It has occurred to me that stress is not an automatic condition. For years I have felt stressed out and overcome by challenges and difficulties. I don’t mean all the time, but boy have I felt extremely overcome at times. I know, we always hear “let go, and let God”. “Trust in Him”. I have had difficulties with that. I don’t mean difficulties believing God is there. But you see, I have also heard all my life “God helps those who helps themselves”; “To whom much is given, much is expected”. Yes, I have heard those things and many other aphorisms.
In the past oh maybe 15 years, though, life’s challenges often ended up making me feel completely overwhelmed, stressed, upset. I prayed continually for guidance, and tried to follow where it seemed God was leading me. But boy oh boy, the stress level just stayed super high. To relieve the stress I ate lots of garbage-y food (you know the categories—chips, cookies, etc). Of course, that didn’t help. It tasted good at the time, but the stress remained. I became less and less me in bits and pieces. What the heck was going on? I looked to Scripture and the things I had learned about life and successful living. Where were they leading me and what was wrong?
In the past 9 weeks of my lifestyle change project my mind has had time to re-group while I exercised. No, the challenges and difficulties that are in front of me have not gone away. But guess what? I, for the life of me, cannot hang on to the negative stress and obsessed feelings that I had before. My internal chemistry has begun to change, most definitely. Beyond that, though, my mindset has changed. The noise in my head caused by a continuous loop of stressful thoughts was quieter, not gone, but quieter.
Here is the other thing that has changed. Look back up at those photos. Do you see that map? I cannot drive and read that map, nor can I read the Scriptures and drive. Time has to be set aside for prayer and Scripture, most definitely. As we learn Scripture, it eventually is written on our hearts. I had been doing that all along, but negative loops drowned out the message at times.
But the map, now that is a different story. In real life, the metaphorical roads are continually changing as we travel through live. Roads disappear. Bridges wash out. We still need to find a way to our destination and adjust our routes. What are we to do? The map we began the trip with becomes outdated! There is the stressor! Life is interactive, ever-changing, and full of delights if we remember to look at it that way. But how do we make sure that we don’t drive off a cliff? AHHH are you ready?
We must always turn on (and leave on and listen to) our very special GPS—not a Global Positioning System. Oh no, not that–because they also get it wrong at times, no matter how up-to-date they are and no matter how many times you download updates. Man-made global positioning systems are only as reliable as man. We must have on God’s Positioning System. Yes, His voice can quietly guide us (figuratively and literally) through a hurricane, washed out road, detour, accident scene or however you want to put it. So when we get in our life-car, we need to turn on His GPS ~ and fasten our seatbelts ~yes, it’s going to be a bumpy ride ~ but what a ride it will be!