A man once said, “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”
I realized I’m going to die soon. Not, you know, imminently. But soon. Even sixty is soon. seventy, eighty, ninety, still soon. And I’ll be lucky if I get that old. When I consider the reality of eternity it makes me want to make sure I make every moment alive to be “Worth Living For.”
Why spend countless days feeling “Stuck” I wrote down a few things that have helped me in the past to get out of a rut and back on track. Making every moment on this journey count.
I pray something in this short blog blesses you today!
1. Have a greater purpose than today.
If life is all about your current situation – when times are good you’ll be good, but when times are bad – life will be very bad. You have to live your life with a greater purpose. What’s beyond today? Where are you headed? What’s the future look like for you? Do you have a plan beyond the stress of today? It will help free your mind from stress when you can lift your focus. Of course, mine is an eternal purpose! And, I recommend it, but there must be something you are living for beyond the stress of today.
2. Think on all the good things.
It is a discipline to think of the glass as half full. Stress often comes through what consumes our mind. Garbage in – garbage out. In times of extreme stress, we have to pull from a predetermined and preconditioned ability to look to the bright side. The Apostle Paul said it like this, “keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
Keep a gratitude log – Several studies have shown a link between our gratitude and our overall well-being. Gratitude keeps us healthy!
One way to remain focused is keeping a gratitude log for the week. If you start to feel that bad mood creeping up on you, pause and write down three things you’re grateful for. Keep a list on your phone, on your computer, or in a handwritten journal. But keep it up for the whole week.
3. Stay as physically healthy as possible.
Stress attacks weakness. Exercise and eating healthy are always good ideas, but it becomes monumentally important during stressful times of life. I have had challenges with my weight and eating habits back as far as I can remember. Eating good and exercise is like prayer to a certain degree. The more that you do it, the more that you desire to do it. The problem is getting unstuck and starting to do what we know that’s the right thing to do. We tend to do the opposite. We skip our workouts and grab junk to eat. In the process, we starve our bodies of energy and our brains of needed nutrition and activity.
4. Forgive easily and often.
We don’t often attribute this one to stress, but the lack of forgiveness injures you more than the person who injured you. Holding a grudge leads to bitterness. Bitterness leads to stored-up destructive emotions – which is a recipe for stress. Pile on the normal stress of life and you’re going to be one stressed out person. Let go. Forgive. Never hold a grudge for long. Forgiveness leads to freedom – and the more freedom you find the less stress will have an impact upon you.
5. Ground yourself in God’s Word.
You need some roots in something which will sustain you during times of stress. Many of God’s people are focused on “fruits” when in reality they need “roots.” God’s word is my foundation. I try to read it everyday. I try to memorize it. I sometimes write a verse down so I can see it during the week. Here’s a good verse: “He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.” (Philippians 1:6) Or, “When I am afraid I will trust in You, in God whose word I praise.” (Psalm 56:3-4) Find your verse – your truth – and cling to it; especially during stressful seasons.
6. Be a giver.
This one never makes sense to people until the try it, but people who cling tightly to what they have stress when they have less. The more we try to control what we have the more it leads to frustration when it seems to be in jeopardy. Giving does something spectacular in our hearts. It frees us to experience joy. (Again, you have to try this one for it to make sense.)
7. Celebrate often.
Take time to laugh. Decompress. Unwind. Choose the bright side of life. It is there even on the worst days. Sometimes I get up, put my headphones in my phone, crank up an upbeat worship song – and have some church. It breaks the hold stress has on me at the time. Also, surround yourself with positive people when you can. Don’t surround yourself with negative people and don’t give them the same leverage in your life.
Example – How wise were the wise? The wise virgins realized that they could not help the unwise if in fact it meant losing their last bit of oil!
Find a community of hope. This is what church does for me. Let’s get unstuck and stay on the solid road that God has for each of us.