SEAN: Dad, what are some of the biggest stresses in your life?
JOSH: I’m a high-control person, so probably my biggest stresses come when I am exceptionally tired or weary and feel out of control. It can be tough, but I know its good for me. For instance, when I go through customs and immigration in certain countries that don’t have the same rule of law as we have in ours, I feel considerable stress. It’s stressful because the officers have complete control and I am largely at their mercy.
SEAN: Do you think stress is a unique characteristic of this younger generation?
JOSH: No, it just might be different stress. There has been stress since the time of Adam and Eve. Even though the specific stressors come and go, there always has been stress, and there always will be stress. But I truly believe, in my life, I have probably grown more because of the stress in my life than anything else. Stress causes me to really trust God and look to his provision rather than my own strength and abilities. It’s a great reminder that God is ultimately in control and that we are dependent upon Him.
SEAN: How do you handle stress so it doesn’t overcome you?
JOSH: I wish I could say I always handled stress well, but it has overcome me a number of times. It doesn’t overcome me near as much now as it used to, but the moment I take my eyes off of Christ, the stress wins and it begins to affect me deeply. To defeat stress, I have to coach myself and actually say to myself, “God is ultimately in control.” I have to remind myself that I have committed everything in my life to God, including my marriage, family, ministry, etc. And, almost always, when I look at the situation in light of eternity, I can handle it. Reminding myself of God’s sovereignty gives me the strength to handle stress. When I don’t keep eternity in perspective, I lose it.
Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 15 books, an internationally recognized speaker, and a part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog at seanmcdowell.org.