For two years before the healing of my chronic back pain, I went through intense revisiting of the past. I now continue to work on things that come up from time to time that create stress. It’s great to begin to get a handle on your stress. I was excited about the progress.
But just then, several things happened that put me in an intense period of stressful situations. Jobs, ministry, education, and other factors removed several key leaders from our church in Adoor. This put me in a tight situation where more things depended on me than ever before.
It was at this point that we finally got the permission to build the hall we were wanting to build for so long. Just at the most inappropriate time, just when I felt helpless, this new task began. Inundated with construction details, fundraising, and a host of other things along with my role as a pastor and instructor at the seminary, it is surely prime time for stress.
Through all of this, I believe God’s hand is in all of this. Above all of that, I believe His hand is on me as well. Now, here’s what I’m learning:
1. Accept That Annoying People Will Continue to Annoy
You wish those people with annoying attitudes will stop already. But never. That’s what they’re supposed to do. Maybe they’re put there by God for that very purpose. Or maybe that’s their purpose in life.
Whichever way you look at the situation, you’ve got to accept that people will not change. They will remain the same regardless of your attempts. Accept them for who they are. Accept that they will always continue to behave in the same annoying way they’ve always behaved.
2. Understand That You Can Handle a Lot More Than You Think
There is a limit in your mind regarding how much you can handle. When you get to that threshold, you wonder what will happen next. Will I make it? Will I explode? Is this the end?
But then you wake up the next day and realize you are still alive. That’s when you begin to wonder if you truly can handle more than you thought you could. You only know this when you’ve been pushed to the limits. Yes, you can handle much more.
3. Increase Your Response Time Gap
One sure way stressful people can save the day is to simply wait. Just wait to give a response. Just wait to give a reply. Tell them you’ll call back later with a reply. Put that email aside and reply tomorrow. Say you’ll let them know tomorrow and walk away.
That increase in your response time gap will do wonders. You’ll get to think things over and talk to others. Get a handle on your emotions, fear, anxiety, and anything else that haunts you. Just simply take more time for a response.
4. Focus Your Time and Attention on Deserving Matters
Sure you can do more, but should you? Just because you can do more doesn’t mean that you need to fill your calendar full of activities. Focus your time and attention on those things that matter to you and those you care about. Devote your precious time to those things that are meaningful and productive. Think long term.
This is your opportunity to perfect your “fine art” of saying NO. Many things will pull for your attention, but you must evaluate and determine what you will give your time to. There are times when you need to spend countless hours for a particular task. These are times of focus that are required for important tasks, but these are to be short lived. You cannot go on like that for ever. You cannot be pushing your limits all the time.
5. Return to God Every Time Stress Gets You
When you are pushed to the limits, you feel the pressure building up in your mind, emotions, head, or chest. You begin to feel regret, remorse, anger, sadness, or a combination of these. You wonder how you can keep control of your self. You realize you can’t.
This is the time to step back and turn to God. Every time you’re stressed, you’ve got to go to Him and cry out for His presence. Ask God to come fill you with the Holy Spirit once again. These will be simply words at that moment of intense pressure, but they will be words of faith when you really mean it. This is a vital point in your relationship with God.
It is at this point where you acknowledge your creator for who He is. He is your sustainer, provider, and sanity-giver. Go to God every time. Get a grip on life and a grip on stress. Stressful times will always be there, and God will always be there for you.
Would you like to add to this list? Please share it in the comments.