“Dad, do you have some vaseline ointment?”
My daughter pointed at the corners of her mouth. “It’s getting cracked and red.”
“Ah, no problem. I have some lip balm in my office that has a mild topical steroid in it to assist in healing. I’ll bring it home tomorrow night.”
“Sure thing.” I looked at my daughter and smiled. “You know, Sweetheart, I know the weather is getting drier but what you have could also be caused by stress. It’s called angular cheilitis.”
“But Dad!” My daughter protested. “I’m not stressed!”
I laughed. “Say it LOUDER!”
Angular cheilitis is one of many diseases that can be activated or worsened by stress. Just last month, I self-treated a stye on my left lower eyelid, another condition that can also be caused by stress. Even if we do not feel or actively show our stress, we internalize much of it. There are blood tests like measuring one’s serum cortisol levels that correlate with one’s level of stress. Over time elevated cortisol levels may increase one’s risk of stroke, hypertension, heart disease, and even cancer. Whenever we start discussing a contentious issue, a physician friend of mine likes to say, “This is raising my cortisol levels! We have to stop!”
I’m not stressed!
I can convince myself and others that this is true, but God created our bodies to be an accurate and precise barometer of our true nature and the state of our souls. He gives us warning signs, both biological and spiritual. God gave our bodies elevated blood cortisol levels and angular cheilitis and God has given us our conscience, which convicts us of our sins through the action of the Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am in distress. Tears blur my eyes. My body and soul are withering away. I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Sin has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within.
Psalms 31:9-10 (NLT)
We internalize many emotions and stress and this may lead to further stress and disease. As God’s Word graphically describes, when we do this, our body and soul literally wither away. Why would we continue to allow this to happen? Why are we are unwilling to give these burdens to God and stubbornly cling to our solutions, which inevitably fail? God always has the answer!
But I am trusting you, O LORD, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands….
Psalms 31:14-15 (NLT)
God created us, He knows how to cure us. All we need to do is…
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.