Good Stress, Bad Stress
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Matthew 6:27
We are in the holiday season. At some point someone will probably ask, “How was your vacation?” Often times I have this thought, “Good, but now I need a vacation to recuperate from my vacation.”
Why do vacations and holidays wear us thin? Because good stress and bad stress both have a depleting affect on your body’s energy and emotions. We look forward to our time off, but then we find ourselves more exhausted after the fact.
Most often by “making the most” of our time off, we exhaust ourselves with over-commitment. But many times we underestimate the emotional drain we experience reconnecting with family members and friends. Whether we feel the pressure to catch everyone up on the last few years of life experience in a conversation or two, or we feel apprehensive to be happy when life hasn’t been going so great, holidays can be a source of anxiety.
We can’t always avoid the sources of our stress, so we have to develop a plan to prepare for it.
My biggest challenge in taking care of my family is making sure we have everything we need: milk, cereal, clothes, sports equipment, school supplies, etc. The needs are endless.
One morning, my first panicked thought was, “I hope the kids have food for breakfast.” Immediately, I heard a little boy’s voice say, “Mom, we don’t have any…”
“Don’t say it!” I heard myself thinking. “I don’t even want to know what we don’t have.” But when my kids have a need, it’s my job to provide something out of their nothing.
Jacob was satisfied by a small bowl of cereal. But, then there was none left for Joseph. When I walked into the kitchen, my little shadow (Joseph) followed me around as I checked our supplies: no bacon, eggs, toast, waffles. Thankfully, I found some stone-ground oats, raisins and whole milk.
As I poured the milk in a pot, a Joseph asked, “Can I help?” Under his breath, in a sweet little whisper, I heard him say, “I knew you’d come up with something.”
As I soaked up his trusting love, I heard the Holy Spirit ask, “Wouldn’t it be easier if you trusted me like this? When you’re empty, what will it take for you to say to me, ‘I know you’ll come up with something.’”
When your life feels barren, who do you trust? If we’re honest, we usually trust our own strength or problem solving skills. But where do we go when there’s no solution to our problem, no happiness for tomorrow, no money for today, or possibly no joy during a holiday season?
Maybe we could all learn a couple of things from my “Big Joe.”
- Stop Relying on Yourself: Our Father has resources we don’t see because we’re too busy trying to control our situation.
- Tell Yourself to Trust Him: When control tries to creep into your soul, express your stress to God. Take a breather and pray. Don't think about praying or ask someone else. Do it yourself.
- Follow His Lead: Just like Joseph followed me around the kitchen, we have to let God lead us to a place of peace and provision.
- Take Your Seat at God's Table: When our cupboard is dry, take a seat at his table and wait. I have a sneaky feeling he has a bowl of oatmeal (or a cup of coffee) waiting for us.
Offer It Up:
Here’s a prayer I’ve been praying almost every day. If you’re stressed join with me, “God I can’t control what’s going on, so choose to trust and take each day at a time.”
© 2014 by Sharie King. All rights reserved.
- We can't always avoid the source of our stress, so we have to develop a plan to prepare for it.
- Good stress and bad stress both have a depleting affect on your body’s energy and emotions.
- When control creeps into your soul, express your stress to God instead.