Article: Workplace Stress! Beat it the Biblical way | Gean Terence, India

Jerry was brought to the physician by his friends. He was suffering from several ailments including chronic headache, body pain, difficulty to stand up for long periods (postural defects), irritability and low morale. The physician referred him to a psychologist after a detailed analysis. And Jerry was embarrassed, “Am a psycho, doc?” he asked. The physician smiled, “Boy, you have nothing but stress. The symptoms show you are suffering from what we call adjustment disorders. A psychologist can deal with it better.”
The Psychologist, sporting a French beard, was of almost his age. He took a detailed case history, and explained to Jerry he was suffering from what they call ‘nine to five stress’, an adjustment disorder common among workers. Jerry’s history backed the findings. Having graduated from a reputed B-school, Jerry got a marketing job, and worked there for two years before joining a foreign bank for an annual six-digit salary. All the troubles started from there.

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His schedules were hectic. He had to sit long hours in front of the computer, wrestling with nerve-wrecking tabulations. His eyes strained, inviting headache, which never left him ever since. He also developed postural defects along with back pain. He also had pain in shoulders and hands, thanks to continuous use of keyboards. He had no respite from this hurried life. His work pressure increased day by day. He was unable to achieve the targets. Jerry’s boss started accusing him of irresponsibility and frequently insulted him. Jerry’s morale and self-esteem touched the nadir, and he became irritable. He had no time for his family to share his burden, and eventually he burst out in anger in the office, collapsing.
The psychologist described in detail the need for exercise and some psychotherapeutic measures to tackle stress. A devout Christian, the psychologist invited Jerry for a spiritual conversation, and explained to him the spiritual way to deal with stress. Though initially reluctant, Jerry listened to the counsellor to piece together the crux of what he said.
Many of us suffer from stress. One can scarcely imagine a life sans stress. It is intrinsically woven into the very fabric of human lives. It exerts pressure on us from all sides due to reasons including examinations, work, financial difficulties, illness, pregnancy problems, debt and so on, and in varying degrees. The remedies such as yoga, exercises can help you get rid of the symptoms to a certain extent. But they won’t treat the root cause, which remains unhealed. This needs to be rooted out.

Here the Bible comes handy. The fundamental problem of mankind, according to the Bible, is sin. It started from our disobedience to God’s commands in the Garden of Eden, where God created man to do His will. But when man chose to do his own will, and acted according to his own purpose, he got detached from the Godly fellowship and was made to strive to work hard to eke out a living. He worked harder when his demands increased. So, what must one do to find peace in life?
Find Peace in God: God still loves His creation even though he severed relationships with humans. He came to the Earth as one of us, and was called Jesus, to fill human hearts with purpose, love, peace and joy. So, the first way to overcome stress starts with the search for God. Jesus says: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I’ll give you rest” (Mat. 11: 28). In order to find peace, one should approach Him and should plead for the restoration of the lost relationship by believing in Jesus. Once you believe in God, He’ll reinstate you as his Son and will make you stronger to face all the trials, by outpouring grace.
Be Content: The root of greed lies with the fear of poverty. Stress is a form of fear. Job hopping (desire for high paid jobs) is not wrong in itself if you have the right motive. If your motive is to make money for yourself, and that too by working beyond your limits, the consequence is stress. The Bible says: “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy. 6.10). It exhorts you to ‘be content’ (1 Tim. 6:6).
Take Rest: Bible says: “By the seventh day, God finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all his work” (Gen. 2:2). Here God established a pattern to follow – work and rest. God had worked and when he found a good stopping point, he rested. You must be able to say Thank God It’s Friday! (TGIF) not in order to unleash your desires and frustrations, but to find a good time to rest and unwind yourself. And then God will make you say, Thank God It’s Monday! (TGIM). This is God’s commandment to His creation as well – to take rest once in a week (Exo. 20:10).
Have Faith: Bible says do not worry about what to eat, what to drink, and what to wear, for God knows that you need them (Mat. 6: 31,32). Instead, we must caste our burdens upon God, because he cares for us more than we can imagine (1 Pet. 5:7). When stress overwhelmed David, his abode was God alone, for he knew “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psa. 23: 4). One should be aware that God controls every circumstance and he may use stress as a means to draw us nearer to Him and to know His purpose more closely. Though circumstances seem adverse, our focus should be on Jesus, who is the ‘author and finisher of our faith’ (Heb. 12:2).
Be Patient: One of the difficulties of workplace stress is to make decisions immediately. Hence decisions without considering the outcome may fail to work. But the Bible says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways…” Be patient with your circumstances and people around you.

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That was the crux of what the devout psychologist told Jerry. Though Jerry had already heard about Jesus in prayer meetings conducted weekly at his college, he didn’t think Jesus could impact and change lives. After listening to the spiritual means to tackle stress, Jerry let his heart open to the new realities of life. Until now, he had considered the Bible only as a religious body of text. Now he found out that it could transform lives and deal with every problem in life. And that enlightenment made his day. He walked back from the hospital with a new perspective and purpose. He is a new man now.

Gean Terence

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