This book can be used individually or in groups. Readers will first learn about the manifestations and dangers of unresolved stress. How do we respond to stress? What causes the stress in our lives and how did Jesus respond to stress? From the Sermon on the Mount through the Lord’s prayer learn healthier ways of managing stress and helping others to do the same.
Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God. - Matthew 5:9 NRSV
“I highly recommend this book Praying Our Way through Stress: Drawing Wisdom from the Lord’s Prayer and Life. June Paul has a passion for reaching out to all those suffering from the various stressors in their lives. She uses her compassion and her intimate knowledge of God’s Word to share with the reader His love, grace and mercy for them” —Ken Manthey, Portage Police Chief
“This book will touch a very important area in our current society.” —The Rev. U. Dean Hekel, VA Chaplain and Priest
Christians may be familiar with the story about Jesus being the bridge that helps us cross over from death to life, from grief to joy. As Christians we believe we are to be ‘like Christ’ and so in our vocations we could also be considered little bridges that help people move from a lifestyle of death and self-destruction to one of life and health and re-construction. There are many people traveling through life with us and our paths often cross. Depending on our relationship as our lives cross and touch we share with each other some of the trouble in our life that is causing us stress. If we are not careful, we may allow more trouble to come into our lives than we can handle. If we do not manage the daily stresses in our life it can cause a lot of deterioration in our relationships at home, work, school, church and in the world. Some bridges have weight restrictions posted to prevent too heavy of a load to pass over it. We don’t typically wear signs that tell other people how much stress we can handle – but it’s a thought, isn’t it?! We do however, know that there are people who have special training in mental, emotional, spiritual and pastoral care-giving and they can help us all learn how much stress we can handle and how to handle it well. Just as bridges that are not maintained and cared for will eventually collapse so will individuals who do not take care to maintain their own well- being . . . Jesus encouraged a listening heart and mind and compassionate responses. He taught different ways of responding to stress and trouble by telling stories and asking people to think before acting out . . . This is a good time to share with you some of the manifestations and dangers of Unresolved Stress.Manifestations of Unresolved Stress
The list seems endless, doesn’t it? The effects of stress left untreated over time lead to dangerous and sad situations.Dangers of Unresolved or Mismanaged Stress.
So, we can see how important it is for us to learn how to manage stress on a personal level. We cannot manage other peoples stress, we either contribute to their stress or we can help them learn how to handle their stress better by modeling healthy ways like Jesus did to his disciples . . . Look at the dangers of untreated stress through the eye of God and it reveals a deep and profound meaning to the following verses. For God so loved the world that he gave us his only son, Jesus Christ, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16, 17)Some people get caught up in arguing about who God is and whether or not He created the world and arguing about whether or not Mary really was a virgin. Whether you believe that God created the earth or whether or not Mary was a virgin aren’t issues for me. For me the issue is that God desired to save the world through Jesus, his only son. What did God see and what do we see that we need to be saved from? All of the above, all the manifestations of untreated stress which ultimately lead to death and self-destruction. We need to be saved from ourselves and each other! Now that can sound funny or frightening but either way it sounds, there is much truth in that statement. Let’s begin with birth and consider the stress that surrounded the birth of Jesus. What kind of stress did Mary endure during her pregnancy? How stressed must Joseph have been learning about her pregnancy? Considering the customs and culture of those days and times she could have been stoned to death! Joseph endured the stress of the news of her pregnancy and the potential death of the woman he was betrothed to. But the Lord had told both of them to have courage. Holy courage certainly does help us to manage stress differently. Many people are very happy to become pregnant, but not everyone. Sometimes a pregnancy may be unplanned and whether or not the couple is married, this can be stressful. How they handle the news of the pregnancy and the response of other people around them is important. Our society has a set of rules and some people are very loud about them and can destroy the mental, emotional and spiritual health of the mother or father of the child. Not everyone lives by the same rules, and so the mother and father may get lambasted from people with differing points of view. The same must have been happening to Mary and Joseph. Mary went away for awhile to visit a relative and Joseph stayed home to pray about the situation. Is that what many couples of unplanned pregnancies are taking time to do? Would you welcome someone into your home and give them some comfort and encouragement? Would you pray with or for someone experiencing this kind of situation? Would you listen to them and let them share their story, their fears, their hopes or would you just be uttering all your concerns and opinions? After Jesus was born there was a plot to kill him! Imagine the stress Joseph and Mary experienced knowing this. Now, we don’t typically hear of stories of plots against children these days. But the threat of losing a child to kidnapping, custody battles due to divorce, ill-health or community violence is stressful. The child can become a victim if the adults are not well equipped at managing stress. The death of a child is so stressful that it can unfortunately, result in the death of a marriage.According to a survey I read once, and I am sorry I don’t know which one it was, over one third of the children surveyed reported being a direct victim of different forms of violence. This should be cause for concern for all of us and help us realize how important it is for adults to learn how to manage stress in healthy ways and help their children do the same. I think God knew about stress, traumatic stress and post-traumatic stress and that’s why His son was born for us. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world. (John 16:33NRSV)I have had conversations with a few people who didn’t believe Jesus had conquered the world because they saw him as a victim of community violence. They said the fact that he didn’t fight back against the soldiers who came to arrest him made him look weak and he was like a sissy. But I think his being a victim of community violence doesn’t make him weak or sissy-like or that he was a failure at conquering the world. I think it just points out the violent nature of a group of people who didn’t have a clue how to manage and overcome stress in their own lives. Through the life of Jesus many generations have learned how to conquer stress, personal and communal. If Jesus conquered stress, and if his disciples did – how did they do it? With God’s help through the power of the Holy Spirit whom we are told God gives to everyone who asks without favoritism.
June Paul has earned a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Religious Studies. But she believes the real qualification for writing this book stems from her life experiences at home, school, work, in the world and church. She is a member of The Order of the Daughters of the King, has completed two years of Education for Ministry, attended the School of Evangelism. She has also completed The Community of Hope Program and a course through The Church Development Institute.