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Dealing with Stress (Part 2) – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

In this article, I am continuing to look at the example Jesus set in dealing with stress.  He said, “I know where I came from and where I am going” (John 8:14).  Know what you want to accomplish.  Jesus said, “I know where I came from and where I am going.”  Can you say that too?  Unless you plan your life and establish priorities, you’ll be pressured by other people to do what they think is important.  Every day you either live by priorities or you live by pressures. There’s no other option.  Either you decide what’s important in your life or you let other people decide for you.  It’s easy to operate under the tyranny of the urgent, to come to the end of your day and wonder, “Have I accomplished anything at all?  I used up a lot of energy and did a lot of things, but did I achieve anything important?”  Busyness is not necessarily productivity.  You may be spinning in circles but not accomplishing anything of real value.  Preparation causes you to be at ease.  Or to put it another way, preparation prevents pressure, whereas procrastination produces pressure.  Good organization and good preparation reduce stress because you know who you are, who you’re trying to please, and what you want to accomplish.
Having clearly defined goals simplifies life.  So, spend a few minutes at the beginning of every day talking with God in prayer.  Then look at your schedule for the day and decide: “Is this really the way I want to spend a day of my life?  Am I willing to exchange the next twenty-four valuable hours for these activities?”  The right answer to those two questions will lower your stress level by helping you prioritize.
Jesus said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43).  Focus on one thing at a time.  Are you being pulled in different directions?  People constantly tried to do this to Jesus and distract Him from His goal in life.  The Bible says, “At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place.  The people were looking for Him and when they came to where He was, they tried to keep Him from leaving them” (v. 42 NIV).  Jesus was about to leave and they tried to make Him stay.  Here’s how He responded: “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom…to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”  He refused to be distracted by less important matters.  Indeed, He was a master at this. Everybody tried to interrupt Him.  Everyone had a Plan B for His life.  But in essence He responded, “No, I must keep moving toward my goal.”  And He kept right on doing what He knew God had told Him to do.  He was determined.  He was persistent.  He was focused.
So, when you have a dozen different things to do, pick the most important one and stick with it until it’s complete.  Then pick the second most important and do the same thing, until you’ve completed the list. When we diffuse our efforts we are ineffective; when we concentrate our efforts we are more successful. Diffused light produces a hazy glow, whereas light that’s concentrated produces fire.  Jesus didn’t let interruptions prevent Him from concentrating on His goal.  He didn’t let others make Him tense or stressed or irritated. And He is your example!