“Sometimes even our greatest efforts to manage our stress can seem futile
when our giants seem too huge to ever overcome.”
(Page 139, Stressed-Less Living)
In Chapter 7 of Stressed Less Living, Tracie Miles challenges us to overcome our giants. By the use of the familiar story of David and Goliath, she illustrates the need to have our focus and faith on God when we are facing our Goliaths. And the biggest giant in my life right now is the amount of stress that I let take control of my daily actions and emotions.
The good news is that God never intended for us to live lives of despair, stress and dread. God never intended for us to fight our giants alone and on our own strength. That’s his job. Yes, God is bigger than any giant that I am dealing with. As I read that, the song from Veggies Tales kept going through my head, God is bigger than the boogie man! A simple child’s song, yet so full of truth.
“As we become more mature in faith, learning to trust that God is capable of all things, we will see God is bigger and bigger everytime we encounter him. God is and was and always will be the same, but, as we give him sovereignty over our hearts, our awe of him increases.” (Page 141)
I had to re-read these sentences a few times as the meaning behind the words penetrated my brain. Learning to trust that God is capable of all things. Easy to say that this has been a belief of mine for a long time, but have I truly believed it if I continually take control away from God and try to do it myself? Once again I realize that giving control to God would make things so much less stressful.
Over the last several months I have been learning what it means to delegate my work load and to also have employees take responsibility and ownership for their own jobs. Just because someone does not do it the way I want or when I want, is not a good reason to just do it myself. Handing over the work is easy. Not worrying about whether it will get done correctly, is a completely different matter.
The challenge of this chapter is to actually name my giants. At the start of the chapter. Tracie names a few common giants that we may be facing – financial issues, marriage or relationship problems, work problems, parenting issues. And it was so easy to just pick a few and say, ‘yeah, these are my giants’. But that was not good enough for God and he has been nudging me for days on pin-pointing my giants. And I did not like what came to the surface. I would say that the two biggest giants are work issues and relationship issues. Both deal with a few people that are in my life that I would consider my giants. They are the ones who I allow to fill me with stress and frustration within seconds. My lack of patience and understanding for these individuals are at a low.
I have been praying in particular for help in these areas, but all I seem to feel is God telling me to stay. I do not feel that God is telling me to confront them at this time. I feel weak. I sense that God wants me to rely on him more before tackling these giants. I am trying to figure out if this is just a easy way to avoid them or if it truly is God’s will.
Another comment that stuck out to me in this chapter was that the real giant is the mental presence of stress, worry and fear in my heart. I started to ask myself whether I am making more of situations, hence causing me more stress, worry & fear. But I knew the answer before I finished the question. Yes, I do. I can allow a messy house to increase my level of stress. I allow the actions of others to increase my stress. I allow the fact that others do not meet my expectations to increase my stress. (yeah, my expectations — not God’s, but mine!). I have been trying over the last several weeks to look at situations and ask whether I have control over it, whether I should be involved in it and whether I should be leaving it up to God. This also gives me a minute or two to take some deep breaths.
“Worrying cannot change a thing, but faith can change everything.” (Page. 148) Powerful words and extremely true. So I am practicing trying not to worry about things that are beyond my control. And realizing that a lot of things fall into this category.
This chapter was filled from start to finish with great words of wisdom in overcoming my giants. Whether it was to do with my focus or my attitude, the all hit the mark and really made me stop and think. But I think that Tracie seems it up in the following statement,
“When our faith is grounded in the Word of God and we are receiving those daily portions from him, we are so much better equipped to tackle these questions when they arise and to keep our minds on track with the truth.” (page 154)
Have you ever noticed that if you don’t have time to spend in the Word of God at the start of your day, that the whole day is off, that nothing goes right? I have. If I am rushed through my morning devotions or don’t have the time to even do them, then I might as well crawl back into bed as the day is going to be stressful and full of frustration. I must have my time with God each morning. I must spend time in quiet prayer with him as the day unfolds — or I can’t seem to handle anything that comes my way. I am definitely better equipped to handle what the world throws at me when I have committed my day to the Lord in advance.
I never realize the benefit of morning devotions until recently. I am not what you would call a morning person. But just over two years ago we decided to get a puppy. Our precious dog likes to get up early in the morning and somehow it’s my job to get up with her. At first I complained (ALOT) about it, but now I love it. I have about an hour before anyone else gets up and I can just be in God’s presence with no other distractions. God knew that I needed this time, it just took me awhile to realize that this was a blessing.
So as I finish this chapter and continue to work on facing my giants I am reminded of this truth.