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This is a work in progress, just like me. Please feel free to add your thoughts on my posts. Have a blessed day.

August 13, 2012

Holding on to God When Life is Taking You for a Ride

"Stop! Let me get off!!!" That is what has been running through my mind lately as my day to day life makes me feel as though I am on a scary amusement park ride and I just can't wait for it to stop so I can get off.  My husband, Gary, and I are both in a very busy season of our lives. Gary accepted a job in another state a few months ago. This started a sequence of events and changes in our lives.  One of these changes is the two of us living apart four, and sometimes five, days a week. He is in Buffalo working and getting adjusted to a new area and the responsibilities of his new job. I am in Charlotte where since quitting my job, I am spending my days preparing our house for sale and getting ready for the move to Buffalo.

In the midst of all these changes, I lost my mother. Sadly, or maybe purposefully, I have been so focused on all the things on my daily to do lists that grieving for her has been pushed aside. I know when things calm down I will need to allow myself time to grieve more fully. But for now, I am in the mode of full speed ahead and the stress of a never ending list of tasks to be done is starting to take a toll on me.

As I reflected on my current situation, Matthew 11:28 came to mind. "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." I knew where to go for help, my Heavenly Father would provide the relief I was seeking. I not only sought relief from feeling overwhelmed but I also needed a way to prevent my business from crowding out my time with God. I was sure God would show me the way to get off this busy, stress filled ride, and He did!  

God blessed me by showing me four things we as believers can do, when we face the busy seasons in our lives. By making these practices a part of our daily lives we will reduce our stress levels as well as stay connected to God.

Remember + Recharge + Refocus + Rely = Relief

Remember: We must purposely remember the God whom we serve.  "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9. No matter how stressful our days become we are never alone. God is walking with us, guiding us, and providing us the strength we need to see us through whatever we are facing. Also, reflecting on ways God has seen us through other stress filled times in our lives will help give us perspective that this too shall pass.

Recharge: We need to allow ourselves time to relax and take breaks from our daily responsibilities. This means time for fun things that bring us joy as well as time with God allowing him to refresh us. "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:16.  If taking time to pray was important for Jesus to fit into his busy days, how much more so it is for us. Our time with God should be guarded and prioritized. The little things that bring joy to our lives such as spending time with family and friends or enjoying our favorite hobby are also very important. Even if our busy days allow us only brief moments of our favorite activities, these small bits of refreshing will ease our stress levels. Thankfully, as with nature, seasons change and as our schedules ease up we will most likely be able to enjoy more of our favorite pastimes.

Refocus: We need to find someone else to think about besides ourselves, someone whom we can bless. " For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10. This verse clearly calls us to serve others so we must guard against letting our busy lives prevent us from doing this work.  It may be providing a listening ear for a hurting friend. Or perhaps as simple as an encouraging word to someone on Facebook. This may be the hardest of the practices to implement. We often find it hard to justify taking the time to add something else to our "to do" list, when our schedules are already overcrowded. However as God has called us to do this he will also provide us the ability to carry it out.  

Rely: We must choose to rely on God as we face the uncertainties in our lives. Stressful times can often cause us to think the worst about situations and easily feel overwhelmed by our day to day struggles. We must rely on God's goodness, everything that has come into our lives has passed through the filter of his loving hands.  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28. We must also rely on his strength, no problem we face is too big for God.  "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10. Lastly, we must rely on his love for us. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39.

The last verse I want to leave you with is Matthew 7:7. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." As Christians we are not immune to problems and struggles. In fact, Jesus himself told us that in this world, we will have trouble. Thankfully we have someone we can turn to for help. When you feel stressed, overwhelmed and beaten up by this world, turn to Him. He is always listening and He has all the answers.    

This post is dedicated to my husband Gary. Although I have been feeling overwhelmed and stressed lately, I know how much more so he is feeling the same way. He is an awesome husband and father who works extremely hard to provide for our family. I hope in some small way this teaching blesses him and blesses you, my dear reader.