Burn out, stress and just plain worry
Highlands TodayBurnout, emotional exhaustion from responsibilities of work, may be lessened by thankfulness for having a job. Rather than blaming stress for all ills, we might consider its once common meaning: "a force exerted on an object that strains or changes its shape." Turning this "worry" (old-fashioned word) into faith reshapes and strengthens us.
Published: June 19, 2009
Published: June 19, 2009
Here's a clue: "Worry grows lushly in the soil of indecision." To combat fear requires mental decision. Dr. C. H. Mayo said he knew "many who died from doubt."
The Associated Press-Ipsos polling (December 2006) found money concerns topped the anxiety list for Americans, yet the highest income earners pointed most to job stress. We share common challenges: too much to do, too many bills to pay, not enough time or money. In the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes," 6-year-old Calvin complained: "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want."
"Simplify," a battle cry and fad in the last decade, has not caught on. Changing technology demands multi-tasking despite its toll on physical and mental health and even quality of work. Twenty years of research show that the Monday after we set our clocks back, the number of heart attacks drops. And, yes, the number rises after we move the clocks forward. We are so sleep deprived that one hour makes a big difference.
Dr. Alexis Carroll, Nobel prize winner, said: "People who do not know how to fight worry, die young." Adam and Eve did not physically die the moment they parted ways with God, but they did "surely die" (Genesis 2:17). Mental, emotional, and spiritual breakdown came while still in their physical bodies.
In early 2007 university counselors warned that mental disorders, especially depression, are reaching "epidemic" proportions among students. They take more medication, think more about and commit more suicide. They speak of crying spells, feelings of emptiness, and never being in control. All over the nation some unite in a one-minute "primal scream" the night before exams to combat being "test stressed."
Two weeks after Sylvia Plath's novel "The Bell Jar" was published (1963), she committed suicide. In the book she wrote: "There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them." Neither success nor bath helped her. The whole world recently applauded Susan Boyle on "Britain's Got Talent." Nevertheless, after the contest the 48-year-old singer succumbed to frazzled nerves from all the media attention, checking into a mental health clinic to be treated for exhaustion.
Strong's Concordance lists every word in the King James Bible so that students can look for deeper meaning in the original Hebrew and Greek. "Burnout," "stress," and "worry" are not there. Newer translations use those words. Biblical people faced big problems, but God's Word to man focuses on solutions. Step one prescribes good stress, the kind that stretches us: center the mind on God for His reshaping (Romans 12:2). It is not easy but it works. Step two naturally follows: "Take no thought" (Matthew 6:25 KJV) or "Do not worry" (New International). All is well when aware of God's presence.
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together - side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.