Stress is a slippery bugger, hard to pin down and even harder to shake loose. It’s like a Kraken, a creature of the deep summoned to sink ships and scare people. And kill them to death. The last month or so I found myself swamped and suckered by a stress Kraken. A big one, too. But then Jesus showed up and set me free. Sank the stress Kraken in like fifteen minutes, and now my heart is carefree and peaceful. Crazy, right? I need to share how Jesus did it. I figure maybe you can open up to Jesus and let him do his thing in your heart, too.
Sinking the stress Kraken
I’m a one-track kind of guy. Balancing acts are not my forte. I don’t like juggling multiple balls, or managing multiple messes. So a month’s worth of stress left me feeling like I was being torn in twenty-five directions. Maybe you can relate. When I turned to Jesus, he reminded me of Luke 10:27,28:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself… Do this and you will live.”
I’ve read this a thousand and fourteen times, but this time I saw something new: “With all your strength.” All your strength. Strength, I realized, has a limit. It runs out. You can get to the end of it, right? To love God with all your strength means to love him until you have no strength left to give. To give him all your strength. Same with the others. Give God all your emotional and relational energy. All your spiritual energy. All your physical energy. All your mental energy. All of it. Every. Last. Drop. But… then it’s gone! Nope. Then it’s his. And since I’m his child, I know what he’s going to do with all the stuff I give him.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son” (John 3:16).
When I give myself to God, he’s going to give me to the world too. To my neighbour, Jesus says, in point of fact. That’s what God does with his children, he gives them to a broken world. I’m not given as a Saviour, though. I’m given to point to him. Here’s what I’m learning: If I try to manage everything, keeping track of all my energies in all my relationships, in all my pursuits, simultaneously, I end up looking to twenty-five different masters for approval and direction. Jesus says it’s not possible to pull off serving two masters, never mind twenty-five. No wonder I was stressed! When I look to Jesus alone, to please him alone, my life narrows beautifully to one face, one smile, one will, one master, one Saviour, one thing at a time. And then I trust the God who is also my good Shepherd to lead me, to meet my needs, to direct my energies, to spend my life as he sees fit. Incredible! I repented of looking to so many masters, turned my face from those idols, looked back to Jesus and Jesus alone. Gave him all my lovin’—heart, mind, soul, and strength. Asked him to ‘spend me’ as he saw fit. And felt the weight of the world slip off my shoulders… onto his, where it actually belongs. Sweet! When I explained it all to Shauna (my incredible wife), I said, “Honey, I can’t live to please you anymore. It’s killing me. I’m called to love you, not please you.” She smiled. And totally agreed. It was glorious. I felt weightless, free, joyful. I still do, days later. I have just one fantastic master. I’m not doing things to please people. And just as important, I’m free to not do things, even when it disappoints them. If God doesn’t spend me on something, I don’t have to do it. Or feel guilty about it. Period. Only Jesus can spend my life perfectly, beautifully, for his glory. “Do this and you will live,” Jesus says. And he’s right. That is all.