Tag Archives: middle zone musings

What I learned from stress


I’m supposed to write a post for Robert Hruzek’s group writing project. And the theme is “What I learned from stress.”

And I just know that he wants something about how stress helps us find out what we really believe rather than what we say we believe.

Or that stress in life is like the accent in a word…it changes the meaning and helps us understand. (content and content, for example).

Or that stress is a refining process.

But I’m not sure I’ve learned those things from stress.

Here’s what I have discovered, however about stress. I would say learned, but I haven’t learned these because I all too frequently act as if they are brand new:

  1. Stress fractures. I am more cranky then usual when stretched. And there is greater likelihood of thoughtless comments, of raised (or lowered) voices, of (more than usual) stupid words uttered. (In fact, I’m feeling cranky now. hmm.)
  2. Stress causes (adrenaline) addictions. I have this odd belief that I write better under pressure. It goes way back. As a result, I think I might almost intentionally put things off so I can get the rush.
  3. Stress, relieved, leads to migraines. You’ve read about my migraines before if you have been reading this blog. After unusually busy times with poor sleep and poor rest and poor silence and poor balance, my head explodes. Often not in the middle of the chaos, but when there is a moment of stopping. (They used to come on my day off. So I tried not taking one. But that wasn’t particularly helpful.)
  4. Stress, good or bad, wears.
  5. Stress causes candy corn. Or maybe it just leads to candy corn. Or coffee. Or donuts. Or whatever is around. (Oddly, it hardly ever leads to carrots.)
  6. Stress is. Can’t avoid it, it’s not life without it. And it’s existence can’t be denied.
  7. Stress is often a result of choices. When I decided to finish this post in a little window of time which suddenly took longer than I planned and means that I am now almost late to the next event, my choice increased the tension in my chest and the sense of needing to rush and the beginning of the excuse-generating mechanism and….i gotta go. I’ll be back later.

    [3.5 hours later, after discovering that the event was at 7:00am not 7:30am]

  8. Stress acknowledged and reflected on and managed and released teaches. Stress unexamined or examined trains. Training builds habits. Teaching builds understanding. (I know, oversimplified, optimistic. Deal with it.) We may learn nothing from the stress in our lives and our reactions to it and to other people. However, stress can train us…to avoid certain people, to pursue certain activities, to live in fear.

Now, go read the rest of the posts that Robert will link to. They will tell you all the good stuff that people have learned from stress. I’ll just sit here and relax. And eat candy corn.


Where I’ve been – 2007

pathI wanted to look back at 2007. I really did. But somehow, finding the time to look back has been challenging. There were lots of trees and leaves.


Enter Robert Hruzek. Robert does a monthly (or so) writing challenge asking for posts on the theme, “what I learned from…” The “from” varies each month, but the challenge of writing to a theme is a helpful thing. (I’ve written a couple times in this series).

His end of year challenge was, “What I learned from 2007” and the project was to pick one post from each month of the year that represented some significance. I finally settled down to write that post, and Robert has it up here What I learned from 2007. (He did this as a blogapalooza which means that all of the posts are put up on his blog, Middle Zone Musings, with links back to here.

It was a great exercise, realizing how much I’ve written, how much I’ve learned, how much you have meant to me. So head over there and see whether you agree with my choices.

In the process of compiling that list, I realized that I’ve been writing in other places as well.


A couple times this year, Liz Strauss let me guest post on her blog. This has been a privilege and a challenge. One of the things that marks Liz’s blog is that she comments on every comment. Every one. In almost real time.

And Liz gets a lot of comments.

When you write for Liz, you want to keep the conversation going, which means a significant commitment for the day or two following. Having done that twice, I have a deep appreciation for the commitment Liz has for her community. In her blog she talks often about relationship. In her comments, she lives that commitment.

Thanks, Liz for letting me stop by on December 5 (Are you blogging for as many or as much?) and August 15 (Shaping the world in little ways.)


Through Liz this year, I met Joanna Young. She lives in Edinburgh and writes well about writing well. I mean really well.

One of the things she did this year was to try having guest writers. She opened up her sitting room in September and invited three of us to take the lead in conversation about authentic writing. (Robert wrote one, and Emma Bird wrote the other. Growing out of that collaboration, Emma and Joanna are hosting a writing holiday in Italy.)

So thanks, Joanna for letting me stop by September 13 (Sometimes I write hollow.)

Next Wave

Next-wave.org is an online journal about church and culture. Thanks to editor Bob Hyatt, I was able to write twice for them, once on Twitter (June) and once on the advent blog I wrote (December).

Related Blogs

In addition to writing here at Levite and at these other places, I wrote at two other blogs I created (deliberate disciple and advent2007) at various times this year.

Looking ahead.

There are several projects bouncing in my head, particularly as I begin understanding how social media is going to interact in my new position at Grabill Missionary Church.

In the works already, and unrelated to GMC, is lent2008.wordpress.com. This blog will start running within a week or so. Eight of us are working together to write this, attempting in community to reflect on the lenten season. The challenge is that only some of us know each other face to face. Most of the relationship has developed on-line. We are very excited about the interaction already happening. You’ll enjoy it, too.


I’m thinking that I generated a lot of words in 2007. Thanks to each of you who reads and comments, whether face to face or in the comment section or through email or through a twitter reference or other link. I am grateful for the community that stops by here. I’m grateful for you.