Lessen Stress with 2 Thoughts! and WW Linkup

Father of Lights

This is a long one—longer than I like to post—but it’s funny and, I think, worth the read!

This past week we celebrated Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and I worked really hardAND I worked really hard at shifting my focus from feelings of self-pity and negativity too! I think this time of year is hard because …

[Tweet “The holiday season can be a “stress-palooza” of possibilities! #merryturnedmeltdown”]

But here’s what I {eh-hem} “God” did to mentally, relationally and most of all spiritually help me to feel encouraged in some recent stressful situations …

I reminded myself that “I don’t deserve anything!”* In fact, the Bible tells us what we really deserve is “death” and certainly not for things to go our way {Romans 3:23 & 6:23}! I also followed that up with the thought that Jesus loves me and is with me in those troubled times. In fact, I imagine(d) Him holding my hand and reminding me that, “He’s got this!”

Here’s how that practically played out during my holiday “shopping trip” …

I was getting in a rather short line {on Black Friday} at a department store. As I approached, there was another lady coming to the line maybe a smidge behind me, but I decided to let her have the next spot {Please know that I am not taking credit for that! It was simply the Christ-like thing to do and Christ is the One who gets the credit!}.

We both were behind a lady who had decided that Black Friday was the perfect day to return a lengthy and very complicated purchase she’d made that involved the cashier having to sift through various items that were “buy one get one free” and “buy one get one half off.”

Immediately my mind was pulling me toward, “What is this woman thinking? Who returns stuff ON Black Friday?!” But I didn’t want to entertain that thought, so I remembered, “I don’t deserve anything!” This soothed me, but time was a-tickin’ away! Even the cashier knew this and urged us to go to two other close by registers to check out.

I did this and found that another lady who had been behind me in the first line was now in front of me at the next check out. Since I couldn’t accept that I’d “lost more time” 😉 by being a little slow-footed, I went to the next department to check out. Big mistake! Huge!! Mind you, I’m still trying my best to focus on Jesus being my shopping partner!

I got to the next department but didn’t really know where the end of the line was, since there were two sides to the check out and “a smattering” {whatever that is … it doesn’t sound good!} of people were here and there.

I asked the lady {who looked like the supervisor} where the end of the line was and she looked around and said, “Oh you’re good! Don’t worry about it.” Little did she know that I was trying my best not to worry by focusing on Jesus, “Who’s got this!”

It was the next person’s turn and the lady, that I was wondering might be ahead of me, stepped up to take her turn. Meanwhile the people on the other side were getting in line ahead of me, so that I was further back in the pecking order on my side—where I was “good” according to the supervisor!

But I’m still desperately trying to focus on the fact that I don’t deserve a closer, faster spot and Jesus is with me and I was enjoying His company! {All kidding aside, I was feeling comforted by this. I cannot tell you how much this would have gotten under my skin in any other situation! Yep, I’m a bit Type-A}.

However, my story is not through! The lady who was before me had a return {again with the Black Friday returns??} and this took a rather long time to get sorted through as well. This time the supervisor was realizing she’d kind of put me in a bad spot, because I’m still waiting and several people are being waited on over on the other side.

By this time, I’m humming “I Surrender All” in my head, although I’m feeling a bit more frazzled in my heart. But I do remember, “I don’t deserve anything!” And that “Jesus blesses me with His grace and forgiveness!” So I’m feeling more encouraged again, although, I’ll admit, it’s not my most joyful moment.

Finally I get waited on {happy, happy, joy, joy!} and I didn’t have the coupon that would save me a bit more, but the sales lady gladly took the extra amount off without me even asking for it {probably b/c she felt sorry for me}. Hooray for generosity!

I thought, now how much worse would I have felt if I’d lost my cool? And although they might have given me the extra discount to pacify me, here I was with the discount and a clear conscience to boot! Boo-yah!

It wasn’t perfect, but imperfect progress {like Lysa TerKeurst says}, which is a good thing too!

So maybe that supervisor was right! I was in a “good” spot after all!

Try to remember these truths the next time you feel stressed:

  1. You don’t deserve to have things go your way.
  2. Jesus loves you with His life and is walking with you through every trouble. He’s got this!

