“The imposition of stress is gone.”

Here’s a bit of fruitage from this past week.

These days there’s a daunting array of demands at work: quite a bit of travel and a number of big, time-consuming projects, many with tight deadlines. And I was starting to get stressed out. Individually these projects and tasks all feel do-ablenot beyond my knowledge base or skill set. But when you lay them all out side-by-side and look at the timeline, then you’ve got a situation where the items on that long list are competing with each other for limited time. 

I was feeling apprehensive and couldn’t figure out a way to lighten the load. Was this a smart and effective way for me to be thinking about these issues? Hardly. On Friday morning as I was reading the Lesson, I caught myself. I thought about some experiences where time-constraints and stress have been overcome on a spiritual basis. Those experiences have taught me that I don’t really need more time, but I do need to identify myself more closely with the true source of inspiration, understanding, ability, and capacity. I remembered a helpful passage from the book of Job, which says in reference to God, “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.” (Job 23:1314) 

So here’s what happened. When I went into work Friday morning, my boss raised the issue of my workload before I said a word about it. He suggested we take some time to identify everything that’s going on and do some strategizing. We filled a sheet of chart paper with all the projects and initiatives.

We agreed that one projectgetting a video scripted and producedneeded to be set on a more realistic timeline. The project will still be done, and I will enjoy working on it. But the deadline on that project had been a key contributor to my sense of stress, because it felt impossible to pull off. That decision alone was a big weight off my shoulders.  

In our time together, my boss and I planned an upcoming meeting and wrote a rough draft of the agenda. We also outlined an extensive report that needs to be written and figured out in a sensible way for some colleagues to contribute to the content.

In short, I came away from that unplanned meeting with a lighter step and a feeling of gratitude. There is still a great deal of demanding work on my platter, but the imposition of stress is gone, and a renewed sense of expectancy of good has taken its place. This experience has been a helpful reminder that it never helps to get caught up in the dream of human circumstances, and that it always helps to reawaken to the way things naturally work in God’s universe.