Stress? What Stress?
I used to go to my chiropractor “all crinkled up.” (He called it subluxated. Whatever.) He would ask me if my stress level was high. If I said, “Yes,” he would then ask, “Is it going to get better?”
Great question. Sometimes we are in a specific situation that is short term and will resolve itself, such as the pressure of taking a test or a job interview. But sometimes we are in a situation that is more long term, such as when the stress is coming from dealing with a chronic illness or a strained relationship. It’s especially difficult if the situation is out of your control and you are powerless to change it.
The Long Term Situation
As many of you know, my awesome husband works in North Dakota. (We do not live in North Dakota!) And we are blessed. His schedule is two weeks on and one week off. So he is home for five days every two weeks. That’s a good rotation for someone who works in the oil field.
He’s been going over there to work for two years already. The Lord’s grace for me in this situation has been amazing. It’s hard to have him gone. It’s hard for him to go. We really like each other! 😉 That’s why we got married. We aren’t one of those couples who needs space and time away from each other. We really like being together all the time. Even though it’s not easy, I’ve been mostly ok with it. Until last Fall…
Wait! I’m All Done …
All of a sudden, I wasn’t ok with it anymore. I had this terrible feeling like, “Oh no! What if I can’t handle this anymore? What then?” I cried more. I was more lonely. I was anxious and more panicky. I had to be ok with this. I couldn’t change it.
Then, I remembered. … His grace. His grace is enough. Oh, that’s right. Breathe. (In and out!) The Lord brought to my mind a two-step process for difficult, long-term situations.
The Two-Step Reset
First of all, count our blessings. There are so many things to be thankful for regarding Scott’s job. As I mentioned, his rotation is one of the best. His company flies him back and forth so he doesn’t even have to make the ten-hour drive every two weeks. Great benefits, fulfilling work, a good crew, opportunity for advancement, God’s favor. Plus, he gets vacation time and it’s like a five-day weekend every time he comes home. And he is always home over a weekend so he gets to go to church. Many things!
I needed to focus on the positive. Look at all the good things about this. And give thanks for them. Count those blessings!
Second step is to remember that His grace is enough. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you’,” (II Cor. 12:9.) This is the Lord saying, “You’re ok. I’ve got this. And I’m in you, so you’ve got this.” I was able to tell myself, “His grace is enough. I have all the strength I need to deal with this. I am ok.” And you know what? My feelings came back in line and I felt much better. I didn’t need to worry that I couldn’t do this long-term. I can do this for however long God has ordained this situation and season to be because He gives me the strength.
Hope & Strength
It’s still hard. It was an adjustment again after Christmas when my son went back to college and Scott went back to work after some vacation time. I was by myself again, which is still so weird. There may have been some tears when I took him to the airport. But I know what to do now. Count blessings. Rely on God’s grace.
And so can you. If you’re facing a long-term situation that you wish you could change, but you can’t, follow these two steps to peace and joy. Count your blessings. Walk in His grace. Amen!
Is there a difficult long-term situation you are facing today?