Saturday, March 13, 2010

Reducing your Stress on an ASAP Day

We have all experienced days filled with a multitude of tasks infused with incredible stress and tension laced time pressures.  All too often we find ourselves increasingly weary with a core numbing fatigue. We race to return phone calls and e-mails on our BlackBerry while grabbing dinner from a fast food restaurant for the third time this week. 

Like a long distance runner, we can see the finish line of the race up ahead, but fail to recognize that each and every task that we commit ourselves to has its own separate finish line, time frame, and a deadline. We can be competing in a dozen time pressured, stress producing races at the very same time. Very slowly, if we are not careful, our lives can become over committed and driven to complete a myriad of responsibilities and commitments. The skill of multitasking is a necessity in the business world today.  However, a continuous life of multitasking, isn’t God’s will for our lives.
The other day I realized that several times I had spoken to, sent texts, or e-mailed my co-workers, friends, and family the often used acronym: ASAP- As Soon As Possible. I was adding the phrase to my time pressurized responsibilities, “I will get back to you ASAP”, “Let me check on that and get an answer to you ASAP”, or “I will be home ASAP”. We often are aware that we will be late, miss a deadline again, or find ourselves in another disappointing tense moment with our partner for once again being late.

Recently I have been convicted that this is not pleasing to the Lord at all. I began to list out the many tasks and responsibilities that are on my plate every day and found a pattern:  My life was slowly slipping away from me and I was becoming a resource asset for those who have needs or requests for my help or professional advice. I was beginning to live the lives of others and was failing to live my own life.

The Quiet Place can slip away from us so subtly that sadly we don’t even realize that it is gone. The very nature of God is peace.  He desires us to develop a life that has quietness as a norm and not an occasional moment that is grasped desperately during times of stress and overload.

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you.” I Thessalonians 4:11

“That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” I Timothy 2:2

Too many of us find ourselves mirroring the despair of the Patriarch Job as our lives grind down with excessively overloaded schedules and commitments, "I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil."  Job 3:26 

What can we begin to do to quiet our spirit and slow down our lives to regain the inner peace and calmness that God is pleased to see radiate through each of us?

Be Teachable - Learn from God the pathway to Quietness

"Teach me, and I will be quiet” Job 6:24

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, "Come with me to a Quiet Place and get some rest." Mark 6:21

Be Obedient - Ask God to lead you into Quietness

“He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters,” Psalm 23:2

Be Committed - Cultivate an inner Quiet Place

But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.   
Psalm 131:2

Spiritual maturity is measured by cultivating “a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.”  I Peter 3:4    

In the still moments of personal solitude, we can pause to worship God and renew our strength. Inner peace is often hurriedly prayed for during times of stress like it is quick fix to ease our personal pressures and mounting tensions. There is certainly nothing wrong with praying for God to give inner peace when all is chaotic around us. However, God desires that we display and radiate an inner peace that has already been cultivated from our times in the Quiet Place, so that we can stay calm in the midst of the storm.

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: in quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15  (See also Zephaniah 3:17, Mark 4:39, Mark 6:31)


There is work to do, deadlines to meet,
You’ve got no time to spare,
But as you hurry and you scurry,
ASAP- Always Say A Prayer

In the midst of family chaos
Quality time is rare.
Do your best, let God do the rest,
ASAP- Always Say A Prayer

It may seem like your worries
Are more than you can bear,
Slow down and take a breath,
ASAP- Always Say A Prayer

God knows how stressful life is,
He wants to ease our cares.
And He will lovingly draw near,
If we Always Say A Prayer.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Facing Tomorrow

In our lives we face a 'tomorrow' every day.  There is nothing we can do to prevent tomorrow from taking place nor can we plan in advance how tomorrow will unfold.  There is something about our capacity to become overwhelmed with life that sometimes makes just getting through today feel like an impossibility.

God knows exactly what we have the capacity to handle and has provided a way to cast our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).  We are not created to carry the 'tomorrows' of life upon the shoulders of today.  Jesus made it very clear in the book of Matthew that a preoccupation with the needs of tomorrow is not only unwise but it also reveals that we are not trusting God to provide for our needs as He has promised.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matt 6:33-34

God desires to pour out His provision for us out of the very riches of His unfathomable grace.  The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi from a dark lonely prison cell that God was the great supplier of their needs in the midst of their anxiety about their financial struggles.

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:19

We become so preoccupied with our thoughts and assumptions of how the future will unfold that we lose perspective as to the incredible value of living today. (James 4:13-16)

There are three things that God wants us to remember as we face each new day:
  1. He is our Sovereign God - Trust in Him.
  2. He is our Shepherd - Walk with Him.
  3. He is our Loving King - Obey Him.
When we keep these three principles in mind as we begin each day, our hearts will experience His Peace and our minds will be clear and focused on following Him.

Listen to the song below and remember that with every moment and every step Jesus is there walking with you as your God, your Shepherd, and your King.  What could be better than that?

**Before you hit play you will need to pause the music player on the right side of the page**