God & Stress
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I have commented that there are times I feel God is asking me to do something but I don’t really trust myself to interpret Him. What if I am wrong? What if I make a bad choice? What if it’s the WRONG choice? What if I didn’t understand? What if I make a selfish move and only think it’s from God?
There is great risk that I could screw this up!
Then I got on the phone with a sweet friend who was having those same thoughts. She was trying to make a big decision and the stress of it was causing her, like me, to grind her teeth at night. Sometimes, it takes stepping out of your situation and looking at it through someone else’s eyes to see a thing clearly.
I told her that her stress is not from God. We both had gotten twisted about a decision and recited the need to build perseverance as our reason for accepting the stress. But I found myself telling her that stress without the peace of knowing the stress is for good reason is JUST STRESS.
I think about Jesus in the garden on his final night. He was stressed to the point of sweating blood and was asking his Father to take the cup from him. “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
I think even though Jesus was stressed out, He had a certain peace about what was going to happen. He took it to God, got his answer and moved forward with conviction.
It occurs to me that if we are desperately trying to move forward and we don’t have peace or conviction but we remain stressed…there is something wrong.
When I look back over the decision I had to make recently I can think of many ways I wish I had done it differently. In my gut, I knew the answer. It was a HARD choice, which kept me from making it.
I love Glennon Doyle Melton’s quote from her book, “Carry On, Warrior.” In it she says, “We can do hard things.” I can do hard things. You can do hard things. I want to have that tattooed somewhere so I don’t forget.
Hard things are hard for a reason but here’s the trick…you really can’t screw this up. Even if you make the wrong decision, we serve a God who can make ALL THINGS work for the good of those who love Him.
If you are thick-headed like me and require a baseball bat to the head to get a simple command through or if you are totally in tune with God and feel comfortable interpreting His will for your life, you cannot do anything that God cannot redeem. Period.
So here is my question for you about the decision you are trying to make. Which way makes you a better person? Better to live with, be with, laugh with and love with? Which direction points toward your best self? Because if the stress is eating you alive, I guarantee it’s affecting the people around you and the muscles in your back and neck. If you have a peace about the stress, then you know the outcome will be worth the struggle.
God’s command was to love Him and love others. Which decision is more of THAT? Because if I am not doing those things well, I am just plain missing the point.
This lesson comes from serious hindsight in my life. It wasn’t until after I failed to make the needed decision that I realized what happened. But I am resolving now to listen to those cues and to filter my stress through what I know to be true about God. Then, even if the decision is hard, I’ve got a better shot at making the right one.