Stress: good or bad

Are unreasonable standards robbing you of joy? Are you creating stress all by yourself?

Many things can cause stress in our lives. Some of them can even be good things. Getting married, having a baby, starting a new job, buying a house are (generally) all good things, but they are definitely stressful. Other things can be not so good: losing a job, getting a divorce, the death of a loved one, a rebellious child, financial or physical struggles.

Very often things that cause stress are out of our control. Sometimes, however, they are not only within our control, but they are of our own making.

“Who wants to make themselves stressed?” you ask.

Well, perhaps no one on purpose, but sometimes we set ridiculously high standards for a task or project that just sets us up for failure and stress.

I wish I could write and say, “NOT ME, though!”

I’ve been known to have the family waiting in the van to leave for a vacation while I’m in the house scrubbing the kitchen floor! WHY??? I have NO idea! Sure it’s nice to come home to a sparkling clean kitchen but is it worth it to have a cranky mom? Well, since being cranky with my family is sin on my part, I’ll have to say No for that one!

I’ve set goals, standards, and even convinced myself that these things HAD to get done. I’d push and push and get crankier and crankier the closer I got to realizing it was NOT going to be fulfilled. OR I’d stay up all night to MAKE it happen. And you know the old saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” — well I’ve fulfilled THAT one more times than I care to count.

Now that I’m 58 older, I look at my life and I think WHO CARES???

  • Will my children serve the Lord less faithfully if the kitchen floor isn’t scrubbed before a vacation or the dishes are undone?
  • Will my testimony of love for Jesus be any less real if my son goes to church with one slipper and one cowboy boot?
  • Will my company enjoy our visit any less if I haven’t cleaned behind the couches in 5 months and I serve them hot dogs and beans?
  • Will my children be any less capable in college if I take a week off of homeschooling because I have to deep clean the house before the holidays?

These are the kinds of things I’ve stressed myself about for years.


Of course, if you read my previous posts, we DO actually deep clean our house (and clean under/behind couches) and I DO actually plan meals and DO actually do laundry. But I no longer push for the unrealistic standards that require me to become a Sergent Major with my family. And I DO teach my children how to work at home and to faithfully do chores. BUT sometimes we’ll drop it all and hop in the van, drive out to a secluded area and watch for meteorites or spend the evening reading or playing The Stock Market Game (which, incidentally, takes all night long!)

As in all things, there is balance.

When I was younger, for whatever guilt and unattainable standards filled my mind,  I didn’t keep the balance and I wasn’t all that fun to be around. Now, as my children are going off into the adult word, I’m realizing some things just don’t matter in the grand scheme of eternity.

An immaculate home will not last into eternity but the hours I spent talking with my girls or reading to my boys or laughing (or crying) with friends or helping someone understand & experience freedom from addictions — these WILL last for eternity. In fact they will result in eternal rewards at the hand of our Lord!

I’m not expecting Better Homes & Gardens to show up anytime in MY life with an award for housekeeping – but I AM hoping that my Lord will stand at the Bema seat and say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Now THAT is something worth hearing! I get chills just thinking about it!!

What areas of stress does God want YOU to let go of?

All Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB.
Unless otherwise indicated, photos from pixaby.comphoto credit: BrittneyBush/flickr creative commons


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