Life is tough. Being an adult is difficult, and being a responsible adult is even harder. At times. It’s enough to make you long for the days of innocence and carefree worries – the life of a child. Or a cat.
The anxiety has been getting the better of me lately to the point where those closest in my life were beginning to wonder if I was regressing to the state I was in 2.5 years ago. Those were dark times, those that I don’t want to revisit.
But I wasn’t approaching that point. My mind has just been running 90 miles an hour, playing and replaying “what-if” games constantly. Questioning and doubting every little decision, always looking for the “right” answer.
I had to take a step back and reevaluate again. And it was difficult because I have a tendency to see the bad in every situation.
I sat down and made a list. Or a “guide” rather. Looking at the things that stress me out, and taking the wisdom from those around me I finally came out with the following, which is growing daily:
Guide to Living a Less Stressful Life
- Trust in God and ALWAYS keep your faith.
- Stop pretending that you are in control. No amount of planning will change what He has planned for you.
- Stop living for a false idol. At the end of your life you do not get to take any of your money with you.
- You are not supposed to know all the answers. Stop trying to find the meaning behind everything that happens in life. Life is a journey and everything that happens is there to guide you along the way.
- It is not the obstacles and challenges in life that define you, but rather how you respond to them. Always look for the positive in every situation.
- No matter how hard it gets, it will always be okay in the end.
- You are not living your life for others around you. Your accomplishments and achievements are noticed by those you matter, your failures are noticed by those who don’t.
- Do not judge others for living a life that is different than your own.
- Be kind to everyone. Those who it is most difficult to be kind to need it the most.
- Forgive and clear your heart at the end of every day. Do not let the burdens of today carry over to tomorrow, which is never promised.
- Slow down and pay attention to the little details. In the end, they make up the big picture
And I printed this off and have this at my desk at work so I can see it every day as a reminder.
1) Trust in God and ALWAYS keep your faith.
Oh how my faith has been so easily shaken. Our faith has been tested a LOT lately, especially since we decided to start going to church. Financially, academically, career wise, relationship wise. But I’m learning to trust in what matters.
2) Stop pretending that you are in control. No amount of planning will change what He has planned for you.
I am a planner. I, actually, probably take planning to the extreme. I scheduled this year’s Thanksgiving dinner last year. I have a 10 year financial budget. I have vacations planned 5 years from now. But it doesn’t matter. Yes, it IS important to HAVE a plan, but always be prepared for the plan to change. I do not know what tomorrow brings, but He does.
3) Stop living for a false idol. At the end of your life you do not get to take any of your money with you.
As I said above, I have a 10 year financial budget. And it gets modified and updated weekly, if not daily. But we have been so consumed with having a certain amount of money that we neglect the here-and-now. “We can’t do this because we have this coming up in a few years.” We are letting our lives and opportunities pass us by so we can have a certain amount of money on hand. To use for nothing. To just have. For who knows what reason. Live life, enjoy the present.
4) You are not supposed to know all the answers. Stop trying to find the meaning behind everything that happens in life. Life is a journey and everything that happens is there to guide you along the way.
This one is a struggle to me personally. And this has been one of the main reasons my faith has wavered in the past. I feel like I always have to know the reasoning. “This happened because of this.” I over-analyze, look at a million what-if scenarios, and think there’s always one true solution or answer.
5) It is not the obstacles and challenges in life that define you, but rather how you respond to them. Always look for the positive in every situation.
People don’t remember you for the events that happened in your life, they remember you for how you handled them. We ran in to this a few days ago when our septic system decided to fail on us. After we just had an inspection 3 weeks ago that came back good. Which we, in turn, went ahead and booked an international trip. So now we will be out thousands of dollars, that was not budgeted mind you. The positive? We will have a brand new system that we will likely never have to worry about in our lifetime. And after all is said and done, we get to go to Ireland for a week. It was hard to find those positives in the cloudiness.
6) No matter how hard it gets, it will always be okay in the end.
Let’s take this in the literal sense just to go from the extreme. As long as you lived a life for God, you get to go to Heaven. How can it be more okay than that? In the normal day to day extremes every bad situation is only temporary, as long as you make the decision to let it be.
7) You are not living your life for others. Your accomplishments and achievements are noticed by those who matter, your failures are noticed by those who don’t.
This is another struggle for me personally. I have this instinct to constantly prove myself to others. To “be better”. I’ve seen a lot of “failure” around me in my life and never wanted to be a part of that group. But I’m living my life, #1 for God, #2 for my family, and #3 for myself. Beyond that, it doesn’t matter. I’ve had times in my life where people are always finding my faults, and never recognizing my successes. And I let it get to me constantly. But I ultimately decided that their opinion doesn’t matter.
8) Do not judge others for living a life that is different than your own.
Oh .. man. This caused me to have my big breakthrough last year (see here). I was THAT PERSON I was just talking about above. Putting others down. Judging them on their “failures”, making them feel worthless. But just because they are on a different path than me doesn’t mean they are on the wrong path. God has a path for all of us, and NONE of them look the same. Period. That’s why we were given free will.
9) Be kind to everyone. Those who it is most difficult to be kind to need it the most.
Bottom line, if someone is making your life difficult, don’t return the favor. They may be going through things in life that you couldn’t begin to imagine. And maybe that act of generosity and kindness is all it takes for them to turn their negativeness around.
10) Forgive and clear your heart at the end of every day. Do not let the burdens of today carry over to tomorrow, which is never promised.
Even after my breakthrough I still struggle with this at times. It’s getting better now that I am letting go and trusting more in God and his plan for me. At the end of the day you have to ask, if I were not to wake up tomorrow, did I live a full life with a clear heart and conscious?
11) Slow down and pay attention to the little details. In the end, they make up the big picture.
My kids, especially my youngest, will sometimes ask me the same thing over and over again. Or to do silly little tasks. And I let these things annoy me because I forget these are all the moments in life that matter. They will all be adults someday, and no longer in the house. I will probably go days, hopefully not weeks, without hearing from them. They won’t need my assistance at a certain point. These moments matter.
My anxieties and stress had been getting the better of me. I finally decided to let it all go and hand my life back over to God. I had strayed, but He was there every step of the way to make sure I didn’t go too far.
I’ve been listening to contemporary Christian music lately because it has been speaking to me in such a profound way. Some songs just speak to me when I need it most.
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could have walked through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!
I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Make no mistake, He knows my name
I’m not living for applause
I’m already so adored
It’s all His stage, He knows my name
I hear things during the homily, then I hear things from those around me, and I hear the words from these songs. It’s all bits and pieces that just come together and speak to me.
I’m living a life for God. I listen to contemporary Christian music without fear of judgement. I share the songs with friends and family. I carry my bible with me to work every day. I speak openly and unashamedly about my beliefs. And I am proud of it.
And I am proud that my family is wanting to do this with me. Not without some hesitation from a few, but everyone’s relationship with God is different and it is between them to find it in their own time. My family and I have signed up to become members of our church. We will be attending classes starting in September and the 4 of them (as I have already done it) will be baptized next Easter. And I can not wait to share it with all those I love.
This has been my guide to living a less stressful life. And it is helping me tremendously. I hope it will find a way to speak to others as well.