Can you guess the #1 issue that church planting women deal with on the mission field?
Just imagine… you arrive in a completely foreign country, don’t know anyone, just moved into a house a third of the size of your previous one; the climate is nothing what you’re used to, the bugs are enormous, the customs different, the people speak in a language that means nothing to you, your kids are jet-lagged and begging for some food that at least looks familiar to them… sound stressful?
Being a missionary is a high-stress job, which is why we learned about stress as part of our Field Health class.
Stress is a physical response to stressors (from the environment, your own body, or your heart/mind) that are processed in the brain and followed by a flood of hormones, cortisol, and epinephrine that then work together to turn the stress circuit on and off. Stress becomes a problem when it turns into a lifestyle rather than being used as a protective mechanism God has graced our bodies with in this fallen world.
At the beginning of our class, we all evaluated our own stress levels by taking the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. Want to know what your stress level is? Take the test yourself by considering the events of your life in the last year and adding the numbers that each event is attributed to: Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale (2)
I scored 371.
According to the scale, scoring 300+ means that I have a 90% chance of developing an illness, having an accident, or “blowing up”. Oops. I have to say that the result was a surprise to me, as I really don’t feel that stressed out on a daily basis.
Here’s how we defined “stressed” in class: when the demands upon an individual surpass the resources in his/her arsenal to meet such demands. Praise the Lord that I don’t have to rely on my own resources to find peace and rest among the stressors of life! Does that mean I don’t get stressed out? Ohhhh no (just ask my husband). Does that mean life is all peachy and perfect? Certainly not. But it does mean that I have a God who is gracious and mighty to empower me with a peace that surpasses all understanding, a peace that guards my heart and mind as I live in this imperfect world, a peace that is not dependent on my circumstances but only on my faith in God’s promises.
Hold on to that peace today.