My name is Stephanie and I am the real problem! The first chapter of Stressed-Less Living definitely made it clear that I am the cause of my stress. I have to own the fact that no one or nothing else is to blame but me.
While the whole chapter applied to my life as if Tracie was reading my mind and heart as she wrote it, it was the section on ‘From Expert to Experience’ that really hit the hardest.
“When true faith and trust in my Savior became a reality in my heart, living less stress became a reality it my life.” (pg. 31).
I read this line over a couple of times to let it sink in. ‘True faith’ Wasn’t my faith true? Did I not trust God?
Hebrews 11 provides us with this definition. “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.” (v.1 –NLT)
Do I have the confident assurance that everything I hope for is going to happen? I continue to read Hebrews chapter 11 where it lists great examples of what happens when people have had true faith. God had done amazing things in their lives and the lives of those around them. In looking deep within, I am confident that my faith is true. I firmly believe all the promises and assurances of God.
But, what about trust? It was a real soul searching time to ask myself whether I fully trusted God with every area of my life or was I still trying to control the outcomes?
“I realized that most of my stress was rooted in trying to control circumstances that I had no control over.” (p.31).
WOW! Never thought of it like that before. I can be a little bit of a control freak in most areas of my life (okay….a major control freak!!).
About 18 months ago, I thought I was at the point where I could not cope with much. I was emotional and stressed to the max. I remember one day leaving work in the middle of the day and just driving to a parking lot and crying. I had never felt so much on the edge before as I did at that moment. It was then that I knew that something had to change. It was a few days later that I sent an email to a colleague asking for help. This was a huge step for me. After a couple of emails and a conversation with another colleague, I was told, ‘you’re a young mom, with a busy ministry appointment, you just need to start delegating some work.’ Not really helpful, but I was willing to try anything. It was a long process, but finally about six months or so ago, I was able to delegate much to another manager.
However, that did not really help. I was still stressed. I started trying to find ways to adjust my life in order to cope with these feelings, but nothing was working. When I got to this point is when I received an email invitation to join this OBS. God knew exactly what I needed.
As I read this first chapter I took ownership of my stress. It was definitely self-induced. I also had to admit that I was not fully trusting God with everything.
Now that I know what needs to change I am putting my full trust in God to complete the work he has started.
O Lord, I give my life to you.
I trust in you, my God!
Do not let me be disgraced,
or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.
Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you