Our little worlds get amazingly busy at times. We finish one task to find another is overdue. The calendar is filled but our energy is drained. You want the world to stop but it speeds up. You can’t give up but you can’t keep up. What to do?
When our kids were in school, fall was a busy time for my family, particularly October. We were proud of our children in marching band but supporting them included bus chaperone duties, fund raisers, band competitions, and Friday night shows. Family birthdays and my wedding anniversary squeeze into the schedule. Add normal work hours, work with the church, family time, and a little time for personal growth and one starts considering how little sleep is really needed for daily life. Throw in a couple of unexpected events and the things can get chaotic quickly.
Here are some tips I have for staying sane when things get crazy:
- Accept the frustration I usually growl when told to “buck up” or “grin and bear it” (sorry mom). Some events in life are disappointing or frustrating. I operate better when I give in to frustration, let it run its course, and enjoy relief when the problem is resolved. Sadness is not a sickness. It is fine to be down when things are not going your way. It’s unhealthy to stay in despair but don’t kick yourself because you experienced a natural reaction to difficult situations. Embrace your reaction then move on.
- Count your blessings Of course “there is always someone worse off than you” but it is still worthless advice. Someone is doing better than me as well. However, I can focus on my blessings. Some frustrations arise from problems with my financial blessings or good health that I took for granted. Without comparing myself to others, I need to simply thank God for the showers of blessings I receive and His continuing care. I get better perspective of my problems when I realize the many things in my life that are going well.
- Pray for guidance and help Praying continually during tough times reminds me that God listens and cares. He urges us to bring all of our anxieties and concerns to Him. 1 Peter 5:7 : “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (ESV) Psalm 55:22 and Matthew 6:25-34 also speak of God’s care and desire that we bring our troubles to Him.
- Ask for help I am blessed with a best friend, my wonderful wife, who listens as I vent frustrations, explore options, and seek advice. Friends with expertise in many areas provide great quality advice and recommendations of others who can assist me. Family and friends have experience and wisdom that is valuable. Be a good friend and allow others to help you as a friend.
- Work the problem In the inspirational movie Apollo 13, the ground crew at Mission Control is overwhelmed as spacecraft systems are reporting failures (which could be real problems or bad sensors) endangering the lives of the astronauts. Many people latched onto the “failure is not an option” quote, my favorite Gene Kranz quote came during the frenzy and confusion: “Let’s work the problem, people.” Figure out what is wrong, what you can affect, what is out of your control, what works, and develop the best course of action based on the information you have (remember to ask others for help). Break the problem into smaller and easier to handle challenges when the problem seems overwhelming.
Remember that joys and frustrations are both parts of our life. Although we want constant joy, frustrations and difficult times must come. Trust in God and trudge through until the path is once again clear and the bright days return.
A favorite song of mine is a source of comfort in difficult times:
Sing to me of Heaven, sing that song of peace,
From the toils that bind me it will bring release;
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
Showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of Heaven, tenderly and low,
Till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go;
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
Sing to me of Heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
“Sing to Me of Heaven” words by Ada Powell