What does St. Paul say about stress?
Let’s talk a little about STRESS!
Yes, it is something that seems to be on everyone’s minds. It is the talk on all social media and yet, it never seems to go away. Could it be, that stress is just a part of everyday life? I wonder if stress shows up outside of a relationship. That is to say, if you are not engaged or better yet interacting with another person then can you be stressed? I know that sometimes situations can be stressful, so rather you are interacting with another person you will always have the opportunity to interact with yourself. So, stress is very much a part of our lives.
If stress is something that we have to accept then looking at how we cope with stress would be vital to living our lives in a harmonious way. In Christian Scripture, we find that Paul writes in Romans 5:1-5 that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope and that hope does not disappoint us. In looking at the Greek words he uses, he defines suffering as pressure. I can related more to pressures in life than suffering. I have financial pressures, physical pressures, emotional pressures and the pressures of just being in relationships. So, these pressures produces endurance. Paul’s word that he uses for endurance translates into fortitude. This is a little stronger than just enduring something. Fortitude means that you develop an attitude that this problem will not beat you. An attitude that you will do everything possible to gain the upper hand to a negative situation. It does not mean that you enter into a state of denial, but that you look at the problem realistically and develop a plan that is both innovative and assertive. This leads to the next part of Paul’s message, character. Yes, character does matter. When you are able to overcome the pressures of life and come out standing up, then you have some past successes to fall back on. An “I did it” attitude. Something that can be the foundation to future successes.
So, pressures product fortitude and fortitude produces character and character does not disappoint us. That is to say that we do not live under an illusion that something is not what it seems. We are able to identify the problem and to clearly take responsibility for our part of the problem and to work out a solution that will meet our needs.