Instant Stress Reduction

I’ve come to realize that one of the greatest sources of stress in peoples’ lives is that they have divided loyalties. In other words, what we crave in both the day-to-day rhythm of our lives --- and in the long-term direction of our lives – doesn’t match up with the reality of our lives.

This creates dissonance, angst, and stress.

If you read last week’s blog, the man featured was a classic example of this:

·        He wants peace and rest, but his life is crazy busy.

·        He wants deeper relationships with his wife and kids, but their family is defined by consumerism.    

·        He wants to leverage all of who he is towards spreading God’s love, but he’s got a lifestyle and worldly dreams that have him chained to his work.

·        He wants real friends, but his travel keeps him isolated.

He’s trapped between competing loyalties and can’t make the big, courageous decisions needed to break free. He’s living the life he dreamed about in his 20’s, but he’s disillusioned that his heart isn’t feeling the way he hoped it would.

Some of the most miserable Christians I know are in this same pickle because they have one foot in the world and one foot following Jesus.

Here’s a practical tip and a spiritual tip for getting out of this:

Simplify: I don’t want to send the message that following Jesus and having a peaceful life equates to taking a vow of poverty, but the more we want “stuff,” the more we have to work to afford it and spend time maintaining/caring for it. My friend and mentor Bob Buford called it “The Leisure Myth.”  Ask anyone who’s finally sold a second home and they’ll know what I’m talking about. God doesn’t require we surrender nice things.  He’s encouraging us to surrender our attachment to nice things.  That’s a pathway to freedom.

Take a Risk on Jesus: Jesus said if you what you want really live, die to yourself.  What he’s saying is that we should in trade our values system for His.  When we focus on:

·        relationships

·        our personal connection to God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit

·        helping the poor, oppressed, refugee, imprisoned, sick, widows, orphans, etc.

·        letting people know how Jesus can change their “todays” and their eternities

…everything our hearts truly desire (peace, joy, rest, energy, hope, etc.) will be delivered.