This is the second part of a message given at the Thai that Binds Missionary Ladies Retreat. I have not changed much of the message, even though the original one was written for missionary ladies. Why? I am glad you asked! We all have stress, but not all stress is the same. Sometimes, I look at what triggers stress in my life, and then I listen to someone else complain about being stressed, and my thought is, “Seriously?! Are you kidding me?” Then there are those times I think the same thing about myself. Sigh. But that’s not really why I choose not to change much of the message. The reason is because regardless of the cause, the solution is the same! Read on and see!
Here in Thailand, survival stress is not our biggest problem (in my opinion), but it is still something we deal with. For me, this is everytime I am on the scooter. I do not like them at all! Do you have any stress of this type in your life? Your kids might. When people they don’t know reach out to pat their hands or try to hold them-this can stress your kids and cause their fight or flight instinct to kick in. I think serious illness might fall under this type of stress as well. How do you deal with these situations?
How to deal:
Speaking at this retreat—way out of my comfort zone, and could have been a huge stress had I let it. What about when you need to speak Thai—-in front of a fellow missionary? Or understand something someone says in Thai? Stress, right? What are your biggest internal stressors and how do you deal with them?
How to deal:
Culture shock—while it sounds bad, it is not always bad. When our pastor came to visit us, he had a good laugh at himself all because of a power strip. You know how they can be such a pain to get things to actually plung in! It is either too tight or too loose. He was a missionary in Ukraine and is actually on deputation right now to go to Armenia, and he said that outlets and power strips drove him crazy in Ukraine, but he forgot all about it until he used ours. That is just one example of culture shock and enviromental stress. What about being surrounded by those who worship idols? There is an oppressiveness here that we, maybe, do not necessarily see or can name, but it is here. This type of stress could also come from pollution (rice paddy burning), MSG, noise, heat….your enviroment in general.
What about you? Identify some enviromental stressors in your life.
How to deal:
Do I even need to explain this one? We all know what this looks like and feels like (even though it is not the same for everyone), and sometimes, it just cannot be helped. Such is life. But there are other times when, well, we simply need to just stop. I, actually, do not like to have a lot of activities, or things going on at one time. I have a natural tendency to crave slow, which can be both a good and bad thing. Maybe it comes from living with my grandparents while growing up. They did not take life at a fast pace at all. It means I say “no” pretty easily, but maybe too easily, too often. However, what I have learned about myself is that instead of overwhelming myself all at once, I will work consistently at this “slower pace” and for a long time. Then, I use my slower pace as a reason why I don’t, or can’t, take a break. Are you fatigued and overworked right now? Be honest!
How to deal:
I will end with this: My favorite Psalm is Psalm 23, and my favorite verse is verse 1, but verses 2 & 3 are such peaceful verses, that tell us God gives us rest—-and it fits all three categories.
Psalm 23:2-3 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures (physical—again, take a nap!): he leadeth me beside the still waters (mental-I am just following-I dont’ have to think about it, I’m not talking, I’m just resting as I walk) He restoreth my soul (spiritual-Through trials and tribulations, He is the one who restores us): he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Hi! My name is Rachael and I am a child of God. I was saved from sin and all its bondage at the age of 21. I am married to an incredible man. He constantly challenges me to grow closer to my Saviour. We have three beautiful children that love the Lord. Currently, our family is preparing to go to Thailand as missionaries.