Monday, November 19, 2012

Stressed Out and Freaking Out!

             I am a stressor- I get stressed out very quickly and very easily when I think I have too much to do. I begin to worry about how I am going to get it all done, how I am going to have the time to do it all and if I will be able to accomplish the tasks. Lately, I have found myself back into this mindset of too much to do and too little time to do it. (I call it my “Martha Mind”) I, once again, begin stressing myself out and my stress ends up robbing me of any joy I may have had in the tasks at hand. It is an endless cycle and I am to a point where I am just not sure if I can do it anymore. The older I get the more I realize that everything will take place in its own time, and there is no need for me to fret and worry over it. But, knowing this and walking in it are two different things.
                Saturday morning, I woke up with the thought of “I have so much to do today, how shall I ever get it done?” Immediately, I began to worry and fret, and found myself stressed out over the smallest of details. As I began to knock down my “to do” list for the day, I found that I was still stressing. I went from an early morning visit to one of my pups, to cleaning my house, then back and forth I went throughout the whole day getting this done, and that done, and finding that I had little to no time for rest. But the Lord, who is always with me, and sees me better than I see myself spoke to my heart the words I needed to hear so desperately. He told me to rest and to take time, He will always give me the time that I need to accomplish all that is before me. I have no need to stress and I have no need to worry. Because, in all reality, I stress and I worry, and then after it is all said and done, I find that it was not that bad at all. I accomplished all the tasks He gave me, and I finished in time to have the rest my body needed.
                This morning, as I was praying, once again about all the things that were scheduled for my day, I found myself once again getting into that stressful mode of thinking. As I recognized the stressful thoughts parading themselves in my mind, I cried out to the Lord for help. I knew that He would help me if I asked Him, and as He always does, He led me to His word.
                “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
                I have these verses memorized, and I have read them, studied them and taken them to heart. But I never saw them as a way to help me with time management over my life. The Lord God is the creator of time, and I think as women, we forget that. We forget that God our Father made this day that we have been given, He knows our “to-do” lists better than we do, and He has already made a way for us to accomplish all that is before us. We, as moms and sisters, wives, servants in our church and volunteers in our community take on more sometimes than we should, and then we begin to stress ourselves out over the long list that is before us each day. Wouldn't it be nice to go about your day without stressing over the “to-do’s” and have the Joy that Jesus promises? If you answered yes to that question, then please read on- we have a very valuable lesson the Lord wants to teach us today.
                First of all, we need to “trust the Lord with all our heart”. We need to wake up in the morning and go to Him first. Take the list of “to-do’s” that you have today, and write them down. Then, ask the Lord to show you what He desires for you to accomplish on that list before you. As you talk to Him about each one, listen for His leading. He will tell you “yes, do this” or “no, that can wait.” We have to be open to His leading, we have to TRUST that He already has our day planned out and that not only does He know what lies ahead, but He also knows what is best for us. We let our “to-do” lists dictate our days instead of the Lord God, I know because I am very guilty of it.
                Second, we need to let go of what we “know” and lean upon the Lord God for the abilities, the tools, and the time to accomplish all that He sets before us. When we “lean upon our own understanding” of how we think the day is going to go, we will be disappointed and end up going down that path of worry and stress. Remember, our Father God is the creator of time- He will give us what we need when we need it, and He will make it all come to pass as He desires.
                Third, we need to acknowledge Him in all our ways. As we are going about our day, we need to stop what we are doing when we find ourselves in stress mode and go spend a few minutes with Him until He gives us the peace that we need to move on. I get so caught up sometimes in the stresses of my mind that instead of stopping and letting Him take over again, I end up freaking out on my husband, my kids and whoever else crosses my path. When we first trust Him to plan our day for us, acknowledging Him in all that we have to do will come so much easier and we will find that joy in serving Him again. When you read about the Proverbs 31 woman you don’t read about her being stressed out and freaking out, do you? What we see is a woman whose life is balanced by the Lord God. She has many things on her plate in one day, but she seeks God first in all that she does. She gets up before it is day and takes that time with God. She puts Him first, and lets Him lead her through the paths that He has laid for her. How much easier my life would be if I could just get this simple truth from my head and into my heart!
                Lastly, when we put God first, when we trust Him to plan our day for us, when we let go and let God lead, He will direct our paths. The word “direct” is the Hebrew word yashar, which means “to make smooth, straight, right”. It “includes the idea of removing obstacles that are in the way. God will straighten the stressful paths. He does not say when or how; He just promises that He will.” (Women’s Study Bible, NKJV) When we allow God to be first, to trust His leading for our days, He will make smooth the way and He will remove the obstacles that cause us to stress out and freak out.
                The other day, as He spoke to me, I knew that He was asking me to lay down my day before Him, to let Him lead and direct. He promised me that He would always give me the time that I needed to accomplish His plan for me. I had nothing to fret, worry or stress about, for He already knew what the day was going to bring. Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” He has made this day for us to glory in Him. We all have families, jobs, responsibilities, and things to do- but God our Father has made this day for us to enjoy Him. We can rejoice in each and every day, we can have the peace and the stress free days we desire, when we trust Him, acknowledge Him and let Him direct our paths.
                As the holiday’s approach, and we get busier and busier, let’s take the time each morning to lay down our “to-do’s” and let our God, our Father who made this day for us, direct us and lead us. He will make the sun standstill, and He will stretch the day for us, He will always give us the time that we need and the peace that we desire, and the joy to accomplish His plan for us today. We can have assurance in Him and rediscover the joy in doing all that we do for His glory.
                May the peace of God rule in your hearts today and every day, may we wake each morning with a heart full of rejoicing over the day that He has given us and joy to do the work He has planned for us. May all glory and honor and praise be to Him, forever and ever. Amen.