During the course of my day, problems and difficult situations tend to get brought to my attention. Sometimes the problems directly concern me, but often that is not the case. Once a problem is put onto my plate, I begin to play out the potential outcomes and scenarios in my head and I start to stress out over the various “what ifs.” Once this process begins, it’s hard to let it go. I admit that I’m a recovering perfectionist and I want to have absolute control of the things in my life, but stressing out over these problems and replaying the potential outcomes over and over again is actually the opposite of being in control. In retrospect, I’ve realized that when problems are brought to me, I usually don’t take the time to pause. I forget about everything else that I was doing or had planned and I miss out on the joys and blessings right in front of me because I am so preoccupied with the problem, that may not even be mine. Ugh!!! What is so maddening is when that anticipated day and time of reckoning finally arrives, the worst case scenario that I played out multiple times in my head rarely happens. After the initial feeling of relief passes, I usually admonish myself for being so worried in the first place. Unfortunately similar situations play out over and over again. Sometimes I ask myself, “In comparison to a current world crisis or even a crisis in the life of someone I’m in community with, does this situation even matter?” My answer is usually, “No!” My pastor (Andrew Damazio) preached on this when I was right in the middle of one of these stressful situations. Since then I have been making a greater effort to not go down that path, or if I do start to “go there” it’s easier to get back on track without letting the stressful situation completely take control. Some things that Pastor Andrew talked about that I’m keeping in mind is:
1. Can I do anything about it today? If not, then I’m going to live and focus on the here and now.
2. When I am anxious and stressed out, do something else to gain perspective. Some things that I can do include taking a walk or doing a fun activity with a loved one. It’s important that this time does not include talking about or dwelling on the situation!
3. Ask myself, “Does this matter in eternity?” This goes back to my “in comparison” question that I mentioned earlier. If it doesn’t matter in eternity and it doesn’t even matter in comparison to a current world crisis or a crisis in my community, then I will take my pastor’s advice and not let it control my present.
When I take the time to pause and put things into perspective, it’s really not that serious y’all.