How many times in your day do you feel like you were rushing around trying to put out one fire after another? How many times during the day are you actually at peace with yourself and you don’t feel like you have to hurry up to get to the next task on your list?
If you can go day in and day out without feeling the need to be rushing around from one fire, to another task to satisfy a need for someone else, to accomplishing something that you forgot to do yesterday… I applaud you. But that is not me! If you are like me and many others we have not figured out how to appropriately manage our time and our stressors. Thus, rushing around is all we know. It’s not healthy, but hey…we have made it this far, right?
From taking care of elderly parents, rushing kids to school, trying to finish homework assignments, being a teacher and grading papers, the list doesn’t end. Managing personal health problems, drama at work, stress with significant others, bills, say what? We all have stressors and pressures in life. These struggles and different types of anxiety, can attack us from all angles of life. As someone who suffers from stress and anxiety, I know how important it is to keep the right perspective on things. Easier said than done though, right?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6 NIV
Also, easier said than done. It’s easy to think we can bottle up all the things in life that consume our thoughts, place them in a box, take them to God, set them down and walk away. Never giving another worry about them. I’m not too sure that’s what this verse calls us to do. You see, God wants us to take action. The action isn’t hanging it over to him to fix and not doing anything about it ourselves.
“So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 NIV
God’s promise does not free us from doing some of the heavy lifting ourselves.
We are not promised that God will solve our problems and we won’t have to pray, follow His word, or change some of our own behaviors. Giving our worries to God does not mean we are absent of having to make personal adjustments.
Here’s an example:
Having a full-time job, donating time to volunteer activities and other obligations at church can be hard to manage when it comes to time commitments. I send up all the prayers I can think of, beg God for a solution. While I do these things, I continue to cram my schedule and nothing changes. I pray harder, I get plugged in to the right communities, I surround myself with friends who have the same values, but still my prayers go unanswered.
Here’s the same example with a much different viewpoint:
Having a full-time job, donating time to volunteer activities and other obligations at church can be hard to manage when it comes to time commitments. While I send up prayers to God, I get organized and prioritize my schedule. Looking at the commitments I have made, I decide which ones I should prayerfully consider stepping down from. Seeking wise counsel, God begins to reveal to me which priorities are most important and advancing His kingdom. Then it becomes very clear what should stay on my schedule.
My first moments awake I spend with God. No, this was not always the case. I used to be so wrapped up in my work and social media, I would check on those things first. Now, before my feet hit floor (or at least while I’m brushing my teeth) I am spending time in the word. I’m reading, or listening to my daily devotional and praying for different areas in my life.
My last moments awake I spend with God. This too wasn’t always the case. Don’t tell anyone, but I have several shows I like to watch, but because I don’t have time (no pun intended) I record them on my DVR to watch later. I used to spend the last hours of my days watching TV. Not anymore. A very close friend of mine told me about a meditation app, which I have been using. If it’s not that, I’m listening to worship music as I drift asleep. This forces me to relax my mind and make every attempt possible to close out my days peacefully.
When you aren’t sure… Just ask.
Seek wise counsel and identify the things in your daily life that are creating the most stress in your routine. Ask yourself, or even write down the pros and cons of that activity. If there are more cons on the list and you’ve gone to God in prayer over them, ask yourself if that particular thing is truly necessary to have you all worked up over and rushing around to accomplish on a regular basis.