by Dave Gustavsen

This content is part of a series.

Gut-Level Stress (5 of 5)
Series: Gut-Level Worship
Dave Gustavsen
Psalm 23

The American Heritage Dictionary gives two definitions for ''stress.'' Here's the first one: ''a mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health, usually characterized by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression.'' Sounds great, doesn't it? Anybody here ever experienced stress? In the past hour? We all know what this is talking about, right?

And as I was thinking about this, I came up with a few other symptoms of stress in our lives. You ready? Insomnia...ulcers...stomach problems...joylessness...inability to focus...aggressive driving...drinking/escape. All of those things can show up in your life in response to stress.

So the first definition is this mentally or emotionally upsetting condition. ''I'm feeling stressed!''

The second definition is this: ''a stimulus or circumstance causing such a condition.'' When you're short on money, that's the circumstance that puts pressure on you. When there's trouble at your job, or trouble with your kids, or a pending court appearance, or you're being audited by the IRS, that's the outward circumstance. When there's a leak in the roof or a flood in the basement. When those things happen, they put stress on your life.

Now-here's the point: the second kind of stress is unavoidable. There will always be outward circumstances that are troubling and difficult. And you can try to protect yourself and live in a cocoon, but it won't work-life will bring you stressful situations. But...the first kind of stress is optional. You actually don't have to experience high blood pressure and insomnia and stomach problems, and all those other things. Those are optional.

And today I want to talk about how to live in a world that's filled with that second kind of stress, without being cru ...

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