HA! What a question! Do you have stress? Don't we all? But the important question is how do you deal with it?
I have realized something lately....we all try to deal with it ourselves! Why do we do that to ourselves? That actually just piles on MORE stress! But realistically, why do we do that? I know for me I try to deal with it myself for a variety of reasons. I don't want to bother my family or friends. I know everyone else has enough junk to deal with and I don't want to bother them, add to their stress or a variety of other things. I sometimes feel like it is a weakness to admit I need help. I sometimes am embarrassed that I can't deal with it as well as I feel I should. Or think I am stressed over things that don't stress other people.
Anyone else ever feel like that?
Well, I was thinking about it today and I remembered...yeah, I know, a bit late, that I don't HAVE to deal with stress alone! For starters, I have God. An amazing and wonderfully loving God who WANTS me to come to him with my stress! And even if I don't go to him, he knows anyway. It isn't like with a friend that I can try to not bother them and they are clueless.
So as I sit here today, trying NOT to focus on all the millions of things I need to get done, or how stressful the evening running around will be, I am resting in him. I am relaxing and knowing that he will be with me today no matter what I go through. He knows all the things I forget and how important they are. He knows how I try to keep organized (and fail!). He knows what works for me and what frustrates me. He also helps me remember and try new things to see what works for me. I have to CHOOSE, DAILY, to trust that he is with me no matter what. That doesn't make the stress go away, it just makes it easier!
So, how can I deal with stress, since it DOES exist and I can't avoid it? First, I am going to acknowledge it. I am stressed. Partially because of things I can control and partially because of things I can't control. Identifying what you CAN control is next. If you are in charge of it and it stresses you, figure out how to change that! For me, I am an avoider. If I know something is going to stress me or be difficult, I avoid it. Then I stress and worry because it isn't done. DUH! If I would just do it and get it over with, then yes, I would have some stress, but then it would be done! We did that with our taxes this year. Usually we have them done in early February but this year with our exchange student we weren't really sure how to do them so we just kept putting them off. Yep, right up until Sunday. Then it turned out they were pretty easy and we cheated ourselves out of our return for quite a long time! Sounds silly, but we did it!
After I change the things that I CAN change and acknowledged that I can't change some things, I have to change my attitude. I spend a lot of time frustrated by the things I can't change. Like that does any good, right? So instead, when there are things beyond my control I am working on REGULARLY and CONSISTENTLY giving them to God. Simply acknowledging that he is in control of the situation and he sees the big picture is pretty comforting. Some people will rely on a Bible verse or a phrase that calms or comforts them. It doesn't happen overnight.
The last thing I am really working on is to STOP! Stop worrying, stop fretting and mostly stop dwelling on the negatives. This became clear to me last week when I had a really busy week and I was REALLY looking forward to my Friday home...all day....just me and James....working on business stuff....blogging....hanging out....catching up on chores.....etc. Hmmm....was that God's plan? Apparently not. I had a friend who had her dad die that morning. So I grabbed some food and headed to her house. I felt really silly because I took a laundry basket (yes, really) full of "stuff" and it is a friend that even though we get along, we don't spend that much time together so I wasn't entire confident that she "needed" me. So I packed up my food and my makings for chai and I headed over there. I parked myself in her kitchen, made chai, started a meal in the crock pot and basically hung out and listened to her talk. I let my little man play with her children and distract them. I stressed that I wasn't doing enough and yada yada yada. Then God knocked on my heart and told me it wasn't about ME...it was about HER. I was filling a need. Even if I didn't feel useful. And all of the sudden, my stress left. I wasn't worried about what I WASN'T doing. I was just enjoying strengthening a friendship. I was not worrying about all the "Stuff" and I was worrying about my friend. Yes, it was a really long day. No, I didn't get anything done that I had planned, but I followed God's plan and I felt no stress about what I didn't get done. It was still all waiting for me on Saturday!
So today is another day when I could stress, lots to do, unsure of the exact schedule, a long list of things to do, etc. And yet, I am at peace. God is in control and I am allowing that. And just since I started typing this, one of the things that I was regretting saying yes to because it was causing me a scheduling conflict and some stress got cancelled. See, calm down, focus on God and give him the stress. He is so much better at dealing with it than I am! I think I will head out to finish my day calmer and less stressed, more focused on him today!
How will you handle your stress today? Alone or with Him?