Everyone has stress at some level. Stress is often thought or talked about in a negative way. Stress develops when there is tension between a person, place, or thing. However, there’s good stress and bad stress. The bad kind of stress produces medical, emotional, and relational issues that can lead to breakdowns in every area of our lives. On the other hand, without tension between muscles and tendons we couldn’t use our arms and legs; this is good stress.
Stop for a moment and jot down five major bad stressors in your life. Who or what is pulling on you in a negative way and stealing your joy, rest, and your vitality for life? Here’s some unsolicited advice. Where possible, now may be the time to cut those things or people out of your life. Yes, I know. Shocking, right? It’s true, though, there are some people who use good-hearted people like you and me as their toxic waste dumps, and it is poisoning our systems. You can pray for someone and love someone from a distance, but keeping them at a distance might be the best way to live a life of peace.
The Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:18 (NIV), “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” The implication to this exhortation is that some people make it impossible to have a peaceful relationship. They are angry individuals that take their pain out on anyone who will put up with it. Well, today is the day to say, “Enough is enough.” Also, if there are television shows or social media platforms that keep you stirred up and angry, TURN THEM OFF! Stop allowing outside distractions to disturb your internal peace. Call a peace officer. Oh, and by the way, YOU ARE THE PEACE OFFICER.
Here’s another question to consider. What do you do to decompress and renew yourself? I was in a meeting the other day where someone asked the question, “What do you do for fun or to ‘fill your tank?’” I had to stop and think, and honestly I had a difficult time identifying “that thing.” I’m currently reading a book, How Full Is Your Bucket?, by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton. This little book stresses the importance of keeping the bucket of your life filled with people who pour into you and not just take from you. It’s not just about allowing others to pour into you and not dip from your bucket; rather it’s also about pouring into others and adding value to their life.
This past week I was part of a four-hour training process where the leader of the organization shared that one of their core values that shapes the culture of the organization is positive affirmation. Their tag line, which goes along with this core value, is See It and Say It. I suggested that they develop a matrix that listed all of the names of the team with the four core values listed. I also suggested they spread the list over a week and pray for each other and prayerfully consider how each one could implement this value with the person for whom they are praying. I suggest that perhaps you would consider doing the same thing.
Here is one last thought to ponder. We just completed our 7th Annual Awards Breakfast, Honoring Women of the Greater Akron Area, #AkronThanksHer. The challenge to those in attendance was to tell the women in our lives why we value and appreciate them. If you have not done that, this serves as your friendly reminder. While we had a specific focus on thanking women, don’t limit your thanks. Simply look for someone in your world who needs someone to pour kindness into their bucket.
This week, don’t feel obligated to allow anything or anyone to disturb your peace, but instead allow the Prince of Peace to rule in your heart.