Weekly Thought – September 8, 2020
Fred experienced four hospitalizations which were predicted to usher him from earth to heaven. Each time he recovered, returned home, and continuing stretching and blessing. After an early one he spent a restless, frustrating weekend. His daughter in whose house he lived realized this pattern would drive the both crazy. She called dear friend Ed Yates saying, “Dad is definitely not satisfied with no activity. Would you invite some friends and come by next Saturday?” Ed began a Saturday tradition which continued until his death. Because chairs were placed around him as he lay elevated, but horizontal, it became known as Fred in the Bed. Donna Skell and JoyLynn Hailey Reed compiled their notes for two years as a gift for his 90th birthday. During his birthday month of September the compilation will be excerpted.
August 21, 2004 Fred in the Bed, part two
Fred talked about stress quoting St. Avalon “The imagination is the fool of the house.” So much of our stress comes from imagination, My ancient mystic friend Francois Fenelon says when we move away from gratitude for today and imagining a better tomorrow we are “insulting the opportunities of today.”
How do you maintain inner strength during stressful periods?
A helpful metaphor is a submarine. As the ship goes down the pressure (strength) inside needs to increase to counter-balance the pressure outside. When we are in stressful seasons we must make sure our internal strength is adequate to offset the external forces pushing against us.
Anger also produces stress. Have you ever known people whose lives seemed to have a thin veneer of civility and calm yet once the surface was scratched anger bubbled up like a volcano? Because of my love for food I also like the picture of Crème Brulee. The crust is thin and fragile. Once punctured the custard is exposed (and in my case, quickly consumed). Stress and anger go hand in glove.
I am convinced there are two types of stress: vertical and horizontal. The vertical is healthy because it pulls you up, Think of a flower on a stem. Without turgor pressure the stem droops. Without the fluids pushing through the cells the flower dies, We can grow limp, as well, One of the best examples is the sense of awe (reverential fear) of God.
Horizontal stresses pull us apart and create damage. Designing our lives to meet others’ demands and standards is horizontal. All the current talk about self-image leads to horizontal stress. We want to have a clear definition of self-worth because we were bought by God through the work of Christ. That is settled and doesn’t change just by what others think or say.
In our competitive society there is a prevailing stress – the fear of losing. The losing by our choosing stresses us. When we make one decision we give up other options. These are the “Y”points. Marriage and career are two of the biggest examples. One of the pitfalls of our current day is buyer’s remorse. “If I choose the left fork and it grows dull, I opt out and choose another road.” The stress of always looking around for the better option steals the joy of commitment.
This week carefully consider: 1) If I were immobilized how would I use my time to benefit others? 2) How clear am I on the differentiation between vertical and horizontal stress? 3) What is creating unhealthy stress in my life right now?
Words of Wisdom: “Scripture emphasizes shelter, refuge, and shadow as roles of God… great antidotes for stress.”
Wisdom from the Word: “The one true God acts in a faithful manner; the LORD’s promise is reliable; he is a shield to all who take shelter in him.” (2 Samuel 22:31 NET Bible)