Patricia Sprinkle, author of Women Who Do Too Much, writes “Stress does not come from being busy. Stress comes from being busy about things we don’t want to do, or from not being busy about things we do want to do.”[i]
I think she’s right. So long as I’m doing something I really want to do, I’m as happy—perfectly content to work hard, not resenting in the least the necessary effort. But tell me I have to do something I hate doing, and I immediately feel stress.
Or, what about those times you want to get at a task but circumstances stand in your way like a block wall. No matter how you try to find time for what you want to do, you can’t.
I believe these stressful feelings come to us for one of two reasons. The first cause may be that what we want to do may not be God’s plan for us today. So, God is putting up a roadblock so that we’ll realize He wants us to do something entirely different.
But probably the most common cause of stress is that we don’t recognize God’s purpose in the mundane, common, ordinary tasks. So we don’t value them. There are times in your life when washing a pile of dirty laundry is the most important thing to be done. Sometimes making a phone call to settle a problem you had yesterday with a co-worker may be the most essential thing you have to do. The secret to de-stressing these dreaded or boring tasks is to accept that they are God’s will for you at the present moment.
Paul wrote, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Eating and drinking are pretty ordinary activities, wouldn’t you say? Today try doing that smallest or most difficult task for God’s glory and see if your stress level doesn’t go down.
[i] As quoted in Mary M. Byers, How to Say No and Live to Tell About It (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2006), 105.