If we could sit across the table from each other at my favorite coffee shop, and I were to ask, "Is there anything stressing you out?" what would you say?
Maybe one big thing comes to mind. Or maybe it's just all those little things that keep piling up.
I'm usually an easy-going type of person, but when I started feeling tense and cranky, I know it's time to pause and figure out what's going on. Here's a few things that help me:
1. I stop and figure out what I'm worried or stressed about. Is it a deadline? The mounting pile of paperwork? Those urgent emails? Family problems?
2. I try to seek the Truth of the situation. Henry Blackaby says that, "We don't know the truth of any situation until we seek The Truth--which is Jesus." Usually my longest quiet times happen when I'm under writing deadlines (which has been constant lately!). Sitting quiet before God, praying, praising, reading His Word brings me to Truth and settles my heart.
What is this truth? A quote I read recently sums it up well:
"I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him. I ended up by asking Him to do His work through me." -Hudson Taylor
This quote helps to remind me that I don't need to be stressed; I simply need to open myself up to be a conduit for Jesus to work through!
3. I also have some personal mottos that I cling to:
"Faith and fear cannot reside together." Either I fear the future or have faith in Jesus. I choose faith!
"God will provide the words/answers/help like He provided manna in the wilderness." God didn't dump a year’s worth of food on the Israelites. He provided enough for THAT DAY. That's how He provides His words to me as I write . . . enough for that day.
"God sees the end of the story." This can relate to the article or book I'm working on. It also relates to the story of my life, and the His story of saving work through man.
"God knows the plan for today." Sometimes it involves writing, and other times it doesn't. There are mornings when I seek God, and I clearly hear, "Writing will not happen today, don't stress." This gentle voice is always right. There will be family needs or teenage moms that I need to spend time with. It helps me to remember that this is all part of God's plan too. Being obedient to Christ moment by moment is far more difficult than sitting down and pounding out a 100-page novel--believe me. But obedience is always the better way.
Which leads me to my final motto:
"God knows." Our hearts, our life, our hopes, and His perfect way. God knows!