Saturday, May 10, 2014

Walking with God through Stressful Days

I hate being stressed out.  So often I just chose not to deal with stressful circumstances.  This works well for me when I am stressed about something like getting stuck in traffic and being late as a result.  I just go to my happy place and sit in my car relaxing as crawl down the road.  I reason that being stressed out won't get me there any sooner so I might as well just enjoy the moment I am in and deal with the problem when it comes.  Often I end up being on time, just miss brief introductions, the meeting is also running late, or others are even later than me.  Being stressed would have been entirely unnecessary.

Unfortunately, not every stressful situation is as simple to deal with as getting stuck in traffic.  Nor as quickly resolved.

Recently I found myself feeling stressed over a work situation.  It was an ongoing problem that could not be run away from.  I could certainly go to my happy place but eventually I would have to come back and deal with it, until I did it would not go away but would only get worse.  I hate that.

One afternoon as I was feeling particularly stressed I was praying  and begging God to bring me peace, help me find that happy place and take care of this problem.  But as I prayed I knew that even if He gave me peace in that moment, I would still have to address the problem.  That was my job. There was just no getting around it.  And in that moment of clarity God gently told me I was asking Him for the wrong thing.  Not that asking for God's peace was wrong but I wanted him to make it go away, to not have to deal with the problem.  What I really needed to be asking was for God to walk with me through the problem, to give me wisdom and peace while dealing with it.

A couple days later as God was walking with me the situation actually got worse not better.  But, in that moment it became clear what needed to be done.  The biggest stress of the situation had been in not knowing which right choice to make but now it was clear and I could make a decision.  And once I did that we were able to start over and ended up with a far better outcome.  I couldn't see this better outcome at the time but God could and he walked me over what now seems like a minor bump in the road.

I wish every hard decision had such a quick positive outcome.  I wish I could so clearly see God's hand in every course correction.  But having a week like this gives me something to hold on to when the stress spans months or years and I am having a hard time seeing the other side.

In my perfect world I have no stress.  Everything goes smoothly, people always do the right thing, problems do not exist.  In the real world, stuff happens, not everyone does the right thing and as a result we need God, need him to lean on, hold us, walk with us, save us.

Thank you Lord for walking with me through every trial and challenge.

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