I had a little argument yesterday over whether my stressed-out state was a direct result of my circumstances or rather a reflection of how I was approaching life. I was, of course, arguing that this is my circumstances!! I’m stressed because my life is stressful!! And since I like to win any kind of argument, I took a long dramatic stance that said, Yes, Esther is right.
Of course, a little while later, after I had calmed down I thought about it. And quickly concluded that, No, I think the other person was right. My stressed-out state has a lot to do with my attitude and how I’m approaching life, rather than my circumstances.
The first time I ever did therapy for anxiety, I told the therapist that I felt like I was standing right on the edge of a cliff, about to fall off. He suggested that I change the picture in my mind and view myself at a far distance from the cliff. No imminent danger. No falling. And while I have always remembered him saying that, I don’t know if I’ve focused a lot of thought on it. But, I think these past few weeks, in my mind, I have been right back on the edge of that cliff.
Every day I have woken up with this question of, Can I survive today? And I’m not super confident in the answer. I’m not sure. I’ll at least try really hard to make it. Maybe that will be enough. Maybe. In my defense, the last couple weeks have been hard circumstantially. Lots of new things (new things stress me out), having to talk to lots of strangers (talking to strangers stresses me out), worrying about my sick parents, having to be in and out of the house all day (constantly leaving the house stresses me out).
I took a long walk yesterday and I thought about my attitude. What if I woke up every day with a sense of adventure? I wonder what amazing, exciting things will happen today? Hmm. Maybe. But, I don’t think that train of thought is going to help me out in the long run. There is not much excitement about folding laundry and washing dishes. But this morning I remembered what I had written about last week, about the purpose of man being to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Now that is something that would be worth waking up for every day. What if my first thought every morning was, How can I glorify God today and how can I enjoy Him today? I think that would be a game changer.
How can I glorify God today? I can treat the people around me with love and compassion. I can take care of this planet that he has given me. I can obey his words. How can I enjoy him forever? I can look for him in all the small moments of my day. I can be aware of his presence. I can be thankful. I can be observant of all that he has created and take pleasure in it. I can read his Word and wonder at his wisdom. I can think on all that he has done for me and wonder at his love.
Back to that mental image of me on the edge of the cliff. The real image I need to keep in my mind is me held safe in the hands of God. No cliffs.
So. This is my goal this week. To work on my attitude. To keep my main purpose in mind every morning as I start my day. And to hopefully stop being a stressed-out wreck.