There is a world-famous study of the relationships between work, stress and health called Whitehall II, named after the area of London, where the civil servants, who are studied, do their work.
It is a massive study discovering a multitude of relationships, but I will mention just one. Traditionally, people used to picture the stereotype of the stressed executive trying to handle the pressures of senior-level work.
Whitehall II started to show that those in the middle and lower levels of seniority were, in fact, suffering higher levels of stress-related poor health.
As you might expect there were many reasons revealed, but it seems that greater freedom and control along with the ability to make one’s own decisions resulted in better health.
Simply put, higher status led to lower stress. The study deserves more detailed reporting than I can write in this piece but let me make some spiritual connections for you.
We have been looking at David’s kindness to his deceased best friend’s son, Mephibosheth. A massive part of that kindness was to restore Mephibosheth to a high status at court. In effect, David adopted him and treated him as if he were his own son. He gave him a permanent place at his table and gifted him with all he needed for the rest of his life.
The Christian biblical message is full of teaching about how God, our Heavenly Father, adopts you into his love and gives you permanent status as a child of God. For permanent, read eternal.
This elevation of status creates for you benefits like those experienced by the senior workers in the Whitehall II study.
The impact of your adoption as a child of God affects your stress levels by bestowing upon you a deep sense of worth, being loved, forgiven, restored and cherished. It is not just a sense of these things; they are a reality.
I want to add one point which is very simple yet has been overlooked many times. God is neither male nor female. It is very common in the Bible to read of God described as Father, but all the pictures of God are that, pictures. It is really saying God is like a father. The Bible also contains images of God as mother, midwife or nurse. (See Isaiah 42:14 or 49:15 as just two of many examples).
The point is that God makes us beneficiaries of an all-embracing love, like a father, like a mother. Both the father and mother images and others speak into your soul and generate, by the power of the Holy Spirit within you, a status that cannot be taken away from you. It is important to remember all the images of God’s love because your woundedness will respond to different expressions to God’s love, depending your life path.
Whatever pressures, stressors or battles come your way nothing and no one this week can separate you from this love. That will, without a doubt, impact your stress levels.
Work well today,
© Geoff Shattock October 2019
2 Samuel 4:4
4 (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.)
2 Samuel 9:1-13
1David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” “At your service,” he replied. 3 The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.” 4 “Where is he?” the king asked. Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.” 5 So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel. 6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, “Mephibosheth!” “At your service,” he replied. 7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” 8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” 9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.) 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s[a] table like one of the king’s sons. 12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mika, and all the members of Ziba’s household were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet.
See also: 1 Samuel 31
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