This inevitable stress

Given the amount of stress in my life, I figure I should be the skinny little thing I was in high school. I’ve been clinging to that philosophy while the pounds cling to my waistline. I finally realized the talk show docs and nutritionists are actually referring to me when they say stress will cause fat to hang on to our bodies! So over the course of a year, I have been examining my lifestyle and this inevitable thing called stress.

You and I can’t avoid stress. It comes in good packages like the holidays, or it comes in dreadful doses of uncontrollable events. We can maintain some degree of stress maintenance with our diet, activity level and time management. But what about managing the stress in our soul?

Are you flying with the turkeys?

There are many wild turkeys that strut around our city (yes-real turkeys). They hang out at the schools and walk around suburban streets. They crack me up! I was driving my son to school one morning when I eyed a few fat turkeys wobbling down the road. Suddenly one turkey decided to take flight.

His big ole body lifted into the air while his wings leisurely flapped. Closer and closer we came toward each other, his body flying low and wings flapping far too slowly. My heart pounded as I saw his face in line with mine through the windshield. This turkey was not gaining height. Just as I imagined this humongous wild bird crashing through my windshield, he managed to skim above the hood of my car…my heart now pounding with relief.

Let stress take flight

I haven’t forgotten my wild encounter with that turkey, and I picture him in sharp contrast to the majestic eagle. The Scriptures tell us those who wait on the Lord will mount up with wings like eagles. I have read when an eagle senses a storm is coming, it flies to a high spot and waits for the wind to come. When the storm hits, it spreads its capable wings and soars above it.

You and I can’t avoid the storms of life: sickness, disappointment, loss, the daily grind. But can we actually rise above it? Isaiah 40:29-31 gives us this promise,

“He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of him who has no might. Even the youths faint and get weary, and the young men utterly fall;
But those who wait for the Lord (who hope in Him, talk with Him, listen to His Words),
shall renew their strength and power (be invigorated);
they shall lift their wings and mount up as eagles;
they shall run and not be weary (they won’t give up),
they shall walk and not faint or become tired.”

It’s God’s desire for us to rise above our trials. Thankfully, He has not purposed us to mount up as turkeys, who carry the load of their body while struggling to gain height. He has provided a way for us to prevail over and even conquer the stress in our lives.

This is my desire as well. When I cling to the stress, it clings to me. Why settle for flying low and slow with the weight of stress on my back? Instead, I’m choosing to cling to the promises and love of God.

Waiting on Him is a deliberate practice of sitting quietly in the presence of God. It requires listening to His Words and choosing to trust the God who made me. He then gives me the perspective and tools to mount up as eagles above the storms and stresses of my life.

Meditate on Isaiah 40:28-31 today. What is God inviting you to do? List the promises He makes for you in return.

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