Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The "Present Time Zone" (Stress)

In the devotionals below, I talked about the “Past Time Zone” and the “Future Time Zone” in your mind.  The present is the only place where you can live.  However, if you keep thinking about all the things that you need to do today, you will get “stressed out.”  

Martha in the Bible is someone who was always stressed-out. Jesus said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary" (Luke 10:41-42).  She wasn’t properly managing the “time zones” in her mind. 

She was worried because her mind got stuck in the future, and she was bothered (stressed-out) because she was thinking about too many things in the present.  He says, “Martha, you keep thinking about things that I didn’t call you to do.  Only one thing is necessary.  Concentrate on what I want you to do.”

We usually get stressed out by taking on too many responsibilities.  In the old west, cowboys would put their branding irons in the campfire to heat them up so they could mark their cattle.  If they put too many irons in the fire, it would put out the fire. Too many irons in the fire will put out your fire, too!  You don’t need to do everything—but only the things God has called you to do. 

How can you reduce your stress?
1.Control what you think about.  Do you realize that you can choose to NOT think about some things?

2. Get more organized. Many people are stressed-out because they have no structure in their lives. They bounce around like a ball in a pin-ball machine, reacting to whatever happens to them. Write down the things you need to do for the day and prioritize them.

3. Handle one task at a time.  Don’t try to do five things at once. Accomplish the highest priority task first, then the next, and so on.

4. Simplify your life. Jesus said, “Only one thing is necessary.” He didn’t say “Four hundred things are necessary.”  What is that “one thing”?  It’s seeking to hear God and please Him in all that you do.

Coming in April 2013: Slaying Your Giants by Kent Crockett (Hendrickson Publishers)