Dwarfed September 2016
Just three hours into a twelve hour series of DVD lectures on the effects of stress, I have become impressed about the enormous untapped potential of we humans. We think our lives are filled with stress, but 99% of the time it is nothing like that in other times, other countries, or other families.
Here is how the body works. It has a desire to propagate the species (our sex drive) and a desire to grow in stature. Those work just fine when all is well in the world of the person who would be considered “normal.” When stress is added, the chemistry of the body changes. The hormones used for procreation and for growth shut down, and the hormones for fighting or running ramp up. This is so critical that it can cause dwarfism in teenagers and younger children who are raised in profound stress. This is called psychosocial dwarfism. “Experiments” regarding this phenomenon have shown that when the stress is removed, the young person proceeds to continue growing into a normal state.
The reason I bring this up is that if you look at earlier humans, they were shorter. Perhaps this was caused by stress because they lived in times of extraordinary uncertainty. There was little protection from wild animals. Some of the wildest might live in the next tribal village across the river. The concept of nations had not yet come into being. Enslavement, kidnapping, and murder between villages were common events, and an average person of that time would have had such possibilities on his mind whenever he left the hut. There was no guarantee that the crops you planted would be watered enough by the rain. Harvests were unpredictable, and occasional famines were common. A very high stress environment wouldn’t you agree?
So, how about now? We have concerns about wars, jobs, cash on hand, credit histories, drug abuse in our family, mental illness, and medical problems. You have heard it said that we only use ten percent of our brain capacity. Perhaps this is a form of psychosocial thinking impediment. Of what would we be capable if peace were guaranteed? If I were so good at my job that I couldn’t be downsized, what would that do to my ability to think? If my marriage was bliss, my children listened to what I said and then did it, road rage didn’t exist, people didn’t steal from each other, no one drove drunk, and I decided to live within my means – how would my brain use the hormones I would have left to consider inventions, goodwill, and relationship improvement? Would I be six foot seven inches tall? Would I have seven children? Would I live longer?
One of the finest things we can do for other humans is to find a way to reduce the stress in their lives. A friend that listens and then offers Godly counsel is a true blessing. The pal that kidnaps you for a movie or game of golf knows that you needed it. The spouse that takes the time to cook your favorite food from scratch creating a moment of joy. And Jesus the Lord of all who says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Doesn’t that just dwarf every other possibility for relief?