Tuesday, June 12, 2012

They Said It Would Happen.... and It Did

The minute I told my sweet friend that I had written a book called Stressed-Less Living, she told me to watch out.

Watch out for the enemy's tactics. Watch out for the problems that he would throw into my path.  Watch out for stressful situations that were sure to rage into my life, threatening to cause me to stumble in my quest to live the stressed-less life.

And she was right.

For the past ten months, a myriad of situations have stormed into my life like hurricanes on a mission. Some have increased gradually, while others have blown in from out of nowhere.

But one thing every circumstance has in common, is that they came with a boat load of stress.

I decided I could do one of two things.

I could be mad at God for allowing these stressful situations to happen - all while I'm trying to write a book about stress, in the hopes of ministering to others in Jesus name, for goodness sakes! After all, shouldn't God be protecting me, instead of allowing more stress in my life?

Or,  I could allow my heart to view these circumstances as gifts from God. Gifts that would give me more hands-on training in finding calm in the chaos of life. Gifts that would further equip me to help others discover peace, when peace seems unrealistic. Gifts that would help me to understand what James 1:2 really means, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,".

Fortunately, I chose the latter. 

But don't we all get lured into thinking that negative way at times? We think that our good Christian service, or our daily prayers, or our commitment to daily devotions or going to church every Sunday, should create an invisible force field around our life, shielding us from any stressful storms that threaten to come raining down upon us.

Unfortunately, although God is fair and loving, life is not always that way.  Although God is compassionate, not all people are.  Although we don't deserve difficult trials, trials are part of normal life. And each and every experience is a "test" of our faith in one way or another, for our long term benefit.

We can never be "good enough" to prevent life from  happening, no matter how hard we try. Yet, we can learn to trust in our God whose will and ways are always perfect, even when they are stressful.

In Tony Evan's book, Between A Rock and A Hard Place (2010), he said this: 

"He tests you, and me, because He wants what is best for us. He tests us because He is getting ready to do something amazing in our lives. The way that He tests us is by putting us in a stressful scenario. God puts us on a treadmill. He designs a unique treadmill test to measure and reveal the real condition of our souls. 

Of course, no one likes a trial. No one wakes up in the morning, stretches, and says, “Ah, what a beautiful day for a trial! I think I’d like to have a trial today!” That would be an unusual person who would do something like that. Yet, no matter how much we want to avoid trials in our lives, trials are inevitable. No one is immune to trials"

Trials - some more stressful than others - will always come. We all have to make a choice. To either prepare our hearts to handle the stress, or allow the stress to damage our hearts.

The key to stressed-less living is not living a stress free life, but learning to trust God and embrace His joy and peace in the midst of our stressful lives. It requires accepting and believing that somehow, someday, some way... God is teaching us to trust Him, and seek peace from Him, and Him alone.

Has God ever used a stressful trial in your life to groom you for something amazing, teach you how much He loves you. or equip you for His great plans?

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Gramma Ginny said...

I met my first husband at age 16, married at 18, became a mom at 19. After 25 years of marriage I choose divorce...my husband had been unfaithful many times and was actually living with another woman at the time. It was my choice but still incredible stressful...I had never lived alone...very little financial resources...it required moment by moment trusting God..the other way I made it through. Praise God he gave me strength and courage and 4 years later a Godly man and a man of intergrity to share my life with. Through the last 22 years I continue to trust the Lord in Stressful times. He has always been faithful. Looking back to that stressful time and God's hand on it always encourages me.

Anonymous said...

What great words of wisdom about how we should approach life's stressors... Thank you. I am sharing today's blog with a friend of mine who is going through a hard time finding a job & unemployment has reached its limit. My prayer is that it will give her a renewed sense of hope.
Bless you,
Tara Norton-Loyd

Kathleen said...

Many times in both big and small ways/situations. I find that it is the day to day stressors that I still find the hardest to receive with the correct attitude. In some ways it is easier to turn to the Lord immediately during crises. Maybe because we are more aware of our need and also because others are often aware of our crises and praying.

Heartsong said...

Thank you, Tracie! In the many trials of life, God has to remind me often that I can choose joy, or.... I can choose chaos. He is our only source of peace, love, light and joy! I like the way you put it. We can choose to find our rest, our peace, our joy, in Him. He never fails. I always regret the times that I fail to choose joy.

Wendy said...

Tracie, what a wonderful reminder this week. Like you, I have been working several months on a book that I know God has placed on my heart. But as I try to write, I find that I am challenged constantly with exactly the situations that I am writing about. I found that I had the same two choices, and I am grateful that God led me to the same decision that He led you to. I'm finding that even in these trials, He is shaping and molding me and my message into so much more than would have ever been possible if I had not experienced the challenges that I am facing.

Tracie said...

Gramma Ginny - what a blessing to hear how God brought you through that hard time and wrapped it up with an amazing man to share life with. Thanks for sharing!

Tara - thanks for forwarding the post to your friend - I hope it encourages her!

Kathleen - you are so right on target! The day to day stressors are harder to deal with than the big things sometimes, because they just never let up! That is a major part of my upcoming book because we all struggle with that!

Wendy - how exciting about the book you are writing! I pray God pours words out of your heart and onto the pages!