If you had to summarize your life in one nutshell sentence, what would you say? Perhaps you would talk about your background, schooling, and degree. You might mention family. Some would talk about career. Others would reflect on additional things they cherish. You might talk about very real struggles that have changed your life. Boiling life down to one statement is hard. But if you had to do it, what would you say?
Recently, I reflected on a disappointing scenario that penetrated my life last year. It hit like a missile, and I found myself deeply sad. Being familiar with the need to make hard decisions for good reasons for long periods of time, I guess I forgot about a real phenomenon. After decades of managing such situations, you end up with a “pile-up.” This pile-up loomed in my thoughts and lingered in my heart. Clearly, I needed a re-boot. Somehow the pile-up had turned into a mountain.
When a person is content, they no longer have task masters cracking the whip over their life. In fact, they settle into a living condition of peace. They have a quiet heart, despite surrounding threats, difficulties, or obstacles. It would be rare to see such a person get “riled up.” This person is quick to be flexible, open to the unforeseen, and satisfied in their heart. The thing they consistently do to remain content is to draw close into God’s great heart in the details of their day. They literally picture themselves in that safe place. It is in this place they can freely ask for wisdom, for creative ideas, for critical insight, and for direction. And – they hear God in their heart – of all things! These folks have learned about contentment.
Life is filled with worries and concerns. Often circumstances beyond your control arise. There is so much to address and manage. Responsibilities. Relationships. Careers. Home and property. Events. Each day is packed. And now with the coronavirus, there is even more to be concerned about.
It is a terrible feeling to be stuck in the corner. Trapped by problems. Maneuverability seems so limited. Fear starts to do its work. Many times life feels like this. No matter how hard you’ve tried to do your best and make good decisions, sometimes you are just stuck in the corner. What options do you have in this place?
God calls each person into their own path – a unique and special path with a promise He will walk with you. Over the long-haul, life is pretty challenging. The good is side-by-side with the hard stuff. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have troubles – but take heart. I have overcome the world.” (Jn. 16:33) This promise brings explanation and comfort in hard seasons. There are times in your every day life that you start to feel like a weary warrior.
I’ve always heard that a three-legged stool is sturdier than a four-legged one, especially on uneven ground. The placement of those three legs provides versatile anchoring on almost any terrain.
Life’s terrain is often unstable. I’m sure you’ve discovered that. You need three versatile life anchor points to secure you on life’s uneven terrain . . . to remain upright and stable no matter what life dishes out to you.
Perspectives change. You reach a level that feels comfortable and becomes your norm. The next thing you know, everything shifts right in front of you. Your relationships change direction. Your health is imminently threatened. Finances become unstable. You relocate and everything is new/different. Someone else makes a decision which drastically changes your life. And so on.
These things affect your thinking. Your thinking affects your perspective.
Life is an amazing privilege with many opportunities. But let’s face it: life is also really hard – especially when you are managing long-term stress.
Stress is an unpleasant, yet common condition that rises when pressure mounts and stakes are high. It surfaces when work load is increased and deadlines loom. When performance and character matter. When the buck stops with you. Stress can be short- or long-term. Most of us get through the short bursts. It’s long-term stress that takes a toll.
Life is filled with many great experiences. Yet, it is also peppered with sad things. Tragedy, disappointment, and even betrayal pierces into every person’s life at some point. You may have already experienced your share of upheaval. Whether from your own choices, someone else’s choices, or just because we live in a fallen world, most people find their life turned upside-down sometime in their journey. Very few people escape this tragic experience. Perhaps you are there now. So, what do you do when life completely up-ends you?