In search of a Christian wholistic answer we must understand how the body and soul functions together with God. Let’s start by considering the problem of stress. Alvin Tofler wrote a book years ago entitled Future Shock. He noticed that people were increasingly having problems adapting to the rapid rate of change that our culture was undergoing. About the same time the book, Type A Personality and Your Heart, was published by two cardiologists. They were having their waiting room refurnished, and the workers pointed out that the old furniture was worn out only at the edge of the seats. Most of their patients were stressed out and literally sitting at the edge of the chairs and sofas. They labelled such driven people as type A personalities.

I was a pastor at the time those books were published, and one of our members was an IBM engineer. He read the book and gave me a copy. He said, “You need to read this book. I’m type A and so are you.” I read the book and he was right. I had a type A personality. After reading the book I preached a sermon entitled, “Jesus was type B!” All high achievers are type A, but they are not all stress cases. Why not?

God has designed us to cope with a certain amount of stress. When pressures mount, our adrenal glands respond by secreting cortisol-like hormones into the blood stream, sometimes referred to as an adrenaline rush. It is our natural fight-or-flight response to life’s challenges. When the pressure becomes too much, stress becomes distress, our system breaks down, and we become physically sick. The body can’t keep up with the rapid rate of change. But that is only a physiological perspective. Why can two people be subjected to the same amount of external pressure, and one can’t cope while the other person rises to the challenge? Is it because one has superior adrenal glands? There will be some physical differences between the two, but that is not the major explanation of why one may get sick and the other not.

The major difference between the two is not their glands, but how they mentally respond to their environment. People are not simply shaped by their surroundings. Their response is shaped by what they believe about their experiences, and how they perceive their environment. The mind is the control center, not the glands. I will show how this practically works this week.

Dr. Neil

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