I admit, I am really working on consistency. Thank you for bearing with me as I push myself to get out there often and honestly to share what I am thinking about, and what is happening with us.
Sometimes in life, things happen that can shake you. Can I get an "amen?" I feel like we've had a year of that. There's enough confusion and stress that now people are snapping in response to a word. Literally this year has brought us to a tinder box of stress, anger, frustration, and confusion. I'm seeing people fly off the handle at the slightest irritation. We've all been on the receiving end of tense words.
This post is about what you can do during this time. I don't have all the answers, and I can't wave a magic wand, but I will tell you what I do. I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts and comments, as well.
First, when stressful things happen, I have to quiet down.
This seems completely counterintuitive, especially if it's a crisis and needs response. I find that getting away allows me to quiet my soul and gain perspective. Of course, I pray during this time. However, what I need to enunciate is that if I have not quieted myself, I cannot hear what God has to say to me. (Psalm 131:2)
Next, I start asking questions.
When my soul is quiet enough that I can hear from God, I then ask key questions and WAIT for an answer. YES. This is really hard to do when my surroundings are stressful and I want to go fix them!!!
I ask these questions below, and trust God to bring me an answer. This "trusting God" can also seem like a HUGE act of faith when we are in distress. He promises over and over in Scripture that He is with us especially in times of trouble, and never leaves or forsakes us.
Questions I ask
- What am I feeling?
- What is the core issue?
- What do I need to do regarding the other person (if there is one)?
- What should I do right now in general?
- When will I know this is resolved?
Stances I can take
Some situations require an active mode, and some require me to sit back and not act. It is in the stillness and the resulting prayer I can discern better which stance I should adopt. Sometimes I need to say something, and sometimes I should actually not say anything. I have learned to actively wait, and I find that to be an intensely productive and fulfilling way to ensure I don't do the wrong thing but acting when I should pause, or speaking when I need to remain silent.
I developed the art of active waiting back in a day when I was single, and I so desperately wanted to get married, but I didn't realize my prince was living in West Virginia while I was living in Texas. It got to feeling at that time like I was a horse waiting in the blocks at the Kentucky Derby, so ready to live my life I knew was in front of me, but not knowing where to go to find him.
So I had to find things to do to occupy my time! Hobbies, extracurricular activities, time with friends, reading books, and picking up running again became active ways I could both focus my mind on something beneficial, healthy, and productive while I "waited." Then, waiting didn't feel so much like waiting!
What happened was I realized that "waiting" didn't feel like waiting!
I hope these tools are helpful for you in handling the stress of the day. I've included the verse I'm basing this post on, in the post itself. Philippians 4:6-7 is a rule for life!
What are your tools for determining how to move forward in the midst of stress?