stress relief

 

Stress Relief - A Simple Plan for Living!
by Carl Caton
Can I share with you a simple style of living that creates less stress in your life?  It begins with three rules for daily living.

Stress Relief Rule #1:  
Know What You Should Do.
This is the simplest and easiest part of the plan.  Because most everyone knows what they should do.  Most everyone grew up with parents who taught us what we should and shouldn't do.  Whether you live by "the golden rule", the Ten Commandments, or various family traditions, we all seem to know what we should do.  That's easy.  Now to the hardest part.

Stress Relief Rule #2: 
DO What You Know You Should. 
 
Same words as Rule #1, just a different order.  But as we go about our daily lives, this is the hardest one to apply.  We know what we should do - we simply may not WANT do to it, right?  Or at least that is what we think.  Let me suggest to you otherwise.  Let me give you an example.  Let's say it is a beautiful Saturday afternoon.  You WANT to play golf.  But you know you should help that elderly neighbor down the street with the plumbing leak.  Yes, that same plumbing leak you promised to fix last month.  In your mind, you see one choice as fun, and the other as drudgery.  That's wrong.  Let me tell you why.  Golf will bring happiness, but plumbing repairs will bring a double reward - joy and peace.  (At this point, you probably think I've lost my mind, but hear me out on this.)  Helping the elderly lady may not be fun, but it will be rewarding.  You will finish with a sense of pride and accomplishment.  You will be relieved that you finally got that done.  Your spouse will be proud of you for your selfless devotion to others.  And best of all, you get to enjoy Rule #3.

Stress Relief Rule #3:
Rest in Knowing You Did What You Could.
Enjoying Rule #3 brings incredible joy to your life.  Here's how it works.  There's no such thing as Superman.  No one can fix all the problems that the world offers.  In fact, you will never get your own things done.  There will always be more to do.  More garages to straighten, more repairs to do around the house, more projects to finish at work.  There will always be things unfinished in your relationships with your kids or your spouse.  But you can REST in knowing you did all you could  There's an old saying that goes like this: "Do Your Best... and Leave the Rest for God".  (That doesn't mean rest, as in sleeping.  It means leave all the unfinished tasks for God.)  Think about this:  When Jesus went to bed at night, there were still thousands of sick and hurting people in the world.  Did Jesus not care about these poor souls?  Of course He cared about them.  But He also realized his human limitations.  Jesus did the best He could with his time.  Then He laid His head to rest.

This is my goal.  I want to do the best I can with my time.  And be assured, that we all should have plenty of time to play.  Make certain that you do play golf, if that is your game.  Make sure that you do things that refresh you and re-create you.  "For all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy".  True.  But also make time for the things you know you should.  When my father was in his last years, I moved my office into his home.  Basically, my presence was needed to lift him from the toilet.  I did the best I could.  I spent what I considered was an "appropriate" amount of time.  Then I went home to my family.  Did my father still have needs?  Yes.  In fact a collection of neighbors, friends, and Hospice workers were all required.  But I did my part.  I decided how much time I should give.  And I did.  Then I went home and left that world behind.

Now that my father has passed away, I have no regrets.  I don't worry about all the things I could have done and didn't do.  I did my best.  And I apply this to many parts of my life.  I spend time with my wife.  I spend time with my family.  I try to do a reasonable amount of work around the house.  I try to volunteer a reasonable amount of time in the community.  And yes, I even find time to ride motorcycles, play paintball with my son, make home movies with my daughter, and even catch an occasional basketball game.  I have no regrets.  I never worry about things undone.  I don't lay up at night thinking about all the "could-of", "should-of" and "would-of" in life.

But this is not as easy as it sounds.  You actually have to work at releasing yourself from these things beyond your control.  You constantly have to coach yourself.  You must remind yourself that you aren't Superman or Superwoman.  You are a human being with frailties and faults.  You are even allowed to make mistakes!  But you must release yourself from things beyond your control.  The more you do this, the easier it gets.  For years, you may have stressed over unfinished or undone details in your life.  That won't end overnight.  But as the months and years go by, you'll worry less and less about those things.  More and more, you will have the peace and joy of having known you've done your best.  You will REST in the knowledge of knowing you've done all you can.

I have a stress free life.  Not because my life has no stress.  But because I do my best... and leave the rest for God.  He's a big guy.  He can handle it.

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. James 4:17"

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