The Reality Of Stress
"Worry is a kind of insult to the Lord. It's like throwing His promises and assurances back into His face and saying they're no good and you don't trust Him." - FletcherNobody can deny the reality of stress. I suppose the old timers did not call it by that name, but they faced it too. Whether it is the crammed schedule of a work week or wading through church problems, stress is alive and well in the pastorate. Balancing family time and ministry time is a bear to handle! Add working a secular job into the mix and you add to life's complications.
Ignoring the avenues on which stress travels is all too common. Most know that stress exists, but the same people tend to overlook it. The best thing a pastor can do is to live their life in light of the fact that they have a stressful work and they should act accordingly!
The Results Of Stress
"Anxiety springs from the desire that things should happen as we wish rather than as God wills." - AnonymousHigh levels of stress can adversely affect personality, family relationships, personal health, productivity of ministry and quality fellowship with the church family. Aside from the category of personal health, each one of these deal with the pastor and his fellow man. What an opportunity for Satan to make an inroad into a godly testimony! It is so important for pastors to monitor this so they can guard themselves from ineffectiveness, that often results, in loss of testimony.
Heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, etc. are often the result of stress. Pastors should not fall victim to this. They should be examples of those that give their burdens to the Lord Jesus. No, they are not expected to be spiritual supermen, but they should be even keeled!
The Remedy For Stress
(Philippians 4:6-7) "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (KJV)It would be foolish for one to over simplify the issue of stress and the pastorate. However, the primary remedy for stress is quite simple; at least in precept. Effectual prayer is the best remedy, and many Bible verses can be cited to prove this truth.
Stress stems largely from worry or anxiety about particular issues, and some of these difficulties are completely out of a pastor's hands. When you lump everything into a simmering pot called "ministry", the only way for sanity to be maintained is through personal prayer time.
Upon examining the Old Testament, you will find numerous examples of people who faced great dangers while carrying out God's will. They were men like everyone else. Hebrews chapter eleven records many of their names as well. They made it through life's struggles and so can every pastor alive today! Allow God's peace to guard your heart and mind.
Pastors must face stress every day. There is no way around this fact of life. If one will frequent the prayer closet, then godly attitudes can be kept and faith can be seen more easily by others. Prayer affects attitude, attitude affects vision, vision affects direction, and direction affects people. Stress can destroy all of this! Pastor beware of stress and take great care of spending quality time with your Lord!