Updated: Aug 19
I know from experience that stress is our peace stealer. Around 15 years ago, while working as a pastor on staff, I learnt the hard way that stress can lead to burnout. It was debilitating and extreme. Prior to this, even as a teen, stress was an issue when I suffered (what was then termed a nervous breakdown), ending up in hospital for a month. To be blunt, stress kills.
You might be surprised what stress is. We blame our circumstances but it’s not the situations or people that are pushing you to the edge of (seeming) insanity. No. Stress is actually what’s going on inside you and me. Stress is about what we think or feel about our circumstances. You could be concerned about: your health issues, elderly parents, controlling spouses, the prodigal teens, the baby crying and not settling, a workaholic boss expecting the same from you, your home environment, busyness or boredom, sleep problems or exhaustion. Any of these will push your limits but it is how you feel about these circumstances that are causing your stress.
When I went through burnout, as mentioned, when working in my local church, I virtually lived a blur on my couch, needing a miracle. Sleep was elusive, relationships strained and I was living out my life by rote. I now know that living life stressed is like driving a car with the brakes on—you are not going anywhere (but the insides are working hard!). This causes wear and tear to the body as the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline are ramped up, putting incredible strain on it. Your immune function and therefore your susceptibility to illness is compromised.