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Posts Tagged ‘schedules’

Stress and Stillness

July 15th, 2014

“Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.” Job 37:14 NKJV.

The pace of schedules and noise of surroundings generate stress.

My thoughts and comments today are about “stress and stillness.”

Stress is your body’s reaction to challenges, the impulse of “fight or flight.” Hurry, worry and weariness will leave you vulnerable to stress. Its negative and debilitating effects are cumulative, diminishing your joy and optimism and even damaging health. Stress can result from concerns about health, relationships, pressures, finances, past mistakes, or future fears.

In daily life, stress is heightened by the frantic pace of our schedules and the deafening noise of our surroundings. Prolonged, those are wearying to body, soul, and spirit. The effects manifest interpersonally in relationships, marriages, or families, as well as intrapersonally, affecting yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and most importantly, spiritually. Your spiritual life and personal relationship with God is diminished and less satisfying.

Isaiah discovered, “Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength . . they will run and not get tired; they will walk and not became weary.” Read Isaiah 40:28-31 NAS. There is so much that you miss when you fail to take the necessary time to be quiet before God. Job, in the midst of the whirlwind of experiences and the confusion he felt, received wise counsel, “Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.” Job 37:14 NKJV. Life makes better sense when you place God at the center of it all.

There are two concerns that I have. First, the pace of your schedule compromises the priority of God’s voice. See Exodus 3:1-10 NKJV. You will not hear the voice of God in your heart without quieting your spirit to wait and listen. Secondly, the noise of your surroundings competes with the clarity of God’s voice. See 1 Samuel 3:1-11 NKJV. Any time but especially when life is unclear and uncertain, spend time with God’s Word, quietly in His presence.

The Psalmist David was deliberate, I have stilled and quieted myself, just as a small child is quiet with its mother. Yes, like a small child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2 NLT. At all times, you need to learn this truth, “Be still and know that I am God.” Read Psalm 46. Be intentional; it is important.

Some years ago, a book, Restoring Your Spiritual Passion (Gordon MacDonald, author) influenced my spiritual disciplines. MacDonald named three things essential to recovering passion when experiencing lost purpose, clouded vision, or confused direction: an address book with the names of “special friends who encourage you to obey God,” a map indicating the location of “safe places where you rediscover who God is,” and a calendar marking “still times when you hear what God says.” Respectively, each corresponds to three vital, Biblical principles of Fellowship, Sanctuary, and Sabbath.

For your personal study, I suggest consideration of events in the lives of Elijah, Jehoshaphat, and Moses. (1) “Be still when you need to hear a word from God.” Read 1 Kings 19:7-16 KJV. (2) “Be still when you need to know the plans of God.” Read 2 Chronicles 20:10-22 NKJV. (3) “Be still when you need to see the power of God.” Exodus 14:10-16/30-31 NKJV.

Today, my prayer for you is to truly know God in a deep and personal way.

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Feeling Overwhelmed

July 29th, 2010

“Give your burdens to the Lord.” Psalm 55:22 NLT

“Schedules, more than circumstances, are often at the root of feeling overwhelmed.”

My thoughts today are about “feeling overwhelmed.”

It seems increasingly common to feel overwhelmed. Knowing you are not alone in this may not be an especially consoling thought. Maybe it’s the accelerating pace of life, like the momentum of a snowball gathering speed downhill. Or maybe it’s the hurry and worry of deadlines for things that must get done, and the desperation of needs that must be met. Whatever the origin, feeling overwhelmed happens more than any of us would want, creating stress, anxiety, and poorer health. You can do all you can to avoid it; you can complain about it; you can crumble beneath its weight, or you will have to learn how to deal with it. What is a person to do?

You might momentarily feel better because of the sympathy and support of a friend; it’s good to have a friend who understands and walks alongside you. Also, Godly counsel can help you to maintain perspective and remind you of God’s promises and power, but there are times when turning to God in trust is the only thing that can help.

David knew what it was to feel overwhelmed – the distrust of those he trusted, the betrayal of a son, the encircling enemies, the weight of the crown, and the shame of his guilt – who wouldn’t feel overwhelmed? I’ll tell you what he did not do; he did not give up, nor run and hide. He turned his whole heart to his God! “I will cry to You (Lord) for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for You are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings.” Psalm 61:2 NLT.

When you are overwhelmed: take time! Schedules, more than circumstances, are frequently at the root of your feeling overwhelmed. Remove the hurry and you reduce the worry. Now here’s how you use that time. Take time to rest (time that you think you cannot afford to spare, you actually cannot afford to not set aside). Take time to share honestly with a Godly friend for counsel and prayer.

Take time to pray, inviting God’s help and direction. Don’t assume; ask! Praying makes a difference in you before it makes a difference in your situation. Take time to wait quietly before God. “I am content and at peace, as a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me.” Psalm 131:2 TEV. Quiet your heart in God’s presence. Take time to listen. What’s the use of talking to God about the things you are feeling, if you fail to listen until you hear what God is saying?

Here’s God’s best advice: “Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the Godly to slip and fall.” Psalm 55:22 NLT. Feeling overwhelmed can sometimes signal that you have allowed stuff to push God to the fringes of your everyday life. See 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you keep God at the center of your heart and mind.

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