Monday, August 29, 2016

The Stress Factor

An apple tree was planted in the back yard of where we live a number of years ago.  It grew from a seedling to a mature tree bearing branches of apples, to the enjoyment of humans and horses. Just as we love the taste of apple pie, the horses salivate and slobber munching on apples freshly picked from the tree.  As the tree became a fixture in the yard, it also became witness to the growth of family in their changing seasons as well.  Daughters that surrounded the tree in their play and laughter, who also grew up from seedlings into maturity, eventually leaving to begin their own lives in fruitful adventure.  A swing was eventually fixed to the tree when a grandson came along... again, its branches played a part in giving pleasure. Apple blossoms became a part of spring with the promise of summer fruit.  The tree has never disappointed us in its yearly seasons.

This summer has been a particularly fruitful season.  Many locals have said that fruit trees of all varieties have been extremely full in bearing fruit.  Our apple tree was no exception.  I watched how the branches became ample in produce.  Then, I saw how burdened the branches became in holding such a heavy load.  Combined with the apple weight and the heat of summer, the branches now look miserable in such pregnancy.  The photo below shows a broken branch that could not bear up under the strain put upon it by nature.  I took the photos below to explain the tree's distress.  A bounty of apples for sure but I hope the tree will survive after this summer's labor of fruit.  As I write this post, there are more branches that are in the process of breakage as they bend further to the ground with so great a load.

I would like to use the illustration of the tree and its apples and apply it to the human condition of stress in our every day life.  Imagine the apples to be stress and you are the tree.  Pressures, pulls, strains and tensions all identify stress and if too many and carried too long, can bring about a breaking point.  It has been stated that stress is one of the major causes of illness, whether emotional or physical in our human makeup.  What is a counter to stress?  How can we relieve ourselves of the
burden of stress?  Books have been written about this but what it comes down to is one thing - our individual paths to peace.  Some look for peace in unhealthy ways but end up toxic in varied types of addiction.  Some look for peace in outward pleasures only to find a temporary fix and return to the cycle of stress upon their lives.

God does give us an antidote for stress but it requires an awareness that He is bigger than the turmoil of stress.  Instead of the old saying "mind over matter", it becomes of spiritual significance to remember that we need to go one better... God is greater ...  'Greater is the One living inside of me than he who is living in the world'.   Our minds only complicate stress in its many forms, whereas the Spirit brings relief in ensuing peace.  We can be like that tree planted by the river of life referred to in my post "Current"....

Take time out to watch this short music video called "Greater" - it is a reminder that no matter our circumstance or condition, He is just a breath away with all that you need...

As we roll into September, I hope you will join me in two weeks at The Turn-Up Patch on Monday, September 12.  Until then, here is a great little saying to ponder on... "Cherish Yesterday,  Dream Tomorrow,   Live Today".


1 comment:

  1. Perfect example. The tree looks so stressed and bedraggled compared to the earlier photo! Maybe it needs
    some of that life giving water! Kind of like when we 'drink' from the 'blessed water' of the Holy Spirit that can refresh, renew and relieve us from our burdens! Thanks again Colleen for your inspiration!