in my life a blessing in itself? Or was the response of the Body of Christ the blessing?

Afterward, I went out with a friend of mine; this very friendship is what I called "a God thing," because He brought it about so unexpectedly and suddenly. It was so nice just to have some quality girl time. Talking about relationships, eternity, struggles....and when I think of just over a year ago, when I hardly had anyone--outside of my family, and here in Pgh--to even begin to discuss such things with, I am amazed. Blessing!

BUT were the years of loneliness in themselves a blessing? Or was it a blessing to see God's hand bringing people back into my life?

I don't pretend to know the correlation between Stress and Blessings. Certainly it is Biblical to look at the struggles in our lives as something of value, because of what they will produce in us. But we don't want stress in our lives. We don't want struggles and hardships. I know I don't! And yet...and yet. If I could do it over again, would I want the easier road? If nothing else, dark times give us the opportunity to see God at work in our lives more clearly.

I don't have the answers. But it is something on my heart, something that keeps coming back. What do YOU think?

3 comments:

TR said...

It was good that you shared on Sunday night. I think it helped everyone relax before the Lord. It gave us freedom to worship Him and not the songs.

Timely post & pottery.

Carol said...

Authenticity is good. Stress is hard but I think it can point us to growing closer to the Lord. Because we weren't meant to do everything "on our own." We need to be resting in the Lord. He is "the blessing."

The questions you pose regarding whether the stress itself is a blessing or what comes after the stress, I think the answer is that it can be both, depending on our own reaction.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Blessings to you..

lynne said...

This time last year I was in New Mexico for work. I took a few days vacation afterward so that I could travel and think through some very tough issues in my life. I felt so much pressure and stress at that time that I thought I was going to seriously just lose my mind. I had been putting off some difficult decisions that I knew I had to make. I was stressed and scared, and felt totally alone. I drove off into the desert in my rental car, with a heavy heart. I wasn’t seeking answers (I already knew in my heart what they were), I was seeking His touch. And He showed me that He was there. A simple sign, repeated over and over again. As I drove some 700 miles through the desert in 4 days, I would be driving through the middle of no where and would come around a bend and see a cross that someone had placed on a hilltop. I lost count of all the crosses that I drove past in the strangest of places, all the way from Albuquerque to Taos and back taking the "scenic route." Cross after cross. At some point, I started taking pictures of them. God was telling me that He had already completed everything on that cross for me. I just had to be willing to submit it all...the tears, the struggles, the heartache...to Him. He already knew of it all anyway. I had been so afraid to give up control of my situation to Him, and hanging onto it only created more stress. Its been a hard thing for me to do, but He continues to bless me as I learn to turn more and more over to Him. I wouldn’t give up the struggles that He’s brought me through. For it is in the struggles that I’ve experienced the most spiritual growth. I am a dreamer, however. A hopeless romantic. I am always looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and the happy ending. On a regular basis, reality breaks in and puts a damper on these day dreams, but I’ve slowly learned to embrace these interruptions as character building opportunities. There is nothing too big for God to bring us through. And nothing too small or insignificant for Him to not notice. I cling to the belief that He knows the desires of my heart, and wants even greater for me than I can comprehend. If He sees the sparrows, surely He sees me. After all, He heard my prayers for a friend that I can relate to, and He sent me you!!