How did you do with the stress of Thanksgiving or Black Friday?

 

What snagged you up or dragged you down?

 

What helped you?

 

* I’m adding something of a clarification to this post, since someone brought this issue up to me privately – I think, in and of myself, I don’t deserve anything. But in Christ, I am His bride and valuable because He loves me and pours His value and redemption into me. This means I do NOT believe I am “worthless” (in case, that’s something you gleaned from above) but that I don’t deserve anything. Christ grants me forgiveness and I never earn it by my merit or good works. Therefore, it’s all about Christ’s work and not about me feeling I deserve anything. But, then, I also have a God who gives me all things! Yay, God!


Joining with my friends at  Works for Me Wednesday,  Wifey Wednesday,  Coffee and Conversation,  Wholehearted Wednesday,  Whimsical Wednesday, and Simply Said Mom.

Now it’s time for Wedded Wednesday!
Grab our WW Button Code here!

Messy Marriage

And don’t forget to include a link back here, because the easier people can find Wedded Wednesday, the more traffic I can send your way!

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  • JosephPote

    Yeah…Black Friday…

    The time of year when I am reminded, yet again, that as much as I enjoy spending time with my wife (I truly do) I really hate shopping (I truly do)!

    Hope the rest of your holiday season is a bit less stressful! 🙂

    • You know, Joe, I enjoy shopping, but I really hate the crowds and the stress of Black Friday. Every year I think, I won’t do that again! But I end up going because I’m also such a huge bargain hunter! These two sides of my personality battle it out all the time! ha! Yes, actually my holidays were much less stressful than in years past as I kept my mind on the grace God gives me and the truth that He is always by my side! Thanks for coming by, linking up and commenting!

  • This cracked me up, Beth! ‘Cause there are few things that make me more impatient than a L O N G checkout line with incompetent or irritating people around me.
    Sigh.
    I have such a long way to go, I know.
    But what I WILL do next time I’m in that position is remember you humming ‘I Surrender All.’ I promise I will smile at the memory … and begin to hum, too …

    • I’m so glad it did, Linda! I can imagine myself telling you this over a steaming cup of coffee and we would laugh “together!” So cyber-laughing is the next best thing! 😉 I focused maybe a bit too much on the humor and the temptations to feel stressed in this post, because honestly, this was the least stressed of any of my holidays … ever! I truly felt God’s nearness as I focused on His grace and companionship. So I really do feel encouraged by my imperfect progress. Hey two steps forward and one step back is still moving in the right direction, right?! ha!

  • Oh my friend. I told you – I shopped online. And the scooters have already arrived at my doorstep, no waiting necessary! 😉 This one makes me giggle. Just today I decided (my fault) that I could just squeeze in enough time to run to Family Christian in between a meeting and preschool pickup in order to buy a couple very important (yes, VERY important) Veggie Tales DVDs on sale. Of course this turned out to be a very complex checkout process for reasons way beyond my control. One of the DVDs was out of stock so they ordered it to be shipped to store, which apparently adds five frustrating minutes to the checkout process as I am watching my phone/clock and realizing I am now late for preschool pickup, horrible mother. But I was buying her a Veggie Tales DVD! Don’t I get good mom points for that? God saved me from huffing and puffing at the counter (at a Christian book store, no less, for shame, for shame) because just as I was about to say never mind, I have to go now, the sales associate completed the transaction and sent me on my way. I made it to school with seconds to spare. Praise the Lord on high!

    • Yes, you did, Becky! And I should’ve taken your lead on this one! ha! And I am the same way, girlfriend, on squeezing every second of my day into something from my “to-do” list. I’m glad you made it in time (thank the Lord!) but I can completely relate! I hope those little beauties you’re raising “get” (someday) how very much you love them and do for them! Great to see you here in my space yet again, my friend!

  • GailBP

    Such good, sound advice, Beth. I need to write the phrase “You don’t deserve to have things go your way” on my hand : )
    Not just for the holidays either.
    Thanks for sharing your shopping day and your wisdom.

