by Charles R. Swindoll
Stress: that confusion created when one's mind overrides the body's desire to choke the living daylights out of some jerk who desperately needs it. No, you won't find that definition in the dictionary, but right now, I think it should be. It's been one of those weeks. Know what I mean?
Overcommitment. Deadlines. Unrealized expectations. People problems. A stack of phone calls to return. A couple of major interruptions. Not to mention an enormous bill from the vet after he treated our dog, telling us she has some profound, exotic inner itch or something. My in-box resembles the Leaning Tower . . . and then one of my grandsons asks innocently, "Bubba, how come you yell when you talk?" On top of all that I receive a six-page letter from a pious soul who feels "led of God" to correct my position on the day Christ died, my too-liberal view of eschatology, and my extravagance for owning two cars. Page after page. From a guy who doesn't even know me.
I know, I know. I should "turn the other cheek." I really ought to "see the good in it." On some other day I'd probably not give his words a second thought. But when you suffer from stress fractures, the soft cushion of tolerance gets deflated, leaving nerves raw and feelings bloody.
A recent Sports Illustrated article painted a vivid picture: "A stress fracture begins when the shocks and strains of playing game after game create microscopic cracks in the outer layers of bone—usually in the legs and feet. If the pounding continues and those tiny crevices, which often go undetected, aren't allowed to heal, they can enlarge. When the cracks become large enough to cause pain, they are stress fractures."
Stress fractures aren't limited to athletes. Microscopic cracks in bones are painful, but can they match the hurt of a stress-fractured spirit . . . an aching heart? That's a pain like none other, isn't it? It's deep. It throbs. It lingers in the day and haunts you through the night.
So, what do we do to stop the pounding? Ah, that's the question. "Lighten up" is a start. Try not to make a federal case out of everything that happens. Then, laugh more. Admit those imperfections. Let some stuff go. Don't try to be Wonder Woman or the all-powerful Mr. Fix-It.
Above all, turn it over to God. Tell Him everything. He has no problem hearing about our hurts. Furthermore, He can keep any secret you tell Him. He can even handle it when you yell.
As the pounding lessens, so will the pain.
Don't let stress fracture you.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.