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Updated on April 28, 2017

May 2017 Update

Dear Congregation,

May and spring are finally here. The nicer weather is refreshing and what we all have waited for. With the weather change brings many projects, school finals, crops to plant, yards to clean, etc. Many aspects of the nicer weather can bring a lot of stress for some people. I found a Care Note to help handle the stress of springtime work, and just life in general.

Letting Faith Help Your Handle Stress

Welcome to the age of Anxiety. If our own weary bodies and spirits don’t convince us we are stressed out, we get steady reminders from self –help books, magazine articles, news reports, and public lectures. Stress seems to be epidemic in our society today. The antidote, appears to be finding ways to reduce those tensions and irritants which invade our lives. The proposed solutions are as widespread as the problem. Typically they focus on eating and exercising well, getting sufficient rest, setting realistic goals, learning to relax through deep breathing or meditation. All of the above have their place and promise a degree of relief. But sadly, few experts on stress management suggest that drawing on one’s belief system in difficult times can also lead to peace and calm. In truth, when we get in touch with our spiritual roots and deepest beliefs, we unearth a mysterious and powerful reserve that can help us in our darkest hours. “Meaning,” says psychologist Carl Jung, “makes a great many things endurable, perhaps everything.”

Working your way through

It was faith that sustained U.S. hostage Terry Anderson during his nearly seven years of captivity in Lebanon. The depth of his beliefs are revealed in the poems he wrote during his captivity, many of them with religious themes. Few of us will endure such overpowering loneliness and fear, but the same faith that gave meaning and hope to a man chained to a wall in a dark cell can be a potent antidote to the stresses we experience. Weather our stresses come in the form of tragic illness, unexpected death, financial crisis, impending divorce or simply a headache brought on by work, our faith can help us better accept and understand our suffering, put our stress in perspective and strengthen our relationship with God. God is with us throughout our difficulties.

Find the major stressors in your life and record them

List your stressors, they could be an unpaid bill to the freshman struggling with finals, to a minor banging of the door as the children rush indoors. Now that you have listed the major pressure points in your life, try to turn them over to God. Together the two of you can tackle them one by one, day by day.

Identify how you can draw on your faith to deal with stress

Just as you have drawn up a list of stressors in your life, you can now identify the outlets that will help to handle your stress. This may be the need to spend time in a quiet church, or you might be one who experiences the calmness as you whisper a prayer to God. Music, running, or meditation are also examples of experiencing the presence of God. You may be at a point in life where snatching a few moments to yourself each day is all you can manage to help relieve stress. These are moments to take time to see how the hand of God is evident in your life. Reaching out to others provides delight in helping and giving to others. Look for this evidence not only in the good moments but in those that have been most challenging. Most of us profess belief that God is with us at all times, but in the midst of a crisis, we can momentarily lose trust. Prayer helps us see our lives from God’s perspective not just ours. Prayer helps put our individual concerns into a wider context. Help manage stress by reaching out to others. Experiencing the delight that comes with helping and giving to others is a way to transform stress into a joyful experience and provides inner peace. From all indications around us and within us, stress is a problem we will likely need to combat over and over again in our very fast paced lives. But if we can give ourselves the freedom to get in touch with our spiritual roots and turn our stresses over to God, our faith can carry us through our most trying times.

I pray that your lives are less stressful and more joyful. Let God grant you all Peace.

Your Parish Nurse,

Bev Sorenson RN

Source, Care notes, Letting Faith Help you handle Stress written by Judy Ball.