Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Okay- I admit it. My cats are driving me NUTS! But God taught me a vital lesson through them.

12359888_1173304076020731_5338883072486770344_nOne is a gorger. He starved as a stray and the Vet thinks his “no longer hungry” switch permanently turned off.  He will eat and eat until he pops…or hack it up.

The other is a grazer. The runt, he always has been passive and easily bullied out of his portion.  He would prefer I guard his bowl for two hours each meal so he can slurp two or three bites, walk away and return later. In the meantime, gorger hovers close by, licking his chops. If I turn my head, he starts to chomp the grazer’s portion down.

The Vet says to pick up the grazer’s bowl after twenty minutes. The cat is just not getting the message, so he meows and meows for me to give him back his food. It breaks my heart.  The gorger cowers when I raise my voice and tell him no, but is not deterred. We are talking about cats after all… Tough love is,well, tough.

I have prayed for over a year for God to change them. I’d love to put food down and they eat when it is presented so we can all go about our day. I would love to be able to go out of town without burdening a close friend or relative with this cat bowl guard duty. Today, God interrupted my prayer. He told me, “Pray for your attitude to change, and leave the rest to me.”

How often do our prayers concentrate on changing someone else?

Perhaps a spouse who seems distant or a child who is headed down the wrong path. A coworker that grates on our nerves or a friend who has wounded us with their selfishness.  We tearfully wear out our knees in pleas. Our tummies knot. We pray again, and again. It is always on the forefront of our minds and we mull over it like a cow chewing on cud. It is the last thought that whirls in our brains before we sleep. God, aren’t you listening? Do something. The anxiousness builds.

Here is truth: It is our attitude we are in charge of changing, not anyone else’s. Be not anxious about your life…Matthew 6:25.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

We cannot will anyone to change. Yes, we can pray for them and leave our concerns at the foot of the cross, and we should.  But perhaps our Lord is calling us to change our attitude about the situation and to give it to Him in exchange for His peace. I read that stress is not trusting God to be in control. I have been stressing over my furry beasts and I am sure they are picking up on my angst.  My kitties are my joy- when did I forget that? When did they become my pain instead? When was the last time I thanked God for them?

Tonight, I will change my prayer.  Is there one you should change as well?


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MP900444553[1]I felt it coming on. I tried to ignore it, but it kept building. Small things, like my purse dumping all over the floorboard when I turned the corner. Dropping  a sack of groceries–not the ones with the eggs, thank the Lord. Catching the pocket of my skirt on the doorknob when my arms were full. . The shower curtain collapsing in the middle of my shower. Stubbing my toe as my sandal slipped.

Each time my blood pressure inched up another point or so. Every incident piled onto the other like a tower of cards wobbling in the blast of an oscillating fan.


Perhaps it is because I have been instrumental in planning three large events and five talks coming up in the eleven weeks after coming off the roller coaster of launching a novel and jumping from book signing to book signing.  Then it is Toastmasters contest season and I am chief judging five of them. Plus, I am helping two people edit their books and reviewing three more. When I told a writer friend of all I had planned  over the next two months she wrote back that she became tired just reading about it.

Then,,,My computer erased my work in a brown out and the auto back up (scheduled for every 5 minutes) decided not to kick in as it should. ARGHHH!!!!

I finally sat with my head on my desk, tears swimming, and prayed. I prayed for Satan to quit messing with me. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to bolster me and and calm me. I prayed to the Lord to bring me His peace. I prayed for all these end-of-rope frustrations to stop. “What are you trying to tell me, Lord?”

Then, like a whisper in the ear, but from the inside out, came a voice. “I will see you through it and protect you from attacks, my child. But next time, pray to me before you take all this on.”

OH! Okay. Sure. My cheeks warmed and my heart sunk.

How often do we overload ourselves, and then ask for strength to endure it? How many times do we rush ahead and then reach back for Jesus’ hand and try to pull Him along with us? What makes us think we can keep running on empty and not refill through quiet God-time?

When frustrations build, stop, breathe and pray. Above all else, pray. Abba Father may be allowing these things because He is trying to call you to His side so you’ll give Him your undivided attention.

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.Mark 4:39

If He can calm a storm over a lake, will He not find a way to calm us? Lord, may I be as obedient as the waves in the Gospels.


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My friend wrung the Kleenex between her fingers. “I know God is going bestow His blessings on this situation.” She heaved her shoulders and dabbed her eyes. “But it’s the waiting that’s so hard.”

courtesy duanealley.com Royalty- Free Image by Corbis

courtesy duanealley.com
Royalty- Free Image by Corbis

Oh, how true. Studies show people get antsy after 30 seconds of waiting for the light to change to green, for the microwave to ding, for someone’s voice mail to kick in after four rings. We tap our fingers and roll our eyes if the Search Engine doesn’t pop up the  info in a finger snap. And if there is a line at the check-out, the bank, or anywhere else, we clench our teeth, tap our shoes, or glance at the second hand on our watch every few seconds and sigh, right?

Kids right out of college want the CEO office with the view and the pay check. People want their first home to be their dream home, instead of slowly making it into one filled with memories. We are a drive-thru, get-it-in-an-instant-and-just-add-water society. Chaucer in the 1300’s  said patience was a virtue  and grandmothers have been quoting it ever since. But, he could never understand the fast pace of our world today.

Guess where else we can find great messages about patience?  Yep, the Bible.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge ;and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, patience and to patience, godliness;  2 Peter 1:5

Obtaining a lifestyle of patience surely has its health benefits: lower blood pressure, less depression and anxiety, fewer tension headaches and stomach pains, etc.  But it has spiritual benefits as well, doesn’t it?  It does for me. When I am in the “waiting on the Lord” mode, I am calmer, more attentive to hearing His footsteps  stroll through my day, and more tuned into His whispers into my soul. The silence  when I don’t hear Him doesn’t make me antsy when my faith volume is on high. A peace envelops me. I can also think clearer and react more slowly, which trust me, is a good thing. When I acknowledge the Perfect One, who knows all and is all, is behind the wheel instead of me with my limited vision and easily distracted mind, the stress  level plummets.

There is a reason He often has us in a holding pattern. In time, that reason will be revealed in the way we can best absorb it- by hindsight. Until then,  we need to wrap ourselves in the patience robe, pull the sash tight around us and snuggle in.

Patience is a virtue, yes. It is also a holy directive. One I need to practice daily. How about you?

for more about God’s reason why you may be in the waiting room, otherwise known as the in-between times, consider Between the Window and the Door – a Bible & Life Experience  study

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