    • Yes, it’s so true. I’ve heard many of my clients over the years say something like, “I don’t deserve this!” And it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to me! I think it’s the makings of a HUGE mental mess when we think we don’t deserve something negative in life. Thankfully God loves us enough to extend grace (the favor we don’t deserve) and withholds the thing we do deserve (punishment) through His mercy! Thanks for your kind words to me, sweet Gail! I’d love to meet you someday in person. So if you’re ever in the midwest around the St. Louis area, let me know!

  • Mary

    Love your story and the chuckle early this morning! 🙂 I had both of my sons and their girlfriends for Thanksgiving. My younger son’s girl I was meeting for the first time and she was staying with me from Wednesday to Sunday. I was a bit stressed over having extra people in my house as well as preparing dinner for Thanksgiving. God walked me through each day, each minute and each hurdle. It was the best Thanksgiving I have ever had. I love the happy ending but with God they all are happy endings! Love you friend!

    • I knew that you were going to have a full house on Thanksgiving and have been wondering how that all went, Mary. I see from your blog that it went really well! Yay, God! I can imagine that meeting your son’s girlfriend for the first time might be a bit nerve wracking. But you are such a sweetheart that I really think you have nothing to be worried about! I’m sure she saw that sweet heart shining through–even in stressful moments! Love ya back, my friend!

  • Candy Reid

    Loved your story! So transparent. The words that help me get through those trying times are “It’s not about me!” I don’t always handle things so well…I’m so thankful that God doesn’t just give up on me. I’d have thrown my hands up a long time ago, but He just keeps right on gently prodding me in the right direction.
    ~Candy
    http://momsmorningcoffee.com

    • It’s such a temptation, Candy, when we are in those hard moments to focus on how we are being treated or inconvenienced. Normally I would focus on this and it would make me feel worse. But this year, even though it might not have seemed like it from the humorous take I had on this day, I truly was soothed and comforted by these thoughts. Remembering that I don’t deserve for things to go my way and that Jesus is going “my way” and has it all under control, certainly calmed my heart! Thanks for your kind words to me, my friend, and for linking up as well. 🙂

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  • Mary Flaherty

    oh, that’s a great story! But honestly, I think Jesus would have skipped Black Friday. He only went with you because He loves you so much! Haha! You are one brave soul! I actually worked on Friday…not a whole day, but it was enough to warrant a “no way am I going shopping today!” rule

    • Are you kidding me, Mary?! That’s exactly where he’d be–with all the sinners with bad attitudes or even among the self-righteous sales clerks who think they know it all! ha! But I thank you for saying “He loves me so much!” Even hearing it from others is a joy! I’m glad you chose (like Mary of Mary and Martha fame) “what is better!” 😉

  • I love how Jesus was your shopping partner in this Beth! Too funny. I am glad you were able to share a valuable life lesson and that Jesus has it all under control. Your story is the very reason I do NOT shop in stores on Black Friday anymore. We did all our stuff this year online and it was on our doorstop in two days. A great way to avoid the crowds…but yours is a wonderful way to see put into practice! May you learn the blessed value of a good online Black Friday deal and the joys of Cyber Monday shopping next year. 🙂

    • I would do it all online, but there were some things that I wanted to “try on” before I bought them, Nicki. That’s my main beef with online shopping really. I love the convenience and it feels like Christmas or my B-day every time I get a package at my door–even if it’s for someone else in my family! Oh, and every year I say I’m not going to do Black Friday stuff and I get out there because there are SOME deals they only have in the stores. I’m such a bargain hunter that it’s like they dangle the bait and I’m there! Just so happy that Jesus is there with me!

  • Mary flaherty

    Good point. Oh yeah, that was me I was thinking of…as usual.

  • Hello friend…imperfect progress. YES! Love that. We or at least I have in the past put so. much. pressure. on myself and others. And my holiday stress had nothing to do with shopping but everything to do with family. And it hurt. BUT GOD and Jesus who knew such persecution standing their with me, holding me through it and the emotional aftermath and then bringing me to a good place — deeper in Christ with forgiveness finally and compassion always.

  • This is such an perfect reminder because this world seems to teach us that we are entitled to anything and everything that we want. How wonderful that we are unworthy of anything and yet God has given us everything. Thanks so much for the reminder and for the link-up! Blessings to you and yours.

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