What a week it’s been around here! I’ll bet you know what I mean. Between the latest winter viruses making their rounds ’round here (a couple of the kids even had it twice) and waiting on finalization for some majorly exciting changes coming up for our family, it has been exciting!
Have you ever had a week like that? Where from the moment you hit the ground running on Monday, all of your plans went out the window, and even plan B is in your rear view mirror by the middle of the day?
It’s been a great chance to practice my 2012 resolution that it’s all about me! That the choice of how to react when life gets crazy, is up to me.
I’ve been listening to QBQ: The Question Behind the Question, this week, and it was perfect timing! The author makes an amazing claim that stress is a choice.
Stress is a choice?
Seriously? In spite of this week, or maybe because of it, I have to admit – I agree. And it’s freeing!
According to QBQ’s author, stress doesn’t actually come from people or events around us – it comes from our reaction to those events. Learn to be in control of this reaction, and you can control your stress.
You don’t have to be a victim of stress!
For the details on how to control the reaction, pick up a copy. It’s deceptively simple, really. It has to do with changing the internal dialogue and questions you have regarding what’s going on., which is easier said than done. It’s radically different than the way that most people live, and training yourself to think and react differently is the hardest kind of habit to break.
Looking at my week as an example, one of the things that could have stressed me out included a sick baby who didn’t want to sleep much. Translation: I spent a lot of time walking and rocking her, time that in my humanness, I’d rather have spent other ways (during the night I’d rather be sleeping of all things; during the day, I thought I’d have some time to work through new material from my business coach).
With the lesson of personal accountability in mind, I made it my mission to see if there might be a way to redeem this time and see it from another perspective than escalating stress or a pity party. A way to be present to my sweet daughter, but to learn what God might have in mind for me to learn right in the very stuff of life. Three basic tools began to emerge, and I offer them to you in hopes they might be useful.
Instead of stressing when life throws you a curve ball, consider that perhaps you’re being called to be present to someone you might otherwise have missed if your "grand plans" had remained intact. Sometimes God is calling you to be fully present, right where you are, and has bigger plans to use you in ways you couldn’t have imagined. It’s easier to see, though, when you aren’t so caught up in your own stress about how things aren’t happening the way you thought you would.
A couple of days ago when my husband and I had taken turns being up all night with the baby, she had finally settled down into a restless sleep just in time for the alarm to go off and Carl to need to have to get ready for his work day. Right about that time, I started chilling and having signs of beginning with a fever myself, and we both slowly realized that I wouldn’t be able to take care of the kids myself that day. He called his boss and made the necessary arrangements to stay home, and in the midst of my feverish haze I was so grateful for his sick time!
Later during the morning, the phone rang, and it was a friend in crisis calling for my husband’s counsel. Of all of the days, of all of the times, it had happened this day, a day my husband was at home, available, not at work in an environment he can’t carry a cell phone. When his friend called, he was 100% able to be present to his needs in that moment; a tiny but welcome miracle for sure.
Have you ever been warned not to pray for patience just in case God decides to give you the opportunity to develop it? It’s true – virtues such as patience aren’t magically granted. They’re earned moment by moment, perfected and refined right in the midst of life’s trying circumstances.
But take the time to read stories of successful entrepreneurs, heroic missionaries, or other people who have lived a rich life, and a common theme emerges about how grateful they were for opportunities for patience to have been formed in them.
There isn’t a different kind of patience exercised in business than at home. Patience is patience, and the same patience that is developed through loving service to our family members serves us well as we plant seeds for success and work toward growth in our business endeavors.
Related to patience, persistence is sticking with something knowing that sustained effort will bear fruit – but not instantly.
It’s so easy to read stories of successful businesspeople online and see only that flashpoint of success, not the year or two that came before. 48 hours later, looking at your own business, you’re wondering if you should just give up since compared to ________, you just don’t have what it takes.
Persistence doesn’t come naturally to any of us, especially in our culture so obsessed with instant results (Ever seen headlines like Make more money instantly! Lose 20 pounds in a week!) But ask anyone who has had sustained success, and you’ll hear a very different story.
Just like patience, the persistence gained at home is perfectly useful in any environment, home or business. Rocking my sweet but irritable and sniffly baby girl to sleep this week was well suited to stretching my "persistence muscle!" She’d begin to settle down and lightly snore, and I’d think, "Ah-ha! She’s asleep!" only to think about putting her down and have her stir and wake up fussy. So we’d start again. And repeat. And I began to realize that I needed to persist in helping her settle down, past the point when I thought I should be getting results, to the point I was actually experiencing success. And let me tell you that the sweet feel of her finally relaxed body against mine while we rocked was well worth the time and a bonus to the lessons learned.
Did life throw you a curve this week?
How can you find seeds for success in it?
Here’s to supporting your greatness!