Weekly Thought – December 24, 2019
Fred traditionally did his Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. The family all knew when he left “to run errands” he was out finding gifts. When he returned he wrapped his bounty in newspaper and put them aside. Why not under the tree? Because that was the other tradition – buying and decorating the tree as a family on Christmas Eve. It was years before the grown children realized he waited until the trees’ prices were reduced drastically.
BWF and BWFLI send Christmas blessings to each of you. Your faithful support strengthens and encourages. May your Christmas Day bring hope and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thinking About Stress
(Harold Myra and Paul Robbins queried Fred at length in the mid-1980s. One question opened the way for one of Fred’s highly identifiable thoughts: the difference between a problem and a fact of life. As we plan for 2020, it is helpful to “listen” to Fred talk about stress.)
“Back in 1965 we heard you give a talk at a Youth For Christ convention on various aspects of stress. Do you still think about this?”
Recently, I had a visit with Dr. David Morrison who is a national authority on the subject of stress. It is interesting that he considers stress to be part of a heathy person.
One of the things about stress is being able to define the areas in which you are helped by having stress. There is definitely a healthy aspect. The key is identifying the problem. I like to say a problem is something I can do something about, If I can’t do anything about it, it is not my problem. It doesn’t become my problem until there is a way I can affect the outcome. If I can’t do anything, it becomes a fact of life. I have to constantly be able to recognize and differentiate, accept, and live with the answer. I cannot solve things that are insolvable. Therefore, I spend no time thinking about them.
A young executive came up to me one morning and asked if he could talk with me. We stepped over to the side of the room away from the others. He had a distinct tremor. “Mr. Smith, last night was the most meaningful night of my life. Do you notice anything wrong with me?” “You’re trembling.” “Yes. Last night I listened as you were talking about problems and facts of life. All my life I have had this tremor and probably will have it the rest of my life. But last night I went up to my room and came to peace with it. It’s not my problem anymore; it’s a fact of life.”
Many people call things problems which actually are facts of life. For example, company policy isn’t an employee’s problem; it’s his fact of life. Mental and emotional health comes from being able to say “I will not be oppressed or anxious about things I can do nothing about.”
Don’t ask, “Is this a tense job?” That’s the wrong question. The right question is “Am I tense?” Stress provides good clues about strengths, talents, and best places to operate. It highlights weaknesses, as well, and points us away from certain jobs if we listen.
This week think about: 1) How healthy is my stress? 2) What clues am I receiving from current stress? 3) How can I apply problem v. fact of life this week?
Words of Wisdom: “I spend no time thinking about things I can do nothing about.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy.” (Proverbs 12:25 NET Bible)