You may remember that I was supposed to be en route to Arkansas for the wedding of my Sweet Cousin this coming week. However, in an uncharacteristically spontaneous decision, Sweetman and I decided to spend this school vacation time with our children, who were not going to be attending the wedding with us. They are young. This time is precious. And so, we will be venturing back toward a place that brings each one of us tremendous joy.
When I first broke the news, to The Nana and Captain Ahab, that we wouldn’t be joining them on this Arkansas Adventure after all, they were understandably upset. And disappointed. I detest disappointing anyone. It causes me great stress.
I’d venture to say that I’m not alone in this. Amen?
I recently began my next Online Bible Study, with Melissa Taylor and the ladies over at Proverbs 31 Ministries. (Don’t worry, you aren’t imagining it. There was absolutely no segue there.) The study, this time around, is based on the book “Stressed Less Living” by Tracie Miles.
No. God’s work in us is always timely.
In this week’s chapter, the effects of stress and where stress originates, were being discussed. We were encouraged to take some time to step back and take a good hard look at how stress affects our lives and how it can motivate us to make changes.
I so wish we could sit down over a cup of good strong coffee, or tea, and talk through exactly where the majority of your stress comes from and brainstorm ways to eradicate it from your life. I also wish y’all could just magically appear, right here in my living room, and do the same for me.
One particular question that we were challenged to consider, struck a chord with me. What do you see in your life that needs the biggest change?
No small question, that one.
I look in the mirror and here is what I see: a body that is beginning to make changes, for the better, for the first time in a long time. Over that? I have control. Oh, yes indeedy!
But, as I began to take stock of the other situations, people, and circumstances that bring stress into my life, two very clear thoughts began to emerge.
1) The rest of the stressors in my life are almost entirely beyond my control.
The passing of Sweetdog last July. A new preschool schedule that collided with my Bible study Leadership position at church. Our son’s unique challenges and the new changes to his initial diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum. I was, and am, at best, able to manage these things.
At worst, I’ve eaten my sorrow over these things, let my anger ooze out onto my family because of them, or checked out emotionally as I realized my helplessness in them.
Realizing that I can’t control these things? Acknowledging it by writing it down? That was eye-opening!
2) Every time, and I mean Every Single Time, that I call out to God for him to just… HELP ME, please!… He does.
Does God instantly remove any stress that is in my life because I ask Him too? No. He’s not a cosmic vending machine. This God, my God, is a God who sometimes lets the stress of a situation break me until I come to Him, completely depleted, and in desperate need of His Holy intervention.
But, sometimes, He answers me instantly.
And, always, His answer is timely.
It surely is. And always will be.
The mirror wasn’t as harsh as it has been toward me in the past. Instead, this time, I saw many a mighty burden being lifted right up off of my weary shoulders.
I saw myself being rescued from the stress that so often encumbers. And, right in the nick of time.