How Big Are God’s Shoulders?
by Ellie Marrandette
Published on March 4, 2024

 How Big Are God’s Shoulders?

“Aah, finally,” you declare. “The busy season is over!” The ornaments are put back in storage, every football playoff party attended, the Super Bowl is in the books, and your Valentine’s gift was a hit – now it’s finally your “down-time.”

But then you remember, you promised to visit the grandchildren this June and you haven’t even begun booking the flight. It dawns on you that the insurance bill needed to be paid last week and your boss wants that report like yesterday. You vowed you’d look into buying a new car with your spouse, make that doctor’s appt., write that email . . .  now you’re StreSSed OuT once again!!! What downtime?

No matter the circumstances, you can’t avoid stress in your life but you can learn how to handle it. If your day is filled with endless stress, please understand that God’s Shoulders are big enough to lift it off yours.

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9: 9,10)

There’s good and bad stress but bad stress, (like above) increases your acidic pH. A high pH is a breeding ground for heart disease, cancers, and other diseases. Your goal is to relax and let God handle that which you can’t.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  (Philippians 4:6)

Do you work under stressful conditions? Have a domineering boss? Do you experience stress in the medical industry as a doctor or nurse, (my #1 patient) when you can’t do anything for that small child dying in the ICU? As an overworked teacher, when that popular teenager whispers a derogatory name behind your back and students laugh? Or a social worker, wishing you had funds to purchase food for every struggling family, but can only stand by helplessly because another got that promotion?

You might even question God and wonder why He allows such things to happen. God has a reason for everything He does. Faith is trusting in Him, even when we don’t understand why

A stressful environment can result not only in irritability, but fatigue, headaches, nervousness, insomnia, and memory loss. It can also add additional weight to your frame and create serious health issues. Stress can even kill you. It produces high blood pressure, and heart conditions, and creates a cancerous pH environment, among a myriad of other health issues.

American Neurobiologist, Dr. Sapolsky, studied a Kenyan baboon community for 30 years. Existing in a class system, the aggressive Alpha males terrorized the gentler males causing stress-related illnesses within the group; elevated blood pressure, heart problems, and yes, even weight gain.

Since the Alpha males also dominated the food chain; they would eat first. However, they once consumed a deadly substance that caused disease and killed them off. The kinder males took over the community, which then thrived due to a stress-less environment. This produced peace –  and amazingly, weight loss.

Food can be a person’s comfort drug when they are feeling stressed. Food chemicals are as addictive as smoking, drugs, or alcohol because they change the body’s chemistry and instill “feel-good” neurotransmitters into our brains.

If you’re tired, or having a stressful morning, it’s easy to reach for that sugary donut in the break room. Sugar increases energy and also releases the stress reliever, serotonin, to the brain. Angry? Those pretzels, chips, and peanuts are therapeutically crunchy, releasing pent-up frustration!!! Lonely? Subconsciously you reach for that comforting, soothing chemical, phenylethylamine, found in chocolate.

I urge you to seek peace in other ways besides finding comfort in food. Reach for your Bible rather than for ice cream.

Although we can’t completely eradicate stress from our lives because there is good and bad stress everywhere, every day; we can take steps to control harmful stress. 

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Bear in mind that the frustration of finding a formulaic solution to reducing stress can produce stress. Just as some are convinced that getting to Heaven by accepting and following Christ is too easy, “I must suffer for it!” some believe there must be a complicated formula to reducing stress or it won’t work. “If I don’t sacrifice for it, I won’t reach God’s stressless Utopia.” 

Salvation is God’s Gift, it’s a spiritual confirmation -a new mindset – it’s not something you’ll ever win by stressing over or working for it!

Create a Strategy and Take Action to Relieve Stress:

    1. Exercise. Serotonin, a feel-good hormone, is also released through exercise, not just food! Bike, walk, play tennis, swim, golf, go to the gym but discipline yourself physically!
    2. Warm relaxing baths or massage therapy.  Have your spouse give you a foot or back rub.
    3. Increase your intake of magnesium-based foods like green leafy vegetables, bananas, or avocados, which reduce stress hormones. These foods have a calming effect. You can safely take a 200mg tablet daily which relaxes the body.
    4. Take action to assist and be a blessing to others. Volunteer at a charity, cook a meal, read a story to that suffering youngster in the children’s ward. Be proactive and make a difference in someone’s life. It tends to place your daily challenges in perspective.
    5. Have a cup of chamomile tea or hot cocoa, sit on the porch/patio, enjoy the sunset, and relax with music.
    6. Meditate on Scripture.  The closer you experience God, the more peace you’ll experience. Have Faith that His Way is Best.
    7. Laughter relieves stress. Laugh with your family, watch a comedy, play games, have a date night.
    8. Spend time with your pet who somehow loves you unconditionally. The simple action of petting your dog or other pet reduces stress.

Remember no one lives in a vacuum. Find someone to talk to, whether it’s a spouse, trusted friend, or pastor. We all need a support system.

That being said, believe it or not, some thrive on the attention they receive by staying stressed. It attracts attention which makes them feel empowered. Friends pat them tenderly on the shoulder, and sigh, “Oh you poor thing – how do you do it???” That’s not healthy. That action is bordering on co-dependence.

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” (Psalm 143:10)

Overcoming stress begins with simple steps. That mindset is within reach but I urge you to place your trust in God. He’ll sustain you and provide wisdom to get you through the tough times.

Ellie Marrandette earned her Bachelor of Ministry (BMIN) from Trinity Theological Seminary. She is a licensed, certified nutritional counselor and founder of New Creations Ministries, a faith-based solution in overcoming health challenges. In recent years, God has focused Ellie’s path toward writing. She is the author of four Christian novels, a novella, and a non-fiction book on healthy living entitled, Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us.) Her most recent book, God’s Furry Messengers was just published in July, 2023. All can be found Here. Ellie is currently working to complete a children’s devotional. For more about Ellie Marrandette visit her New Creations website.  

Photo by Wallpaper Safari

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