Weekly Thought – May 24, 2022
Fred thought and taught much about stress. He addressed business audiences, as well as ministry groups. Although they had different missions, he pointed out the similarities in their need for managing stress.
Building Internal Strength
I was asked to speak to 25 leading Southern Baptist pastors who showed great interest in knowing what laymen were thinking about handling stress. I told them that business people learn to balance the exterior circumstances with the internal condition. When external circumstances build up pressure and become threatening, attention must be turned to strengthening our internal condition or we will become like the doctor who gets so involved during an epidemic curing the sick he neglects his own health and dies from the very same disease.
A submarine must have the interior pressurized as it submerges or the outside water pressure will crush it. As long as the exterior and interior pressures are balanced there will be zero stress. Another example is the potter who learns the great skill of matching the pressure of the inside hand against the outside hand. Too much pressure from the inside and the clay bulges; too much from the outside and it caves in.
Too often the exterior gets so consuming we pray for the external pressure to be decreased rather than asking for the interior to be strengthened. An old saint prayed not that the burden would be lighter, but that he might become stronger.
One of my favorite examples is Tommy Armour, the “Silver Scot” of golf game. When other pros were talking about weakening the right hand to keep from hooking he said, “NO, strengthen the left hand and then whup the heck out of it with the right.” He was the initiator of the long ball.
Balancing the exterior and interior came home to me recently. I was scheduled to teach the Elliott class and chose this very subject because I was thinking a lot about it. On Saturday morning I went out to the garage to get in the car and head out for a busy day. I could see there was a white substance and oil on the garage window. When I opened the door I realized we had been vandalized. Someone threw a gallon of white paint and two gallons of used crankcase oil on the door. Such an experience does have a way of altering your agenda! Fairly quickly I thought, “Tomorrow I am going to talk about strengthening our internal condition to offset our external stresses. Now I have a great illustration.”
This week think carefully about: 1) How well do I keep the interior and exterior in balance? 2) What stressors are most troublesome right now? 3) Where do I find the greatest balance?
Words of Wisdom: “When external circumstances build up pressure and becomes threatening then we have to turn our attention to strengthening our internal condition.”
Wisdom from the Word: “My hand will support him, and my arm will strengthen him.” (Psalm 89:21 NET Bible)