My father-in-law recently got a manual apple cider press as a present from his daughters. It has been a great source of entertainment for the past couple of Sundays’ as we picked the abundant ripe apples, sliced them up, and then set them in the press.
We would each take turns cranking the press. With each subsequent turn we would be rewarded with barely noticeable trickles of golden thick syrup. As the press continued downward each turn became harder and harder with many trickles beginning to seep out just a little bit more. After having processed a half bushel of apples we had less than a quart of apple cider to show for it. Disappointment aside we have already created plenty of memories in the process and are simply thankful this is not how we actually have to get our cider…because I am a huge apple cider fan and could easily down a quart of cider in a single sitting.
I’m still left laughing at how twenty pounds worth of apples could through this manual press only give us a quart worth of cider. The math simply just doesn’t seem to add up. How much more could be said of the stress we pile on in our own lives?
We add more stressors and societal pressures almost daily with no end in sight…
The tighter we bear down the less rewards we see trickle from our efforts…
We have to ask ourselves, what really does our stress produce?
I could name a few that have manifested themselves at various stages in my life (and still rear their ugly heads):
issues of self-worth
This list could go on…yet, what if stress didn’t have to produce these feelings and reactions?
What if stress in my life evoked different responses? Stress is never going to be fully removed…so how do we allow it to manifest in a different way?
What if stress produced a greater sense of urgency and prioritization?
What if stress produced a healthy check valve revealing when I’m doing too much?
What if stress produced a greater reliance on prayer in my daily life?
Gosh if this was what stress was actually producing in my life, I’d want MORE stress in my life! (I’m suggesting that tongue-in-cheek…)
Stress doesn’t have to control us! I’ve been challenged in how I can reduce the stress and friction in my daily walk as a spouse and educator at the start of this year.
PEACE in and among the stresses of life is possible and I am so encouraged by the book of Isaiah where over and over again God reminds us of his desire to lift our burden in this life. My favorite is Isaiah 46:4 –
“Even to your old age, I am He, and even to your gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and I will deliver you.”
How encouraging it is to know that we do not walk this life alone for as long as we live. Let us release the pressure of stress today and walk in freedom; those negative responses towards stress do not have to be the “normal” in our lives.
Let our stress create greater dependence and love for the one who bears and knows all.
Take care friends!