You are behind a driver who doesn’t immediately move when traffic clears, so what do you do? Wait for the car to move? Tap your horn immediately? Or just ignore the driver while your blood pressure climbs 10 points?
Rushing, pushing, and pressure to get moving becomes an addiction that only you can break. When marriage and family therapist Erik Johnson began expressing his pent-up frustrations in his driving, his wife complained. Others saw his anger, but not him. “Managing my emotions would be easy,” he said, “if others would stop pushing my buttons!”
He then started thinking about his life, understanding that the pent-up feelings didn’t begin when he turned the key to start the car. He brought them with him—emotional baggage—and the traffic simply intensified them. You know, he’s not alone, either.
You either control your emotions, or they control you. So how do you break the addiction to busyness? If you are a type A, highly motivated person, breaking the addiction doesn’t come easy.
Try these ideas. First ask whether your expectations are realistic. What do you expect of yourself, of your family, and of others? What you can do, others may not be able to accomplish, and to be angry with them or berate them only creates a tension that can escalate out of control.
Can we excuse our escalating stress which causes relationship problems by saying, “These are hard times. Everybody is under pressure, and I just can’t do anything about it. I can’t help what I do.”
Who would deny the fact that life is often hard. But each of us can choose whether or not we will see beyond the immediate storm and thunder-clouds to what lies beyond. Preserving relationships involving your wife or husband, your children, your friends and associates is far more important than allowing your stress to wound them.
When your expectations have become unrealistic, it’s time to take the next step—something that only you can do: Unload the excess weight in your life. You can’t do it all, remember? OK, decide what you realistically can handle, and draw a line and say, “No more!” Of necessity you have to program some “down time” to enjoy, to sit and relax, and reflect on God’s blessings in your life.
On his 75th birthday, Billy Graham was asked how he wanted to be remembered, and thinking for a moment he said, “I’d like to be remembered as someone who was fun to be around.” Surprised? I was. To be very honest with you I started thinking of my life and how my grandchildren would remember me, and I decided that remembering me as a loving person, someone they enjoyed being with, was more important than writing one more book, or doing one more conference. Taking this step means going through another door: Prioritize your expectations. Make three categories: a “must do,” a “should do” and an “I’ll do it when I can” list.
Question: Is it possible that we have taken on far more than God ever intended us to deal with? We have become slaves to the phone, to technology, to the unrealistic expectations of bosses and employers who have already sacrificed their families on the altar of the expedient and expect you to do the same thing.
When your “must do” is too long, you know you are facing a potential problem. Stop pushing. Then those around you will be more relaxed and joyful, too. Try it. It is not too late to change, but you will never start sooner than today.
Resource Reading: Mark 10:13-16
Text: Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – July 7, 2017