I Remember It As If It Were YesterdayBy: Tracie Miles
I dragged myself out of bed every morning with knots in my stomach, dreading facing yet another stressful and emotional day at my job. A job which I had grown to despise, working for a supervisor whom I had grown to fear because of his demeaning tactics and less-than-stellar work ethics.
Sometimes I felt stuck in a life I didn’t want, trapped in a corporate windfall of long hours, deadlines, office politics, extensive travel and chaos of which I could see no way out. My husband and I had three little mouths to feed and lots of bills to pay, so quitting seemed nothing more than a fantasy. A fantasy I could hardly even dream about since my overwhelming stress made even taking a good, deep breath impossible.
I tried to relieve my stress through worldly measures – like massages, pedicures, reading a book or sitting in a hot tub. Although those things brought temporary relief and relaxation, my stress and anxiety would always bubble up again within moments of returning to reality.
For years I focused on climbing the corporate ladder and raising my family, all the while assuming that one day I would discover the perfect balance. Since everyone else seemed to be running on the same over-busy treadmill, I thought that a life drowning in stress was “normal.”
Upon surrendering to this new normal,
I gradually and unknowingly allowed myself to become the poster child for “The Most Stressed Out-Frazzled-Frustrated-Fatigued-Overworked-Overcommitted-Overwhelmed Woman of the Year.” And trust me, it wasn’t a pretty picture.
I had become a woman I did not want to be.
• A woman who could hardly focus on her family’s needs as she felt constantly pulled toward issues at the office.
• A woman who had become short-tempered and anxious all the time because she had forgotten how to be still before God.
• A woman who had ignored God’s promptings to make a change, because they interfered with her career plans.
• A woman who had put her faith on the back burner because she didn’t have time to focus on God.
• A woman who was afraid to take a leap of faith due to doubting whether or not God could really provide for her financial needs.
• A woman who had become so sick with the disease of stress, that it was destroying her from the inside out.
The stress of juggling the pressures of work, family, marriage and life in general had begun to take its toll on my emotional, spiritual and physical health. As a result, after trying everything I knew to try, I became so desperate for a solution that I turned to God. I felt guilty for viewing God as a last resort, but I quickly discovered that despite my lack of faith, He was waiting with open arms.
One day as I poured out another desperate prayer for relief, I had a revelation. I stopped asking God to fix all of my problems and asked Him to fix me. God immediately impressed upon my spirit that nothing in my life was going to change until I changed my heart. I became acutely aware that peace was never going to be mine until I realized that an intimate relationship with Christ was the only real solution to stress.
On faith alone, I eventually resigned from that stressful job, and although things were better, my life was far from stress-free. There were always other stressful situations looming on the horizon threatening
to steal my peace.
However, despite how many stressful circumstances popped up, something was different. And that something was my love for Jesus.
You see, I had come to fully understand the meaning of John 16:33 when Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Problems and stress are a fact of life, but God’s peace is permanent. Only when I learned to rely on Him for peace instead of temporary attempts at stress relief was I able to feel peace in the midst of less-than-peaceful situations.
As my faith grew, God helped me embrace His solution for finding calm in the chaos of my life. A calm named Jesus. I began to realize that the stress relief and peace I felt had not happened because I left a stressful job or because I had no problems – but because I had finally discovered and embraced my unstressed God.
Peace does not come due to an absence of problems but because of the presence of a peaceful God in our heart. If you have been looking for stress relief in all the wrong places, maybe you should give God a try. You have nothing to lose and life to gain.
About the Author
Tracie Miles lives with her husband Michael and their three children, Morgan, Kaitlyn and Michael Jr., in the suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina. When she isn’t relaxing at the beach with her family, she enjoys speaking at women’s events across the country as a member of the Proverbs 31 speaker team. She is passionate about leading women into a place of true freedom in Christ. Her new book “Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace In Your Chaotic World” was just released in October. Find out more about Tracie and her free 10-Day Stress Detox challenge at her blog at www.traciewmiles.com.