I was at a brilliant training event this last weekend where a clinical neurologist taught us more about the brain. I was astounded again to hear and understand the impact of stress and anxiety on our body, how bad it is for our bodies. Stress and anxiety is the precursor for many of our modern illnesses. I think it is worthwhile to tackle this issue and ensure we address the driving forces behind what is making us so fearful in life. The world we live in is full of storms of different kinds – political, social, family, work, financially, etc. But it is not all bad news. Your brain was created perfectly by God to be able to overcome many of these. You can do a lot of things to help yourself survive and thrive in this world. Added religion and faith into this mix and you have a springboard towards tranquility and excellence.
It is both good that a man should both hope and quietly work for the salvation of the LORD
God gave us a brain, He designed it, we must use it, we must use it WHILE we hope on Him, trust in Him, rely on Him.
Last week I tried to make a case for the possibility to have silence in the midst of a storm, to have peace of mind in a world of tranquil. If you want to read that first prior to reading this post, here is the link:
Today I am looking at the reality we are facing day to day. The more we stare the truth and reality of our current circumstances in the face, the easier it becomes to face it and eliminate where we can.
Where does your storm come from?
What is causing many of the storms we are facing today? Each of us might have a different storm that we are facing on a daily basis. (read more here: http://www.wilmiendavisconsulting.co.za/biblical-insights/135-parable-of-the-sower-2). Some storms are triggered by things from our past that is not resolved, sometimes it is unforgiveness. It might be wrong influences in your life, a medical challenge, fear, or it can be a drive to excellence (financially, position, best wife/mother, best housekeeper, best friend). If we are honest with ourselves, we need to pinpoint our driving force, what is driving me into this storm. I had to face a few medical storms in my life and the biggest one was: will I ever be able to see again? I had to face many fears, some real and others not so real. But then there are other storms (and I had all of them once in my life) : for a long time it was to be professional, to be intelligent, to be respected by others, to have enough finances, will I ever be able to see again? Intrinsically, there is nothing wrong with being professional, doing your best, improving yourself. The problem comes when these things becomes obsessions, when they take your focus away from the bigger picture and when your life is not in balance anymore.
The neurlogist said more than once: everything influences everything and he had science to back it up. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed, stressed out and become sick due to these storms.
Let me expand a bit: One reality is:
You have to earn a living
We are not in this world to do nothing. We are here to survive, to make a living, to do the best we can.
2 Thess 3:11-13 (Amp)
Indeed, we hear that some of you are leading and undisciplined and inappropriate life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies [meddling in other people’s business]. Now such people we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work quietly and earn their own food and other necessities [supporting themselves instead of depending on the hospitality of others]. And as for [the rest of] you, believers, do not grow tired or lose heart in doing good [but continue doing what is right without weakening].
But it is in the way we approach our work, that becomes important.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters
We can fall into the trap of envy. We are allowed to have ambition in life. Ambition in itself is not wrong.
1 Thess 4:11 (Amp)
…. make it your ambition to live quietly and peacefully, and to mind your own affairs and work with your hands, just as we directed you.
It is how we channel the ambition that becomes an obstacle.
Envy against others can become an obsession, especially if you are comparing your situation to other’s situation in life. I remember the engineers I worked with, always complained about their salaries, becasue they compared it to their friends who were CA’s. I compared mine to the cleaner in the office or the cashier at the shops and thought myself to be blessed. Comparison leads to envy or pride – neither will bring you peace.
And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of the other. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
1 Cor 3:14
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Again I would like to add that ambition in itself is not wrong. It is how your ambition manifests that you need to guard against. Is it ambition to be excellent in all you do, is it ambition to work on your character? Or ambition to become so successful that you kick dust in the eyes of those that you have outsmarted?
Jam 3:14 (Amp)
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be arrogant, and [as a result] be in defiance of the truth.
Another driver could be financial gain. Money is like food – we have to eat to survive. We need money to survive. But too much of a good thing is not good anymore. Too much food can either be wasted (if not consumed) or it can lead to death (if it is consumed in excess quantities). In the same way too much money can be detrimental – it just depends on how you consume it, how you use it, how you cling to it.
Mat 6:33 (Amp)
But first and most importantly seek His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you also.
What is your reality? What is causing the storm in your life? Be honest towards yourself. Do some introspection. Mindfulness. Pray about it if you cannot find your real motivations. Identify the storm, so that we can work on ways to overcome it and to live a life of peace and tranquility and purpose, a life that is not only surviving, but thriving.