How do you handle stress?
I usually have one of two reactions. The first is to try to work harder and go faster. Forget asking for help, forget prayer, just put your head down and run forward until the job is done.
The second is to back away from whatever it is that’s producing the stress. I shut down, check out, procrastinate, make excuses. Again, forget asking for help, just busy yourself with other, less important but more urgent work until there’s no room to tackle the important but stressful work I really should do.
Chances are the first reaction sounds better to you. It’s in line with our good ol’ American work ethic. And honestly, it is much more likely to get the job done and produce a good result than the second.
But would you believe that, in and of themselves, both reactions actually start with the same faulty belief: It’s all up to me.
And so whether speeding up or shutting down, in both cases it’s like trying to plug an electrical cord into itself.
Jesus lived differently. He lived in a posture of humble receptivity. And he invites us to do the same.
Humble receptivity means accepting you can only live successfully when you’re connected to God (humility) and accepting that he’s always giving what you need to accomplish what he’s asking of you (receptivity).
Humility means living like there’s one God and you’re not him, accepting this is all about him, not about you. Receptivity means having an expectancy that he’s here, speaking, giving, loving.
Humility means living for him and his purposes, rather than your own. Receptivity means living from God–that moment by moment, who you were made to be and what you were made to do flows from him.
How do you typically handle stress? Is it working for you? How might you practice today walking in humble receptivity instead?
Thank you Josh for your thoughtful honesty. It came at a good time. Sitting here surrounded by paper, paper, paper on my desk … I have a wooden cross that was given to me many years ago. It is made from the wood from an old church organ that was being replaced with a new one. The cross has been sitting on my desk ever since. Before I go to bed each night, I gather the papers (sort of) and put the cross on top. It reminds and centers me on whose business I’m about anyway. Thanks again.
Thank you, Helen. I love the image of a wooden cross atop those things left “undone” at the end of the day.