WHEN THE PRESSURE IS ON
By Pastor Jeff
Stress can be a terrible thing.
A few years ago, National Public Radio reported that a study recently published in Molecular Psychiatry "suggests stress can override the benefits of making better food choices." The findings were based on research in which 58 women "completed surveys to assess the kinds of stress they were experiencing" and also were given "two different types of meals to eat, on different days" – one meal with plenty of saturated fat, the other a healthier option with plenty of plant-based oils. Some "counterintuitive" results came back from the experiment.
According to the study's author, Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, "If a woman was stressed on a day when she got the healthy meal, she looked like she was eating the saturated fat meal in terms of her [inflammation] responses." Over time, high levels of inflammation could potentially lead to "a range of diseases."
But unfortunately, stress is an inevitable part of life. We we’re reminded of that last Sunday morning. Right when our church’s livestream was ready to launch, the praise singers were already on stage, the countdown had reached just finished, and Pastor Jason started welcoming viewers, but our streaming service cut out on us. Uh oh! Now what? Everybody out there is waiting on us!
Can you imagine that sinking feeling? Of course you can. We’ve all felt it before.
Thankfully, everyone on the media team and in the sanctuary calmly went about their troubleshooting tasks. No shouting. No meltdowns. I felt like we were in a NASA control lab managing an emergency with all our technicians unflappably seeking the fastest available solution. And while the media team did their troubleshooting, Pastor Chris quickly set up a back-up phone-based Facebook livestream, allowing us to proceed until the normal system became operational.
That experience reminds me of a few precious bits of wisdom each one of us can apply when we find ourselves in similarly distressing moments. There’s an old Rudyard Kipling poem called “If-“ that begins with this memorable line, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs. . . .” The poem continues for many lines, but the basic idea is that success in life depends largely on our ability to keep our heads when all about us are losing theirs. Like the meme says: “Calm is a superpower.” But where do we get that superpower from?
Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Isaiah 30:15. “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
Philippians 4:6. “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
All any of us can do is our best. Beyond that, it’s in God’s hands. Take a deep breath and remember: Calm is a superpower!
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