Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Finding Serenity

Some people seem to thrive on stress. I have no advice for these people, because I am not, never have been, nor will ever be such a person! Stress frazzles me. Prolonged stress--as in living a stressful lifestyle for more than a couple days--eventually shuts me down altogether. I have to stop thinking and feeling and just go through my days like a robot to get anything accomplished. Not a fulfilling way to live!

I believe that with a lot of prayer and the inner fortitude that comes only from God's strength, I will be able to walk with Him (or perhaps be carried by Him!) through times of meaningful stress: the deep, bitter pain caused by those things that will come to mar and fray my "perfect" life tapestry--deaths and acute losses. The tastes of meaningful stress I've had so far have not been easy to endure, but looking back, I see the sweet fruits that have sprouted from the ruins. These are the stresses that God allows to chasten and strengthen us. It has been said that character is always forged in adversity. And the One who died to gather us to Himself said "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."

But what about worthless stress? The stresses we choose for ourselves that God hasn't asked us to shoulder? As a perfectionist, I am especially susceptible to over-burdening myself with stupid worries and petty tasks. A constant battle rages between my mind, crying "try harder, try harder!" and my heart, pleading: "Let it go, and pursue serenity."

How can I achieve the serenity I so crave? How can I live my life so that I have time to appreciate the meaning of my valleys, and to enjoy the peace and pure joy found on my mountaintops? I don't believe God meant my life to be a hurtling roller coaster ride, but a thoughtful hike. I believe he means for me to really engage my life; to feel it. He has given me a brain and His spirit to help me distinguish between the gold and the chaff. I don't want to come to my last day and discover that I've wasted an entire lifetime frantically trying to weave straw into gold.


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