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Most of us are trying to find ways to reduce our stress levels, and rightly so in many cases. But a completely stress free life doesn’t provide us with the deep satisfaction our souls desire either. We must discover our optimal levels of stress tolerance to thrive. 

To be sure, we cannot grow a six-pack sitting on the couch eating junk food. We must submit our body to the stress of working out to get into shape. But working out everyday with no time to rest and recover sets us up for many injuries. To get in shape we must discover how much stress our bodies can tolerate without causing harm. 

And the same is true for the rest of our life.

For instance, our souls slowly die inside when our work doesn’t provide meaningful challenges for us to wrestle with. But it can be just as defeating when it feels like we can never catch our breath. 

There’s also a sense in which we should be able to rest in our marriage and friendships. This is part of their beauty. But this doesn’t mean we get to grow complacent. Without sufficient relational stress we stop growing, our relationships become stagnant, and we soon drift apart.

Likewise, there are levels of spiritual tension and stress we must submit to in order to continue growing in our faith. While we don’t want to be completely overwhelmed in despair, we shouldn’t expect our spiritual life to be a cakewalk either. 

Whatever it looks like, we must tolerate the discomfort and stress needed to grow. This is not to overextend or otherwise be unkind to ourselves. But we miss much of the goodness in life when stress-free living is the ultimate goal. 

In the end, be diligent in eliminating all the unnecessary stress in your life. But remember the good life is not without its stressors. Learn to build your stress tolerance to experience all the good God has for you.  

Photo by Kate Trysh on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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