Last week, I came across this phrase on a T-shirt. This brought to mind another occasion when I noticed a woman attending my Bible study wearing a similar shirt. While I normally wouldn’t have thought much about it, we had been praying for her six-year-old daughter who was going through chemo for leukemia. When I saw her wearing the shirt, I thought if she believes she has so much to be grateful for that she is not burdened by stress, any believer (including me) should be able to affirm this.
If you read the previous blog, The Gateway Sin, you realize I do not generally have this attitude. I wondered is the inverse true? Can we be too stressed to feel blessed?
While God’s lavish love for us never fluctuates, nor does our glorious inheritance in heaven ever diminish, it seems stress and worry block our ability to access the unending grace we have through Jesus. His promise to guard our hearts with His perfect peace cannot have its full effect if we repeatedly open the back door to anxious thinking.
What are you anxious about? I would like to suggest that most our stress comes from “first world” problems – inconveniences and difficulties arising from living in a society of abundance. Consider some of the things during the previous week which caused me stress:
- having to wait over an hour for a medical appointment
- figuring out what to cook for meals and doing the dishes afterwards with hot, clean water
- running late to drive my son to the bus stop at 6:45 a.m.
- the expense and inconvenience of an auto repair on one of our two vehicles
- dog poop on my shoe
- my son complaining about the color of new jeans from Old Navy.
- trying to find the right gift for someone
I am not anxious because I have life-threatening parasites in my water, no healthcare or medicine, or that my children have to walk miles to school without proper shoes or clothing. I am not fearful because I have to secretly meet with other believers because our lives are in danger.
I am experiencing stress because I am so accustomed to comfort and abundance that in the moment those things seemed like a big deal. Reality check: they aren’t! I have let stress eclipse my eyes to God’s blessings. I am too eternally blessed to let stress interfere with joyfully giving thanks to God for writing my name in His book of life, for promising me He will never leave me, and for His assurance that in all things I am empowered to overwhelmingly conquer through Jesus.