Archive for July, 2017

Recovering from Stress

I feel I have been under considerable stress for the past three months. First, I had emergency surgery and then follow-up tests. Two months later, I had to rush my wife to the hospital with a possible heart attack. The next day I began a three-week program in which I mentored medical students for over thirty hours per week. After the three months, I felt drained, anxious, and depressed and wondered how could I get my joy and peace back?

How Stress Affects Us

Stress is with us to stay. We can’t avoid it. We experience stress in the big challenges of life, and in the daily hassles. There is nothing wrong with being under stress. It’s the way God designed life. What is important is to allow ourselves time to recover from the stress and not keep going as usual.

Ways to Recover

First, we need to face the fact we are tired and need recovery. Our natural tendency is to stay busy.

However, slowing down is not as easy as it seems. Many of us will suffer depression when we are not accomplishing as much. Our positive feelings about our worth are often tied to how much we get done. We may remind ourselves that with God we don’t lose any importance by not accomplishing as much.

We may also endure various physical and psychological pains that were masked when we were on an adrenalin high from responding to the stress. These pains would include headaches and indigestion.

We can become a student of ourselves in discovering what activities restore and refresh us. I have found it enjoyable to experiment to determine what activities add to my well – being. One thing I discovered was a love for deep-sea fishing.

Another action to take time is to rest. We need to slow down and take naps as necessary, and we can practice a Sabbath rest once a week if possible. Even God rested from his work on the seventh day.

We should be careful in making new commitments. I prayerfully consider each new commitment while I am in a recovery period which helps in not becoming overly – committed and stressed.

It is important to monitor our adrenalin arousal and how much “fight or flight” energy we are recruiting to handle each problem. Often, we use too much emotional energy. I recently started stressing over simply making an appointment for a test and had to talk myself down from a high adrenalin arousal. Remember God is watching over us and protecting us from all harm (Psalm 128:8).

However, we will need to be patient with ourselves. We didn’t get burned out in a day and we won’t recover in a day either. Many years ago, I knew little about resting and recovery and continued to push myself to do more when I was tired and needed to slow down. When I finally realized how depleted I was, I was exhausted physically and emotionally. It took me three years to fully recover my health.

Let’s learn to pace ourselves. May we enjoy the thrills, excitement and distraction stress brings us. But let’s also cooperate with our bodies and minds in being restored. May God grant us the grace to practice the actions that will help us to recover from stress.





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I recently discovered I had another abdominal aneurism. They occur in weak arteries and often will rupture if they aren’t shored up by stents or other medical procedures. I had one three years earlier that had been successfully repaired through surgery.

Now, I had another one in the same area. The vascular surgeon recommended immediate surgery because it was growing fast and it was in danger of rupturing. Two weeks later I had surgery to repair the aneurism.

The doctor was pleased with how the surgery went. All the tests showed the aneurism was successfully repaired with a stent. I felt relief and a sense of security, at least until the follow-up scan.

Anticipating the results of the follow-up scan, what should I expect? Could God be trusted to give me good results?

What Can We Trust God to Do for Us?

As I waited for the scan results, God began talking to me through several verses of Scripture. One was, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 23:13, NASB). This reminded me we can trust our God to be good and do good things for us.

He also said, “Delight yourself in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4, NASB). We can trust God to give us the desires of our heart as we delight in his goodness and greatness and allow him to change our desires.

We can also trust him to grow us spiritually through the challenges we face. He says in Romans 8:28-29:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called by according to his purpose. For those he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son”

He tells us in these verses he controls the scan results and will work them to our good, which is to make us more like Jesus.

Finally, we can trust God to lovingly watch over us in the difficulties of our lives. He said to me, “I am watching over you lovingly so that no real harm will come to you” (Psalm 121:8, paraphrased). God is our Father who deeply loves us and has our best interests at heart.

Experiencing His Protection

How do we feel safe as we face possibly dangerous circumstances? How do we experience the protection we know we have?

One thing that helps is to reflect and give thanks to God for the many times we have experienced his goodness. When I recall his blessings to me, I often feel better.

Another action is to meditate on verses like Job 37:13, which tells us that God is the one in control. It’s not circumstances, doctors, or how much faith we have that determines the results. God causes the results he wants for his purposes.

A final thought is to pray knowing God Almighty is good and has the power to give us what we ask. We then ask and trust he will give us good results- even if they aren’t the results we hoped for.

Yes, God can be trusted. He will do what he has promised. He will always look out for our best interests. He will always be with us to protect and help us in whatever we face.




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