So continuing on with the “lack of time” theme, I’ve been pondering thoughts from the book we are studying with our small group, “Love Focused” and another book I’m reading, “One Thousand Gifts.” Stress often shows itself in our everyday lives through lack of patience, indigestion, short sometimes hurtful words or even the simple comments like “I don’t have time to….” Ann Voskamp, author of “One Thousand Gifts” says this, “Stress isn’t only a joy stealer. The way we respond to it can be a sin….Stress stands in direct opposition to what He directly, tenderly commands: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1″ She also comments, “And stressed, this pitched word that punctuates every conversation, is it really my attempt to prove how indispensable I am? Or is it more? Maybe disguising my deep fears as stress seems braver somehow.”
This challenges me. Do I allow myself to live worrying and “stressed out” in an attempt to control my life? I love Ann’s definition of control – “pseudopower from the pit”. Fake power. We attempt to control our circumstances and the people around us. Why? That’s where the “Love Focused” book comes in. Authors Bob and Judy Hughes remind us that we all have “personal agendas”. “Our personal agenda is the plan we develop apart from God to get the world to solve the problem of our neediness.” “We think we can manage all the people in our lives to get them to love us and never hurt us. It is important to understand that there is nothing wrong with desiring others to love and accept us and to experience a minimum amount of hurt in life. It is normal and healthy to want to be loved and to be emotionally happy. The problem occurs when our agenda puts the focus on the world rather than God to solve our neediness.” (emphasis mine) Maybe I want to feel needed, wanted or even indispensable.
We literally wear ourselves out daily trying to control the people and circumstances in our life. Why? I believe it is because we are afraid, afraid of being hurt or alone/abandoned. Ann Voskamp says, “Fear keeps life small.” I agree. Why? Because when I am afraid, life is all about me. My vision is very limited. Everything is viewed with the perspective of me. How will this effect me? Will I like it? Will I be hurt? Will this help me? Again, stress is directly opposite of what Jesus softly commands, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1 “Jesus replied, This is the work that God asks of you that you believe in the One whom He has sent.” John 6:29 We trust God for our salvation from hell when we die. Do we trust Him with our daily life? Can I trust Him to love me and walk me through whatever this day holds so that I don’t have to control each moment in it?
What do you think? Am I striking a nerve in your life? Do you understand what these authors are trying to say or do you think they are missing it? If you want to read more about living a love focused life you can find more information and/or the book here: