How to Thrive in Stress

I talked to a friend today – she described her life to me.  She has pressure from every side – work and home, yet she still manages to give extravagantly to others.

She leans heavily on Jesus, but also knows how to let others inside her space enough to hold up her arms.

Once, the nation of Israel was at battle.  Joshua and his troops were down on the field engaged in hand-to-hand warfare.  Moses and the seniors, were up on the hilltop where they could watch the proceedings.  Moses discovered that if he held up his arms (signifying that he was giving glory to God, and that God was in charge), then the battle went in Israel’s favor.  When he rested his arms, then Israel started losing.   This seems minor, but when his arms went down, Israelites started dying.  Thus,  Moses found that exhaustion caused the battle to go backwards.  To fix this problem, Hur and Aaron came alongside Moses to lift up his arms.

When you are going through a rough time, you need someone to help you stay focused on the big picture – not just the pain you are in, but on the fact that God IS.

During all the stress that my family has gone through lately (a death in the family, moving, transitioning parents into skilled care – all in the same month), I have found a few arm lifters:

  1. My daughter Caitlyn, home from bible college and full of God’s zeal.
  2. Friends who came alongside us and told us that we are doing a good job.
  3. Friends who pointed out specifics when engaging in #2.
  4. Those who told us ‘I wouldn’t be anywhere else’ when we thanked them for coming to Jean’s memorial.
  5. A friend who brought a care package to the hospital one night. (The same friend who is having so much pressure herself.)
  6. Many who provided meals, etc.

We also found that we stayed focused on the big picture better when we:

  1. dealt with the details instead of hoping they would go away
  2. took time to enjoy each other – even making sure we had a family game night
  3. laughing.  I didn’t realize before these last two weeks that laughter is a choice.
  4. looked for opportunities to be an encouragement/arm lifter for others.

God is mighty to save – and life can sometimes be a tumultuous.  In the midst of the waves of opposition, the only way to win is to keep your focus on the One who delivers.  God carries the result, and will show you every step of the process.

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