I really hate stress.

I realized this morning that I’m feeling a little stressed out. 

How did I come to this realization? My husband started rubbing my shoulders and they were tight as rocks. That (short) massage hurt!

Uh oh. 

I know my body well enough to know that super tight shoulders are a warning sign of stress. Frankly, it’s annoying. I hate it. It’s painful and uncomfortable. 

All of us experience stress sometimes, and all of us experience different symptoms of stress, sometimes physical symptoms. (See this article on WebMD for more.) Sure, there are strps that I can (and do) take to minimize stress and manage its impact. I exercise and stretch, use time management skills, use my support network, say no, etc etc etc. These things do help. 

But it feels never ending!

And let’s get real… it will be never ending. 

We live in a broken world. It is messy, busy, and overwhelming. My expectations of myself and others are sometimes unrealistic and pressured. 

Do I like this? Nope. I hate it. But I don’t let it define my life, my family, or my calling. 

God often intends very difficult life situations for good purposes. See Joseph’s story in Genesis 50; see the crucifixion of Jesus; see the church’s persecution in the newspaper today. 

Stress does not define my life satisfaction – God does! He is never surprised by the things that stress me out, and in fact, He is the one that has ordained these situations for me. And He intends it for good. 

Sure, I would like it if God’s version of “working things for good” meant my pleasant, comfortable, stress-free existence. Except, I would not like that, then I would be in control and not God. He does not work all things for comfort, rather, He works all things for good. 

I certainly don’t hate that. 

Written by Jessica Hayes
iHope Executive Director