Stress killer – what’s yours?

We have fun ways to escape stress.  The bar, or any reason to have a few with “friends” is clearly popular.   Food and TV – that’s a good standby or how about Food, TV and Wine.  A healthier version is to knock yourself out at the gym.

These are short-term escapes and some come with baggage.

Usually, escapes don’t kill stress.  They just move it out-of-the-way for a little bit.  Whatever is the cause will certainly materialize again.  It’s the people in your life;  your kids, your spouse, parent expectations, the boss that give your stress staying power.   We don’t want to let them down.  We don’t want to fail in their eyes.

It’s in times of extreme unbearable stress that we look for a higher power.  We want to be saved, we want hope of a future, we want redemption, we want forgiveness.

And, it is possible.  Stress is ultimately created through desire and attachment to the things in this world.  You DO Not have to become a cloistered monk – and even they are not immune.

Do your work the best you possibly can and at the same time practice detachment. Do not define yourself through your work – rather honor God with it.

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.  ~ Tao Te Ching 9

Who doesn’t want a life full of wealth, independence and joy.  We strive to achieve this and provide security and opportunity for our families.

The secret to killing stress is to learn to detach from these pursuits. Continue doing them; don’t let them define your value.  You are Loved regardless of your status, wealth, or independence; embracing this, believing it, kills stress and provides joy.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.anointest: Heb. makest fat
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Psalm 23

When you reach the point where you can fight no longer, there is no way out – stop and surrender your Self and your Desires to the Lord.

Do your work do your best and then step back.  It’s all you can do and you are Loved for it.

Help Anyway

The person on the corner is just trying to get money for booze or drugs.

The refugee family is in another land…

For I was hungry and you gave me no food,I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’

Then they will answer and say,

‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,and not minister to your needs?’

He will answer them, ‘

Amen, I say to you,what you did not do for one of these least ones,you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment,but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25: 41-46

It is natural to rationalize reasons to stick our routine and our comfort zone.

We here our leaders announce that the immigrant and refugees are not welcome unless we can be sure they are safe and won’t hurt the economy. We agree that the beggar on the street should seek out the mission or church for goods and services.

If you believe what Jesus has to say on this issue – it would be better to err on the side of taking the perceived risk to help those in need. The risk of ignoring there cries is far greater.

So what are actions that you and I can take.

Call your local shelter or look up their website – ours provides practical suggestions for directly helping the poor. I found that handing out money is not recommended but handing out granola bars and bottled water is helpful. I found that not all will be grateful or accepting – don’t let that bother you, they may just be having a bad day.

Write to your political leaders at the State and National to encourage a more open policy to immigration and refugees. Many times, the families have no way of being vetted as they cannon prove anything about their background. There is a solution which gives them a chance for peace and safety to build a new life- that solution has risks.

I am sure there are many more ideas. Please leave yours in the comments section.