Stressed? Be still…

How do we find peace in a world full of chaos and deadlines? Work, children, responsibilities at home, overthinking, iPhones and everyday distractions devour our time. And we can’t forget about relationships, can we? Or do we? The noise overloads our minds and leaves us feeling numb. People drink to excess and tranquilize themselves. Our pharmaceutical industry assures us that their “wonder drug” will cure whatever ails us and we buy it! People are stressed to capacity and some are at their breaking point. These hyper-stressed levels cause people to be short with others, only to regret it later. Others unnecessarily beat themselves up over mistakes long past and are full of regrets. Patience, once known as a virtue, is rarely found. Simple kindness has been replaced by rudeness, and sometimes cruelty. People are living unfulfilled lives and it feels like our planet is going to explode!

There are countless books and seminars that tell us how to create the life we want, restore order in our lives and reclaim our joy. Counter that pursuit with a culture that believes being busy is a sign of importance and nothing changes in our lives. But I believe there is a solution.

It begins with patience, and patience is a manifestation of a loving heart. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that “Love is patient.” The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Beautiful writings, but how do you put it into your life?

Carve out some quiet-time where there are no distractions, free from mental clutter. For me, some days that means I arise at 4:00 a.m. to get 15-20 minutes of peace. During that time I meditate on the things I am grateful for in my life, not allowing one negative thought to slip in. The challenges of the day are still there, and I will tackle them. But I find that I am more effective in my life by being quiet for a short period of time. This sounds counterintuitive to my personality. I have a tremendous energy level and my mind is always going warp speed. But I listened to a close friend who told me “if I want to accomplish all the things I say I do, then I needed to clear my mind of the clutter.” I resisted for a while, but I finally relented and my productivity went up!

I challege you and encourage you to try it. What do you have to lose? Stress and worry? I leave you with a quote from Thomas Carlysle: “We are always looking far ahead, unable to enjoy the moment we are in because of impatience.”