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Chris Carpenter
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Up to My Eyeballs ... And Then Some

By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director

CBN.com - Is this you?

• You are gaining weight because donuts are quicker and easier than making a salad.

• You get up in the middle of the night to write and send an email that just can’t wait until morning.

• Despite your best efforts, you are falling asleep in church or at important family events.

• You are always late for school concerts, sporting events, or family dinners.

• You are recording important conversations with your boss or co-workers so you don’t forget a critical piece of information.

• Even though you slept the entire night you awake feeling like you never went to bed.

• Your most meaningful conversations with your spouse are on a cell phone.

• You see your children more often when they are asleep than when they are awake.

• You argue with your spouse over deciding who will make the decision regarding who will make the decision.

• You find yourself cramming for the Sunday School class you teach one hour before it begins because you haven’t had time during the week to prepare.

• Sometimes you question the existence of God due to the frenzied, unforgiving pace your life has become.

If you answered yes to even half of the questions above than you are up to your eyeballs … and then some.

For better or worse we are living in an unrelenting world that demands we work harder, longer, and much faster than the generation before. There is no other way, we must have it all. This is so we can pay for the house, two cars, the needs of our children, and consistently make our employer believe we are Superman or Wonder Woman. All in the name of progress.

I had to laugh the other day when I heard a rather prominent psychologist on television waxing poetic about all of the easy yet effective ways to curb stress in our lives. While her suggestions looked real good as a colorful graphic on my TV screen they were unrealistic to say the least. Here are a few: Get a quality education because college-educated people do better in the economy. While this is true, what she failed to mention was that a quality education usually brings jobs with more responsibility and with more responsibility comes more headaches. Maintain a sense of humor. There is only so much humor you can use when trying to explain to your spouse for the 37th time why you are late. And the piece de resistance … Maximize your work time. But therein lays the problem. Most people are totally maxed out in their work time which is causing the stress in the first place.

Needless to say, in psychologists I do not put a great deal of trust.

So the question persists, how do you effectively rise at 5am each morning, prepare breakfast for your children, get them off to school, be in the office by 8am, work a full eight hour day, make sure the children get to and are picked up after their various practices, rehearsals, or lessons, prepare dinner, help the children with their homework, get them to bed at a reasonable hour, complete some paperwork from the office that will not wait, and still be a model husband or wife in the remaining moments of the day? Furthermore, where does God fit into this rather complicated equation?

This seemingly impossible routine is a common pitfall in our continuous pursuit of having it all. Life lived at such a frenetic, harried pace is often unforgiving, especially to someone whose career is their lifeblood. Workaholics find it even more difficult to "fit in" other areas in their lives such as family and faith.

So if psychologists cannot provide the answer than who can? Whenever I am faced with such a question I always turn to the Bible. On the topic of stress and anxiety, I find two passages that address this eloquently but more importantly they are very realistic in how we might apply them to our lives.

In John 14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Whatever our circumstances might be, God wants us to experience His peace. This peace does not produce an absence of conflict but instead the ability to cope with it. Peace or no peace, life will continue to pressure us, to squeeze us tightly, and sometimes engulf us with a litany of daily problems. The key is that as we walk in harmony with God, we put our trust in Him regardless of the outcome. You have likely heard this before but it is worth repeating: with each passing day, we can seek to change the things we are able to change, accept what we have no power to change, and leave the final results to God.*

To be free of stress and anxiety is to be liberated and free. In John 8:31-32, Jesus said to several folks who believed in Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

I don’t know of a man, woman, or child alive who doesn’t want to experience the refreshing delight found in freedom. To be independent without restriction of any kind is something we all aspire to. I often joke to a good friend of mine that it seems the older I get the less responsibility I want, whereas when I was younger I always wanted more responsibility.

I should point out that with any freedom comes a certain degree of responsibility. For example, Christian freedom always involves moral responsibility and submission to the will of God. Knowing God’s Word and abiding in Him is the source of all true freedom. What this type of freedom does is that it separates us from our sins and guilt, releases us from the bondage of bad habits, and forever liberates us from the eternal consequences of our sins. This is a bit of welcome stress relief.*

According to the Red Bluff Daily News (California), stress is linked to all six of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, lung ailments and suicide. Furthermore, 75 percent of doctor visits concern stress-related ailments. Why put yourself through such pain and suffering when the end all, be all cure can be found in the red-lettered pages of His Word?

* Portions contained within this article from the Transformer Study Bible.

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