Several years ago, I met a bubbly and enthusiastic woman. As I got to know her, I was amazed at her life story. She was a goal setter, had a college degree, got married and expected her goals to become a reality.
She discovered, however, that the career she had chosen was not what she had hoped for. She was happy to be a stay-at-home mom, but when her second child died in the womb, she was devastated and was convinced it was her fault even when doctors assured her it wasn’t. She went from a healthy, vibrant individual to sinking into a troubling depression.
During this time, she found a bracelet lying on the sidewalk. She discovered words inscribed on the bracelet… words like imagine, believe, and create.
At a women’s retreat, I asked, “Who has experienced stress in the past week?”
All hands went up. I then asked how they knew they were stressed. Their comments ranged from “constantly feeling overwhelmed” to “exhausted.”
They were unable to get everything done that was expected of them and there was little time left for pleasure or relaxation. They felt there was never enough time, there was too much to do, and they were constantly required to learn something new.
As I jotted their responses on the white board, I was reminded again of just how many demands are placed on us every day and the heavy toll it can have on our lives.
Every day we get up, go to work, make meals, clean our houses, and try to unwind at the end of the day. We are adjusting to whatever demands are put on us. When properly channeled, stress provides the energy and adaptability to live happy, energetic, and productive lives.
Each person responds to life differently. What one person sees as overwhelming energizes another. Personality traits and our genetic predisposition play a role in how we perceive and respond to circumstances. But that does not mean we are locked into only one way of responding to life’s challenges.
When we recognize and understand what creates a negative stress response for us, we can alter our approach and put that stress to work for us instead of against us.
In the quiet of a cave, God spoke to Elijah; in the stillness of the night, He came to Samuel.
It is in those quiet moments when God expands our awareness to live life to its fullest. But what does it mean to live life to its fullest?
Living life is a journey. It is the time we have at our disposal every day. It is the clouds and grey skies as well as the moments of sunshine, beauty, and harmony. Every day we meld it all together for good.
It’s waging war while searching for peace.
Life is full of challenges and sometimes it seems like we are going from one hardship to another with little time to recover between.
But what if we looked at adversity in a different way?
Would we see something of value for us going through hardships and difficult times? Here is a piece I wrote in 2014 about what I learned from adversity.
Adversity a blessing? You’ve got to be kidding!
Who would even consider such a thing? Who wants difficulties? And how can misfortunes or hard times ever be considered a blessing?