We’re all at different stages in life.
It’s possible you’re in a stage where you aren’t doing anything at all, your stress level is zero, and you have no responsibilities.
However, it’s more likely you’re in a stage that’s basically the opposite of that. This is the stage of life I align with.
I was thinking about all of this when I was talking to an old friend on the phone — yes, talking to old friends on the phone is still a thing.
My friend was a missionary in Africa for several years. He was telling me how he left mission work—at least for now—because he felt like he was getting his worth and value from being a missionary. No doubt, it can be a difficult field to remain humble in.
Now he’s in the military with me (though we’re on different sides of the world).
So we were talking about our current lives and how things are going. We both have so many things to be grateful for, yet we both talked about stressors in our lives.
We realized through the conversation that almost all of these “stressors” and things that were wearing us thin were self-imposed.
For example, a few days ago, I had a stressful day from beginning to end.
Here’s a summary of that day: I woke up at 3am, had to finish writing an article and editing a video by 5am (both self-imposed deadlines), then I had physical training for work (good for me, fun), then I had several miscellaneous tasks to do (mostly self-imposed) before a group hike with my co-workers (also fun, good for me, self-imposed, my idea), and I had to leave a few minutes early to catch a flight to Osaka (self-imposed, amazing opportunity, still can’t believe I live in Japan). And then there was finding and getting to our hostel, and so on.
At the time, I was thinking about how stressful it was, but now I realize it was a day full of amazing opportunities. Granted, I probably had way too many self-imposed deadlines in that day, so that’s my bad.
Back to that phone call with my missionary friend. He was explaining how most of the stressors in our lives (for the first world, at least) pertain to self-imposed expectations.
Things we put on ourselves to meet our own standards.
And it’s good to stretch ourselves, and even to stress ourselves to an extent.
But when all of these self-imposed things start piling up to the point of exhaustion… we need to calm down a little bit.
I know I need to calm down a little bit. Maybe you do too.
How many of the stressors in your life are self-imposed?
I’m not saying we need to stop doing everything we’re doing, but we at least need to consider why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Let’s calm down a little and start removing some of the self-imposed expectations that are causing more harm than good.
Further Book Reading
How to Be a Bad Christian by Christopher Easley