A 2015 survey by the American Psychological Association reveals some of the top stressors for Americans. Money is the top stressor at 67%, followed by work at 65%.
Coming in fourth is personal health concerns at 51%.
Really? Only 51%? Considering the health crisis we have, I'm surprised that number isn't much higher.*
What Stress Does to the Body
A few of the many affects stress can have on the body are
• High Blood Pressure
• Stomach Aches
• Weakened Immune System
• Back Aches
Psalm 62:7b-8 (NASB)
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.
It's not known exactly how the word Selah is meant to be used, but some suggestions are:
• rest, reflect, peace, pause and think, consider carefully
Stress comes from how we spend our time.
We can't do everything we are currently doing. It's impossible.
I'm currently feeling stress to levels I haven't experienced in a long time. Some of the stress is because of the joy I have of being with my 14-month-old granddaughter four mornings a week. It’s fun, but it's work!
I also work 16 hours a week for my pastor, lead a health group at my church and want to write again. Mostly my time is spent working, babysitting and sleeping.
I'm exhausted. I know I can't do everything I'm currently doing, but I do have an end-date in sight. So I keep going, knowing the next few weeks are going to be the hardest, making sure to find time to breathe deep and sit outside for a few minutes to recharge when I can.
What about you? Are you keeping a schedule you find impossible? Are you spending time on things you wish you weren't; on things that don't matter to you?
Do you know your why in life? Your purpose?
When you know your why, that is what you should focus on. Then every decision you make with your time can be filtered through that. Maybe a movie with the coffee club would be fun, but how does it affect the time you spend on what's most important to you?
When you know your why, it will be easy to decide what to say yes to and when you need to decline invitations to events.
Right now, my why is supporting my pastor and helping my children as they work on making a new home for themselves. My why for writing is to encourage you to live a healthy life and have health to accomplish your why.
Live intentionally for your purpose.
If you need help or accountability, ask for it! Your friends and family don't know if you don't say something. Forget pride and be real - connect with someone who can help you. Open your heart to talk to someone so you can get free from the things that are holding you slave to time.
You need balance in your life. You need time to follow your passion and purpose, but you also need time to have fun with family; maybe that movie date is exactly what you need to take your mind away from stressors.
Be sure to rest and recharge, whatever that looks like for you. A day away on the lakeshore, a coffee date with your BFF, a Sunday afternoon nap - find your reset button and push it!
Jeremiah 6:16 (NASB)
Thus says the Lord, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls."
The best rest is to take time with Jesus. Search His peace, follow where He wants you to go, listen for His voice in the stress and chaos.
II Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
In your stress, remember to keep perspective. Follow your why, your purpose, your passion - but remember, in the end, it's all about eternity. You'll always have stress in life, it will never go away. But keep your focus on Jesus for peace in your stress.
Do what you must, eliminate what you can. Simplify and find time to rest.
Hint: I actually have "Nothing" scheduled on my calendar so I don't make appointments or commitments. Schedule "Nothing" sometime during the week, whether it's for an hour, or a whole day. Do nothing! (Which means, whatever you feel like. Even if it's just watching TV, you can tell people you have an appointment!)
"When you understand your why, your what has more impact." ~Michael Jr.
This man's singing is a beautiful example of pursuing your why!