Life, to put it mildly, can be very challenging. At times it either overwhelms us or threatens to do so. Most of us, if we have lived any length of time at all, can attest to this reality. Of course life’s difficulties can threaten our very survival if we live in parts of the world where civil unrest, war and persecution are a staple of our daily existence.
For those of us in the West however, our difficulties are less likely to force us to flee our environment than they are to test our ability to cope with the on-going stresses of daily life. Unbridled stress can immobilize us and prevent us from realizing our full potential. What to do about it then becomes for many of us a pressing priority and invites us to look for a remedy. There are numerous self help books that seek to address this issue.
As I approach the age of 70 and look back, I can say that stress was definitely an issue in my teens and in my earlier adult life. Learning to effectively cope took a great deal of time. Fortunately I had a mother who made it one of her missions in life to emotionally support me and build me up when I got down on myself which I often did in my teen years. I was also fortunate to have been blessed in my marriage. My wife was always there for me and supportive even when she might not have agreed with some of the directions I took. Unconditional love helped me to stay the course as I progressed in maturity and learned how to be a husband, and a father to my children. My wife Helen and I chose to run our own business while we struggled with family life and therefore experienced the stress that business owners invariably face when their economic well being and that of their children is dependent upon how well the business is managed.
In 2009, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. My family doctor had been on my case for a couple of years trying to encourage me to undertake a colonoscopy. I foolishly resisted thinking I was fine and didn’t need to undergo the procedure. Finally, to “shut him up” I agreed to the procedure. You can guess the result.
Fortunately, the cancer was stage 1. Unfortunately the surgery that sought to reconnect my colon after the offending portion had been removed was unsuccessful and the resulting complications almost resulted in my death.
This whole process [I was in hospital for 3 months] taught me a lot about stress and how to effectively cope with it. The first thing that occurred to me was that I was not in control. I realized that I needed to let go and leave it up to God to direct things. That realization I think made the difference in my recovery. I simply let God love me and I acquiesced to his will. The peace that descended on me was palatable and it remained with me throughout the rest of my hospitalization.
Now that my health has recovered, I rely on this experience to assist me whenever I am up against issues that are stressful. I simply turn it over to God and His peace returns. It seems so simple and it is. I hope that my experience might benefit you as you seek to overcome the stress and fear that is part of daily living. Your God is there to help you with the burdens of life. You need only ask!