Smooth Sail­ing on Stormy Seas

Activated - - NEWS - By David Bolick David Bolick is a med­i­cal tourism fa­cil­i­ta­tor and co­founder of MediTravel So­lu­tions. He lives in Guadala­jara, Mex­ico.

1. Note: Stom­ach ul­cers are caused by dif­fer­ent things, in­clud­ing the bac­te­ria H. py­lori or overuse of painkillers. Stress can be a con­tribut­ing fac­tor.

2. See John 6:16–21.

3. See John 14:27.

4. Philip­pi­ans 4:6–7 NLT

5. See Acts 16:23–34.

6. See Acts chap­ter 27.

For a good bit of my life, I’ve been a wor­rier. My take on the “power of pos­i­tive think­ing” / “look on the bright side” phi­los­o­phy was, “Bah, hum­bug! That kind of ad­vice is for wimps. I’m a re­al­ist. When the go­ing gets rough, I worry about it! No apolo­gies.” It’s not that I’m a pes­simist; it’s just that I’d fret when things hap­pened that I couldn’t con­trol. (I have to ad­mit that I’d fret a fair bit over things I could con­trol, too.) It should come as no sur­prise then that over time I had un­know­ingly de­vel­oped an ul­cer which then be­came ag­gra­vated.

1 I first no­ticed the symptoms on the eve of an ex­pe­di­tion into “un­charted seas” with a fair amount of risk and stress in­volved, but I man­aged to mud­dle through. My ship was leaky, but I was able to bail the wa­ter out and keep sail­ing.

This went on for sev­eral years, un­til one day when in­stead of ta­per­ing off and go­ing away on their own, the symptoms came on stronger than ever—and then in­ten­si­fied some more. I couldn’t man­age them the way I usu­ally did, and I be­gan rapidly los­ing weight. My ship was sink­ing! The doc­tor’s di­ag­no­sis was a bleed­ing ul­cer and se­vere gas­tri­tis. He pre­scribed an­tibi­otics and told me to watch what I ate. Af­ter a time in “dry dock,” the leak was patched, the symptoms cleared up, and I’m happy to say that they haven’t both­ered me for about eight years now.

But I don’t think this voy­age would have ended so hap­pily had I sim­ply limited my­self to the doc­tor’s ad­vice. The state I was in drove me to look to God as well, and His mes­sage to me was di­rect: “Get with the pro­gram, sailor! Stress man­age­ment is for you too.”

And here’s where the story gets in­ter­est­ing. My life went on with­out any ma­jor re­vamp­ing. I still get hit with worry, but in­stead of con­tin­u­ing along on that tack, I catch my­self and re­al­ize I’m get­ting off course. Then I ei­ther get my bear­ings on my own, or ask my wife or some­one else to pray for me, and that does it. The first step was ac­cept­ing that I needed to change—that no mat­ter how care­ful I was about diet and ex­er­cise, large help­ings of worry and stress were harm­ful, like try­ing to nav­i­gate and scut­tle the ship at the same time.

It’s like the story in John 6 about the dis­ci­ples hav­ing a hard time of it, try­ing to row their boat in a strong wind, with rough waves, in the dark. They saw Je­sus walk­ing to­ward them on the wa­ter and were ter­ri­fied. But He said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were ea­ger to let Him in the boat, and im­me­di­ately they ar­rived at their des­ti­na­tion!

2 Not long af­ter, Je­sus told His dis­ci­ples that He would leave them His peace and told them not to be trou­bled or fear­ful. The apos­tle Paul

3 gave his read­ers the fol­low­ing for­mula for peace of mind: “Don’t worry about any­thing; in­stead, pray about ev­ery­thing. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will ex­pe­ri­ence God’s peace, which ex­ceeds any­thing we can un­der­stand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Je­sus.”

4

Paul him­self cer­tainly spent a lot of time in a va­ri­ety of very stress­ful places, from rag­ing seas to pri­son and more. Once, he was set free by an earth­quake; other times, he had to tough

5 it out for long days and nights6—but no mat­ter what hap­pened to him, he was never left com­fort­less. God al­ways saw him through. Though my tale is nowhere near as har­row­ing and thrilling as any of his, I have ex­pe­ri­enced the same peace—my de­liv­er­ance from be­ing a chronic wor­rier is proof that Je­sus can do it for any­one.

Stress is not what hap­pens to us. It’s our re­sponse to what hap­pens. And re­sponse is some­thing we can choose.— Mau­reen Killoran The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traf­fic jams, health chal­lenges, or other cir­cum­stances. It comes from your thoughts about th­ese cir­cum­stances.— An­drew Bern­stein (b. 1949), Amer­i­can au­thor and philoso­pher Our anx­i­ety does not empty to­mor­row of its sor­row, but only emp­ties to­day of its strength.— Charles Spur­geon (1834–1892), Bri­tish Bap­tist preacher

For fast-act­ing re­lief, try slow­ing down.— Lily Tom­lin (b. 1939), Amer­i­can co­me­dian, writer, and pro­ducer It makes no sense to worry about things you have no con­trol over be­cause there’s noth­ing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do con­trol? The ac­tiv­ity of wor­ry­ing keeps you im­mo­bi­lized.— Wayne Dyer (b. 1940), Amer­i­can au­thor and mo­ti­va­tional speaker

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