On Control

imageThe other night Michael and I arrived home from dinner to a door we could not open. Our glass front door was stuck shut. Each trying the handle, jiggling and tugging, we realized quickly it was in vain. Thankfully we have another door to the house so I was able to get inside and tried to open the door from there. We discovered, each on opposite sides of the door, that the handle was stuck in the locked position.

An hour and a half, and a new door handle later, we were grateful to be done with this surprise project. And grateful that we worked on the project together without argument.

As far back as I can remember, I looked around and made mental note of any potential stressors. If I could anticipate the problem, I thought, I could control the outcome. I was vigilant with preparedness, sure that being in control was the best way to manage life. Trouble was that managing life isn’t very fun. And it is exhausting.

Several years ago, coming home to the door stuck shut would have left me furious. Its unpredictability would have been a monumental stressor. I would have taken it out on Michael. Most likely I would not have helped him with the project, and would have been steaming mad until it was fixed.

A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to stop trying to control the unexpected, to stop taking inventory of each possible stressor. I kind of think (and I’m not a lunatic or being dramatic about this) that God let me have a heart attack and subsequent health crises to show me who is in charge. I am not in charge, and I needed to loosen up. I needed go easier on myself, to realize that the beauty in my life would come from how I handled the stressors.

So much of life is not in the forecast. I believe learning this is one of life’s great lessons. Although taking things as they come does not come naturally to me, I enjoy choosing to operate this way. I hope that you can’t related at all to what I am talking about, that you never need to be the person who works at going with the flow. But if do struggle with the vigilance of anticipating stress, I encourage you to give it a shot.

Make it a good week!

 

Keep Your Peace

IMG_0370 (1)

Adorable little photo, isn’t it?!  I laughed out loud when I saw it, thinking about the many times I have said this to myself. Last week, at work and at home, my nerves were tested by people with odd requests and unique issues that created more work for me.

But as irritated as I was, and feeling stress as I do, with pressure in my chest and a headache in my temples, I realized I can put myself at risk physically by allowing myself to be so irritated.

Annoyance based upon what others say or do just hurts me. And it does seem to come down to what I allow. Continue reading

Time

Okay, this is a bit of a confession.

Lately time has been kicking my butt. Not enough time.

I have a lot going on personally, at home and at work, and feel pressed. Phrases like “I need to do this, have to do that, must go here, should do this” reverberate in my mind, creating a mental treadmill of stress and pressure.

But I’m doing it to myself.

I drink a lot of hot tea and Good Earth brand writes little quotes on their tea bags. I keep those quotes that I find inspiring and stick them on a small wall space by my desk. One has a Celtic saying, “When God made time, He made enough of it.”

The last few days I have been thinking a lot about this. There is enough time. But I need to stop and breathe, and decide how to use my time. Some things have to go, others need to wait. I need to focus on the big rocks, rather than on the pebbles, as Stephen Covey teaches.

I get it intellectually but, must admit, this is difficult to do.

So, there are no wise words here. But I do believe when God made time, He made enough of it. And I am making it my business this week to remind myself of this as often as needed, to avoid the mental treadmill of stress and pressure.

Do you suffer with your own mental treadmill?