There is a great story about a woman who meant to call a music store looking for a record, but dialed the wrong number and got a private home instead. "Do you have 'Eyes of Blue' and 'A Love Supreme?'" she asked.
"Well, no," answered the puzzled homeowner. "But I have a wife and eleven children."
"Is that a record?" she inquired, puzzled in her turn.
"I don't think so," replied the man, "but it's as close as I want to get."
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and it truly is a powerful antidote. But I want to share some other things that a person can do when they feel the pressures of life. Indeed, with the average American carrying close to $20,000 in credit card debt, along with foreclosures and layoffs, we live in a time when we can use all the help we can get. So let me share a few more distinctions for handling stress and worry. Having been a counselor for over a decade, I can assure you that if you include these actions in your daily life, you will notice an increase in your passion and joy.
First, start your day with gratitude. It was Max Lucado who asked, “When is the last time you thanked God for your liver?” Indeed, taking just five minutes to say out loud what you appreciate will transform your day. Include anything and everything in this time. Think about your relationships and health, your freedom and capacity to give, and remember the love of God.
Second, do your part to resolve personal and spiritual conflicts. Someone has said that forgiveness is letting go of your right to get even. Sadly, I have seen people carry resentment for decades, unable and unwilling to let go of their need for revenge. This is extremely toxic. It has been said that anger is never buried dead. Share it with God and someone you can trust, and then let it go, it will be a gift to you in the end.
A third step to take that is to assess your problems accurately. Tony Robbins says that leadership is about seeing things as they are, but not worse than they are. Perhaps you need to evaluate if the person who hurt you really went out of their way to ruin your day, or is there simply a misunderstanding. Or if you lost your job stop and consider; is this the end or is this a chance for a new beginning? Did you really lose everything, or just some things? Be sure to be brutally honest as you take a closer look at your situation.
Next, separate facts from assumptions. Only include what you know is true. If you were laid off, list that as a fact. Does this mean that God has forgotten you? That is an assumption you are making by not knowing the bigger picture.
Next, determine what you can control and take action. Do whatever is in your power to do. No matter what challenges life brings, one thing you always control is the meaning you give to an event.
Lastly, after you have done your part, leave the rest to God. If you have done all you can do then simply rest in the understanding that he knows what is happening and he cares about it more than you do because he loves you with an everlasting love.
Bill Bright once shared,
“The gospel of Jesus Christ offers the only antidote to the ills that plague our society:
For fear, he offers peace
For worry, he offers confidence and assurance
For hurt and rejection, he offers forgiveness and affirmation
For emptiness, he offers meaning in life
For worthlessness, he offers dignity, value and worth
For greed and selfishness, he offers a giving spirit with contentment
For hatred and prejudice, he offers love and acceptance
For bondage to habits, he offers deliverance and freedom
For sickness, he offers healing
For rebellion and stubbornness, he offers submission and servitude
For self sufficiency, he offers his power and wisdom to do all things
For death, he offers eternal life.” (Bill Bright)
Whatever your challenge or situation, know that there are answers, there is strength available from the one who sees it all, and that in him you have nothing to fear.
I am a former pastor who is now a full time writer with an online ministry to people that are fed up with religion but are captured by the love and grace of God revealed in this mystery, which is Christ in you. I believe the Bible shows how to have an abundant life with spiritual health, emotional health, relationship health, and physical health. The message Jesus taught is life changing. (I also work with wounded pastors and those in church conflict.) Twominutesermon.com