Stress. We live with it every day, and ministry is no exception. I love the commercial a couple of years back where a very stressed young man at the grocery store check out is being asked “paper or plastic?” He has this blank stare on his face as his mind whirls with options: “If I get the paper, how many trees had to die?” But, if I get the plastic, will it overflow land fills?” He can’t decide. In the mean time, the clerk is still asking, “Paper, or plastic?” The line of 15 people behind him is impatient and frustrated, but he just can’t decide. He’s overloaded and stressed out! You find yourself laughing at the commercial because it is too close to home. We are all stressed out, and it is usually the smallest of details that pushes us over the edge. So, what exactly is stress?
According to Dr. Hans Seyle, founder of Stress Management Research, “stress is the wear and tear on your body caused by life’s events.” In other words, stress is the body’s physical and chemical reactions to circumstances that frighten, excite, confuse, anger, endanger, and irritate us. Think about it: ulcers, headaches, muscle tension, and the common cold…can all result from stress. Stress is affecting each and every one of us.
Stress-related illness continues to rise. The National Mental Health Association
Reports that 75 to 95% of ALL visits to physicians are stress related. What does all this mean? Poor health equals poor quality of life for you and for me, and it isn’t how God intended for us to live.
If we are under duress at work, it comes home and can ruin marriages. If we are unhealthy physically or mentally, it follows us to the office and can result in us losing our jobs. Stress might just cost you your ministry if you aren’t careful.
I am a Behavioral-based Wellness Motivator, teaching and training people to reach their full potential, all the while working with the entire person. The professional term is “wellness,” which includes balancing our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of life. So often, we are good at addressing one or two segments of our life, but unfortunately, the others suffer. Without balance, stress can take its toll on us and our health, not only reducing the quality of our life, but many times, decreasing the quantity of life given
Although stress is a fact of life and while here on earth, we shall never experience a stress-free environment, how we deal with stress is up to us. As ministry leaders, you must set the example for your flock. Here is a sampling of the ways that you can manage your stress better in order to keep serving as God has called you:
- Take a nap – Naps aren’t just for kids and retired people! Enjoy the rest.
- Learn to say NO – Don’t over commit your schedule.
- Set boundaries – Know your limits and ask others to respect them.
- Think positively – As you think, you are.
- Breathe – In and out…slowly.
- Exercise – Get moving and create energy!
- Eat right – Garbage in, garbage out. We are what we eat.
- Spend quality time with God.
God wants us whole so we can serve Him fully and completely. Try some of these tips and begin to get a grip on your stress before it takes its toll on you.
Lorraine Bossė-Smith is dynamic speaker, energetic trainer, results-oriented consultant, professional recruiter, high-performance coach, and fitness guru who transforms lives. She is the author of nine published books.