How do you handle stress?

The last few weeks have been absolutely crazy for me at work.  A HUGE project due.  With high stakes, because if it isn’t done on time, all sales come to crushing stop.  Yeah, just a little pressure.  Then a week later, Convention!  Which means numbers to pull and presentations to write.  No sooner does that end, and I am thrown full force into and ISO audit.  Since we are a new division, none of our procedures have been put into ISO format, and I have a lot of work ahead of me.  (In case you are wondering, ISO 9001:2008 is a quality management system, and its a huge deal in the manufacturing world).

I hate being stressed.

My typical response is “I choose not to participate”.  I plan ahead.  I even plan in “extra” time at the ending for the crazies.  When there is a lot to do, I just take a deep breathe, say a prayer, put together a quick plan, and dive in to complete the most important task, eliminating the non-essentials, and tackling it one step at a time.

Determined to win.  I am a planner who thrives under pressure.

But this one got the better of me.  Poor planning on the part of others meant that I got roped into a number of things at the last minute.  And I found myself repeating over and over the lessons that God has taught me over the years.  Wishing that I could just once and for all master PEACE.  And finding myself falling amazingly short.

So I found myself rising even earlier than normal, determined to pray.  Instead I spent half the time making lists in my head of everything that I needed to do.  More restless when I finished praying than when I started.

STOP!

One day, determined for a bit of sanity, I shut my office door at lunch.  I sat down on the floor  where no one could see me if they peaked in through the window or opened the door, and I read a chapter of Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray.  Great book!  (And its in the public domain, so you can get the ebook for free).

And I heard Him telling me that there is more to this life.

It’s okay if I don’t pass this test.   He never expected me to do it perfectly.  I am the foolish one who seems surprised when I find myself on my face again.

I got through it.  My daughter may have puked as I was walking out the door to catch a plane, and I may have been up until 10 PM drafting contracts in between convention sessions.  I may have even shed a tear or two.  But my God got me through.

He always does.  It’s me that forgets.

It’s not about me,

what I can do,

or even about how “I” can remain in

PEACE

in the midst of the storm.

It’s about Him.

It’s always been about Him.

 

Always Him.

 

“Seek peace and pursue it” Psalm 34:14b

Halfway between an introvert and an extrovert

I recently discovered that I am an ambivert.  Halfway between being an introvert and extrovert.  And it only took me 37 years to figure that one out!

When I was younger, I was strongly extroverted.  I was a cheerleader in high-school, I sang solos at church.  Even now, I was recently asked to speak at an event, and I was excited beyond belief! (Asking me if I want to get up and speak about God to a group of people is like asking me if I want to breathe).

Back in college I lived in houses with 7, 8 even 9 women.  And I loved it.  Always someone to talk to!  Once a housemate told me that she needed regular “alone time” and I had absolutely no idea what she meant by that.

I lived by myself for 6 loooooong weeks before I got married – and I hated it.  Never again!  If someday I become a widow, I will move in with my kids, or live it up Golden Girl style (minus all the loose living of course!)

Yet the older I get, the more introverted I have become.  I need time to myself, time to reflect, time to think.  I process by writing (shocking, I know.)  I love to do nothing but stay home for a whole weekend.  Of course my home is also home to 4 other people, so it’s not exactly like I am there alone.

Recently our car was in the shop for TWO weeks (yes, TWO weeks).  Which meant the whole family had to drive me to and from work.  Which meant that I also lost my “alone” time.  I found myself desperately seeking the quiet.  Greatly missing the time to be alone with my thoughts and my God.  Thankfully we picked up the car today!

I have found that I need just the exact amount of balance between the social and the solitude to keep my life in happy harmony.  Too little time to myself and I feel like a mess.  Too much time, and I want to climb the walls.

Finding the happy medium brings peace and order into my life.  Hmmmm….PEACE.

“Seek peace and pursue it” Psalm 34:14b

Standing in your Truth

There are some days that I just don’t want to open up the budget software.  Recently we got hit by several really big expenses - all unexpected and unplanned.  New tires for my car (we hit not one, but two pot holes), a new engine for my husband’s car, larger than expected taxes, and a big medical bill.  You do the math…oh my! Continue reading

Surrounded by a cloud of Witnesses

Tuesday I was praying for an older brother in the church who was in a coma.  When I felt the Holy Spirit’s presence and could almost hear the invisible choir.  Literally almost hear it.  The light, the joy – and my heart sang. In an instant I knew he was going home, and that there would be great rejoicing.  And I felt myself longing for that place.  To hear those voices sing, to see my God face to face.

I have been blessed to be surrounded by such strong men and women of God.  I know that the passing of the generations above me will be painful, yet such joy in the thought of them hearing that voice say “well done, good and faithful servant.”

Inner Freedom

Freedom is tightly woven into the American culture.  It is embedded in our hearts, a defining part of who we are as individuals.  So integral that you do not think about it being there, anymore than you think about breathing.  It just is.

When I was younger I thought freedom was being able to do whatever I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.  It was breaking free from the restrictive rules that were around me. Continue reading

God fixed my car!

Twice in the last week I prayed and God immediately answered…and I just need to give Him a shout out!  Monday I was leaving my subdivision when I hit a patch of ice.  I realized quickly that my car was not going to stop, and I could see a car coming at 40mph straight towards me.  My life flashed before my eyes as I screamed out the name of Jesus in a prayer.  Instantly my car stopped.  And I mean instantly.

Continue reading

Hands Free Mama

I first saw it on Facebook, a new book called “Hands Free Mama: A guide to putting down the phone, burning the to do list, and letting go of perfection to grasp what really matters!” by Rachel Mary Stafford.  Just reading the title made me want to turn and run.  Both towards the book (because I knew I needed it), and away from it, because I knew that it would be a painful – yet very necessary journey for me to take. Continue reading