Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Refuse to Stress

“Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3

Walking alone on a quiet downtown street, I had a conversation with God. I was facing a mountain of responsibility and work over the next week. “What was my request?”, I wondered almost to myself as I tried to form a prayer. I realized as I prepared to enter into the fray of the next 7-day stretch, what I wanted most was to enjoy the feeling of being at rest. In other words, I didn’t want to stress out. 

It hit me that if was my biggest concern was “freaking out”, I was already experiencing that feeling. I was already living my fear and it was time to get rid of it. I stopped right then and there and told the Lord that in His power, I was not going to run around frantically. I was not going to stress out about my upcoming responsibilities. With His help I would take my tasks one and a time and do my best. No more. 

Frankly, there is no more to do.

The truth is that we are all given a limited amount of time. We each have 24 hours in the day to divide and use at our discretion. I can plan. I can organize my thoughts. I can complete one task at a time. I can make the best choice about what to do in the moment I hold in my hand. 

But I refuse to stress.

In the verse above, God connected peace with the ability to stay the mind. Being able to control what goes in and out of our minds is essential to our quality of life. If we cannot control the channel of our thoughts, we cannot keep our minds stayed on Him, or much else for that matter. Nor can we know the peace talked about in this verse.

Ann Voskamp said, “Stress is not a situation; stress is a state of mind.”

I think it is no coincidence that we have the opportunity to focus our minds on thanksgiving this week. You see, thankful thoughts are great distractors from negativity. They are like antidotes to the toxins of complaint and worry. By vocalizing gratefulness, we are doing the will of God (1 Thes. 5:18) and turning our minds toward Him.

Yesterday, the girls had put on a video recording of the Proverbs, and one verse in particular drifted back to the bedroom where I was sorting the laundry. It immediately caught my attention:

“Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices, with strife.” Proverbs 17:1

This week, we can have a house full of sacrifices (or roast turkeys, in this case), and strife, as it were, in our spirits. How much better it would be to have dry toast on Thanksgiving Day with spirits that are quiet and ready to enjoy the things most important in life? 

Let’s keep our minds focused and full of thankfulness, and I think we’ll find ourselves enjoying the moments that are given to us. Have a blessed Thanksgiving Week!

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