As some of my friends, most of my family, and definitely my husband know, I have been working extra long hours lately in my author, speaker and book coaching business. With a new book ready to launch, several big speaking opportunities on the horizon (March 28 as the lunch keynote at the Global Rescue Mission Conference at Sunday Breakfast Mission in Wilmington, DE, April 7 as a
workshop presenter for the Lenten mission at Immaculate Conception Parish in Elkton, MD, April 27 as a featured author at the Showcase of Christian Authors in Salisbury, MD and May 9-11 as the keynote at the 2019 Busti Church of God Women’s Retreat in Painted Post, NY…and that’s just within the next two months!), and providing book coaching services for several authors, I am…well, shall I say the “S word”? Stressed.
And I’m very sure God does not want us to live our lives stressed out doing His will and fulfilling His purpose. Excited, joyous, passionate, yes. Stressed, overwhelmed, panicked, no. So I decided that every time I fast, give up sweets, give up meat on Fridays and even think about my Lenten sacrifices, I will also deliberately give up stress too. How? First I believe we need to be aware of when we’re feeling stress so we can in turn, let it go. For me, I either worry about the future or regret the past – usually it’s worrying I don’t have enough time to get everything done, or fretting that I should have started sooner. None of that is within my control. So to remind myself I need to stay in today, one day (or sometimes one hour) at a time, is a good practice for me…asking myself what do I have control over right now? Second, I try to set priorities and to have balance. For example, I was tempted to get up early and work today but instead, I got up early and went swimming at the local Y. That one hour of exercise motivated me to do more with my time and feel better about myself than two hours of extra work would have done. Third, I try to turn my energy from a negative form – stressing or worrying – into a positive one of taking action. What is the next best thing I can do? What can I cross off my list, even if it is a small thing, so that I can feel victorious instead of defeated? Fourth, I need to spend a little time each day being at peace…whether that means at rest, in meditation, doing yoga stretches, treating myself kindly or even just saying a prayer to let anything stressful or negative go. And last but certainly not least, I need to ask God for help, whether it be for more faith in His plan, more hope for the future, or just to be more grateful – which always brings about a little more happiness.
Today is full of limitless possibilities and choices – sometimes opportunities will come my way, and sometimes disappointments – but always I can choose to give up stress and be my best. I already feel better writing this so I hope you feel better reading it! We all only have right here, right now. Lord, I pray we all can live a little less hurried today, be kinder to ourselves and others, and remain grateful and peaceful knowing You have us in the palm of Your hand.
Have a less stressed, more blessed day!