Saturday, November 13, 2010

Inner versus Outer Stress

Stress is one of the most common words of our modern culture. This really is nothing new. 50 years ago people experienced stress too. They experience stress in Africa and Asia, not just in Canada. Why then do we tend to feel so stressed out so much?

Part of the problem in Canada lies in the fact that we live so much of our lives in our heads. We live in a knowledge-based world. E-mail, media, phone calls, text messages, and much, much more.

Actually stress is a good thing. We would be demotivated and bored without it. I recently read a book called "Just Enough Anxiety" where the authors proposed that for maximum effectiveness in our business we need an optimum amount of stress (enough to keep us going, not so much that we are overwhelmed.)

Lately in my own life, I have been differentiating between inner and outer stress. When I experience stress in the circumstances of my life, I see that as generally positive (or at least somewhat out of my control). When I experience stress within...well, that is a problem. Inner stress seems to me to be more about worry, anxiety and a lack of trusting God. The Bible speaks often about rest as a good thing. I think there is an inner rest we can experience even though we are busy on the outside. In fact, I think the word 'busy' illustrates this well. When I am busy on the outside that is one thing...but when I am busy within, that is a different matter entirely. Have you ever been in a hurry when you really had nothing to be in a hurry for (while driving perhaps)? That is because we are busy within.

Jesus seemed to be very, very busy without, but never busy within. He seemed to work on the outside and rest on the inside. He seemed to be always engaged in important work but never in a hurry. If there is one word that I think described Jesus' inner disposition it would be "TRUST".