Women and Stress

I’m embarrassed to say I have had Women and Stress: A Practical Approach to Managing Tension by Jean Lush and Pam Vredevelt on my bookshelf for years. Just recently the title caught my eye, and I decided it was about time I got to it.

Jean Rush was a family therapist who was a frequent guest on James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio program. Pam was a counselor.

They start off the book discussing the different things that make us tense (they seem to use stress and tension interchangeably). Then they discuss the typical responses to tension, especially the “fight or flight” responses and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

They use the imagery of a storage pot of tensions, with each person having a different size pot. But eventually, each pot can overflow, causing a mess. But they also talk about energy which seeks a discharge, which reminded me of static electricity.

Then, as the title says, they share some very practical ways to keep the pot from overflowing or the electricity from discharging. They use multitudes of helpful examples from their own lives and practices.

A couple of my favorite quotes from the book:

What are your needs? How do you need God to intervene for you? Talk with Him about your sources of tension. Ask Him for wisdom and guidance. Ask Him for answers. God is not partial. He will do for you what He has done for me and Susan, June, Mrs. Hastings, and countless others. His ears will hear your cry, and He will act on your behalf, but it all must start with you. Carve out some time to be alone with Him. Tune your ears to listen to His Spirit. Open your heart to receive from Him. Then get ready. Watch. Wait. In time, you’ll sense Him filling the holes in your soul (p. 91).

I believe many of life’s greatest blessings come wrapped in struggle paper. Unwrapping those blessings takes time. It’s a process consisting of several phases (p. 256).

I appreciated the authors’ down-to-earth approach. Their chapters weren’t weighted down with clinical language or vague theories. I loved that they centered their advice around God and His ways and Word.

I think the authors and I would agree on core Biblical issues, but I think we come from different faith traditions. On the very first page, Jean mentions something that I would disagree with. I went back and forth about whether to get into the issue here, and decided against it. It would take a while to explain adequately and might be misunderstood. But, like any book, we read with discernment and compare what we read with Scripture.

This book was published in 1992. It doesn’t mention some ways to relieve tension that you might find in a modern book, but I liked its “old school” approach. Even though it’s older, and I might not agree with every little point, I found much helpful information here.