Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Thursday, July 6, 2017

How to Surrender More and Stress Less

Ever notice how some people are so happy go lucky? Nothing seems to bother them and they act like they don't have a care in the world. Then you have the other type: much  more serious, very responsible, perhaps overly responsible and often, much more stressed. What explains this? Personality differences? Upbringing?  Gender differences? Today we're going to talk about how to live life with less struggle and more ease. 

First, let's talk about the possible reasons why some people are more easy-going than others. I've read that men have more serotonin, the mood regulating neuro-transmitter that helps us to feel calm and relaxed. For more on this, read this article.  Another contributing factor is the environment in which we were raised. We learn patterns of thinking from our parents. Often we do not even realize we have unhealthy thinking patterns. Here's a recent personal story that made me aware of how I was thinking.

So I purchased a cutlery set recently - first one in my entire life. I decided to test it out on a watermelon, which are usually an arduous effort to slice. I pulled the chef's knife out of the wood block, blade gleaming, and felt the smoothness of the handle.

"I think I like this knife" I thought as  I drew the blade almost effortlessly across the melon.
"Wow, that was easy!"

All these years I had been struggling with a knife that despite sharpening still made cutting a chore.

"This is like life" I thought.
"If we have the right tools, life can be so much less of a struggle." By tools, I mean our thinking patterns. When we have unhealthy thinking patterns, life becomes so much more difficult.

The next monday, I woke up dreading the day's activities.

Then I remembered the knife.  I decided right then and there to change my approach to my monday morning. Instead of thinking "This is going to be a tough day", I changed my thoughts to "This is going to be an easy day," I kept repeating the phrase over and over during the day. And guess what? It worked! Despite the hours on the phone with financial people, the ex-accountant and dealing with my mom and her worries, I did not feel drained at the end of the day. It was a miracle!

As author, Norman Vincent Peale, puts it in his book, "The Power of Positive Thinking", "the rough is in the mental". In other words, it's how we perceive situations in life that makes them easier or harder to deal with. Now I am not minimizing the hardships we endure, by any means, but I am saying our perspective can make them seem tougher or easier. It is all in how we look at things.

We can either believe God is on our side and working things out for good, or we can play the woe-is-me victim card. We can choose to look for the positives or we can focus on the negatives. There will always be both and it is up to us which we will magnify.

So how do we live with less struggle and more ease? Here are five realizations that have helped me feel less stressed and more at ease.

1. Realize God is in control, not me.
2. Realize God is working things out for my good, no matter how it looks at the time.
3. Realize things happen in God's timing, not mine.
4. Realize I don't have to make things happen in my own strength.
5. Realize that my troubles are temporary.

Life does have it's difficulties, that is for sure, but as Dale Carnegie once said, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." Get up in the morning and speak out positive affirmations like "This is going to be a great day", "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me", and "I am strong in the power of the Lord". Before long, you will feel more energy, be able to accomplish more, and find life easier to deal with.

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Stay tuned for more practical wisdom for igniting the power within and discovering your destiny!

Until next time, keep looking up!