Stress. Seems like all of us have lives filled with stress these days and I was reflecting on this with friends yesterday. The theory is that we have a choice about everything and therefore we should have some control over our stress. I guess that is possible, but if you are like me, you know you don't control your boss at work...it's the other way around. So that means career stress is somewhwat unavoidable.
Personal stress often comes from unexpected events that rain down on your or your loved ones and although you have a choice about how you react to it, you usually don't have a choice about an event such as illness or accident. It would be nice if you could control the timing, or the type of event, or the severity, but usually that is out of your control.
So we all learn to deal with stress either positively or negatively in our own unique ways. There are lots of tools available to help with that, but if you are like me, those tools don't always come to your mind when stress attacks.
There is another kind of stress that comes from striving. Often we decide we want something in our lives that seems so right, and we pray about it, and since God doesn't smash that idea with spiritual lightning, well then it must be right...so we strive after that desire or dream. Because is seems so right and so perfect we don't actually take the private time with God we might need to find out His thoughts on it. So we do whatever it takes to make that thing happen. And we strive and we fuss and we knock ourselves out, stressing over how to make our dream come true.
I have some great, wonderful, Godly girlfriends who reminded me last night that sometimes you do need to put a lot of effort into reaching your dreams. God won't hand us something on a silver platter, even if He has told us that our dream is also His dream for us. Sometimes we need to walk a long, hard road through the wilderness to prepare us for reaching that dream.
Sometimes, however, the dream we have for ourselves is not God's best for us. Sometimes He has something much better and if we finally lay that dream before Him and learn to be content where we are, He can show us a much better plan for our lives. Sometimes our striving and stress and discontent are a sign that our dream is not God's perfect will for our lives. Perhaps if we take the time to listen for His still small voice, we will learn that He is not in the storm, but in the quietness, and in the calm, somewhere far from the stress and striving.
This was a great reminder for me in this new year. I have some awesome friends that I have learned a lot from. I pray this is one lesson that I continuously apply and that the result will be contentment in the place where God wants me to be today.