We live in a stress-filled society. Technology makes us accessible to anyone at anytime. Economic down-turns cause many to fear the loss of a job or a home. Stress has been linked to all the leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis and suicide. Seventy-five to ninety percent of visits to primary care physicians are due to stress-related problems. An estimated one million workers are absent each workday because of stress-related complaints. Forty percent of all worker turnover is due to job stress.
A limited amount of stress is good and necessary for healthy living. If we live in a stress-free life, we will likely become apathetic and unproductive. But severe amounts of stress wreak havoc on our emotions. Romans 5:14 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
David’s intimate declaration in Psalm 131 is a great remedy for stressful emotions.
“My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty. I do not concern myself with great matters of things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother, like weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.”
It’s amazing to think that David-King of Israel-slayer of giants-would encounter “great matters” and that he would consider certain things “too wonderful for him.” And yet he acknowledged that there were, indeed areas so far outside his comfort zone that he would avoid them. He was a great musician, but perhaps public speaking made him nervous. He as a valiant warrior, but perhaps he got frustrated with financial management. He might have been a visionary, but perhaps he got stressed out over details. Regardless of the specifics, David did acknowledge that there were areas in which he felt uncomfortable and that he was going to avoid those areas.
Our stress level begins to escalate when we are continually asked to perform tasks that are far outside our comfort zone and when we’re expected to “be” someone we are not.
What’s the solution? Discover who you are and what you feel comfortable doing. Accept the way God has made you. Learn to say “no” to matters that are “too wonderful.”
In Psalm 131, it is interesting to note that David’s confession of his inadequacies is prefaced by a declaration of humility, “My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty.” Pride will prompt us to cling stubbornly to “great matters” while humility will encourage us to release them.