I told the story tonight before we sent the kids to bed and Kasen wanted me to tell it again. When I explained that it was bedtime, he began telling the story again himself. I caught the second half of it on video here.
Stress is something we’ve all experienced: that feeling right before taking a test (especially if you haven’t studied) or the feelings you get when there are too many things to get done and not enough hours in the day. Maybe it’s the tension in the air when certain people are around. Stress causes us to behave differently, to not think clearly, and in some cases it can cause physical illness or even heart conditions. It can also lead to anxiety or depression. In our “normal” use of the word, stress is not a good thing.
Recently, I heard about a distinction that some are making. They describe two kinds of stress. The first and most commonly used understanding – “distress,” and the second is called “eustress.” Eustress is a positive form of stress – a “good” stress. You know this one too, but probably never considered it stress. It’s the feeling you get when you’ve got a good workout going and your adrenaline is rushing through your veins. It’s the feelings you get when you’re riding a roller coaster or that hopeful concern right before your wedding ceremony. These are all forms of stress too. They cause us to behave differently, to think differently, and can cause physical reactions too, but we place this stress in a different category – for that matter, we don’t even call it “stress,” but use words like excited, nervous, or apprehensive to describe it. Another interesting phenomenon is when both collide. This is seen before childbirth. The physical might be considered distress, while the emotional feelings are typically experienced as eustress.
Interestingly enough, the body cannot discern the difference between distress and eustress. Both are equally draining. It’s important to keep a healthy balance of down time to combat these effects.
Here’s why I went into all this: What if we could trick ourselves? What if we could look at our “distress” situations as “eustress?” Could we take threats and think of them in terms of challenging opportunities? These kinds of ideas really bring me back to the Scripture in Gen 50:20 where Joseph says to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” Can we follow Joseph’s example and see the distress of our lives as something that God can use? Opportunities for Him to show up? Situations where He can be glorified? Areas where we can learn to trust Him more?
Prayer: Lord, You know my stress. I don’t know what the future holds. I won’t have a job in a couple of months or any way to support my family. I feel stressed – distressed. Help me to think differently – to see things as You see them. Help me to understand that this stress is simply another way that You’re at work our lives. Help me to trust You with the situation. Help me to bring You glory and feel exhilarated and excited rather than anxious and depressed. I know You are close to me, but I still feel alone sometimes. Touch me. Comfort me. Allow me to walk in Your Shalom. AMEN.
I know you’re sick of them all, but I still gotta put them up. Sorry I haven’t written in a while, I’m working on papers for class and everything is due Tuesday night. Maybe I’ll find some time after that. Anyway, here are some more pics. (Thanks Kye Han!!) I especially enjoy the one where Kasen got to be Jesus ’cause my mom and dad were Mary and Joseph when I was a baby too.
We went to see the movie the other day and I thought it was great! I don’t think the High School guys who went with us enjoyed it too much, but it followed the Biblical account pretty well. Mary and Joseph were portrayed as a couple who didn’t know each other very well, and he was definitely older than she by quite a bit. This is very likely considering the customs of the Jewish people in those days. Her visit with Elizabeth and the shame that went along with her pregnancy was also shown well. The town of Nazareth was also shown pretty accurately. The houses were made of stone which would have been true for them and Joseph is shown in one scene cutting rocks. We have typically thought of him as a carpenter but the actual greek word “tekton” means “a worker who builds.” In those days since building were made of stones – that more than likely would have referred to a stone mason. The scene where Joseph asks for Mary’s hand in marriage was good too – he spoke of going back home to prepare a place for her as would have been their custom. I just discovered one thing wrong in the movie last night in my hermeneutics class. Mary and Joseph probably would not have been traveling to Bethlehem alone ’cause Nazareth was a “branch” city of David. This meant that there were probably lots of folks from Nazareth who had to go to Bethlehem for the census – not to mention Joseph’s family – parents, brothers, sisters, etc.
I really enjoyed the shepherds and the kings too. The shepherds fields really looked like the fields that I was able to see in Israel – not fields like we think of here in the US – but much more rocky. I also was intersted in how the shepherds were shown as old men. I had always thought of them as young boys, because it was the lowliest of jobs and because of the way I imagined David growing out of it. Anyway, those young boys certainly grew up – I had just never really thought of it quite like that. As far as the kings go, more than likely they weren’t there that night, but the whole idea of the three stars/planets aligning together during that time is accurate according to astronomers today. The scriptural account (Matthew 2:11) says that the wise men came to a house so it probably was later. It could have been as much as 2 years later ’cause Herod wanted the children 2 yrs and under killed. The way the kings described their gifts – Gold for a king, Frankincense for a priest, and Myrhh for sacrifice was pretty cool too.