(A few friends and I are reading this book together. Each week we are reading one chapter. On Fridays, I am posting my comments, then giving them the opportunity to add their thoughts as well. If you would like to join us or simply find out more about the book, you can read about it here.)
Chapter 4: "The Pain of Stress"
- He was talking about me when he said: "Some in our midst quickly grow impatient with all this stress talk." (pg. 51) He continues to lay the foundation for why we need margin, but I feel it has been laid, and I'm ready to move on.
- Even more than the previous chapters, this one left me longing for the nuts and bolts of the solution. I personally felt too much emphasis was put on "stress" when many of the problems should be viewed Biblically as sin problems. Example: "Some researchers believe fear to be the root cause of all stress reaction." (pg. 50) These fears most likely are sins due to a lack of faith in God, but that is not how they are described. Despite my disagreement, I thought there were a few good things in the chapter.
- "Stress is not the circumstance, it is our response to the circumstance." (pg. 43) This is important because we cannot control our circumstances, but with the Holy Spirit's help, we can control our response, and thus, our "stress level."
- Another example of my problem with this chapter: "Is it [stress] a modern disease?" (pg. 45) Later, he answers the question in the affirmative. Maybe he is not defining this medically, but the fact that too many psychologists label sin problems as medical "diseases" makes me very leery of this wording.
- It was interesting to me to learn that certain psychological stressors affect the body more than physical stressors.
- I would not characterize myself as a "Type A" personality, but I have seen times where I can identify with the thinking that "Margin is not a priority to preserve but a gap to be filled." (pg. 47) He also said of these people, "Productivity is the goal, not living." (pg. 52) I think we often lead productive lives, but productive in the wrong areas.
- Living in another country has helped me to see how we Americans live by the minute as he talked about. We pack our schedules, while others in other cultures are not so worried about such minute amounts of time. There are positives and negatives, but the more relaxed pace has been a blessing.
- "The intact, supportive relationships we all require for healthy living have dissipated under the tutelage of progress. The family has been systematically dismantled, and at the same time, long-term friendships are increasingly rare." (pg. 50) In my opinion, this was the best thought in the chapter. The make-up of the family and its authority structure have been attacked maybe more than anything else. May we build those relationships in our families, and challenge others to do so as well!
I've had my say, what say you?
Discussion on Chapter 3
Discussion on Chapter 5