Hmmmm.  “I’ve lived through a thousand tragedies, none of which have actually happened.”

I heard that somewhere, and obviously remembered it. It seems to strike a chord in me, a recognition or a kinship, because I’ve done that.

I’ve paid attention to dire threats, from without and from within.  We affectionately call it “stress”, as though it’s a friend of sorts, when in reality these fears disrupt our sleep, damage our relationships, threaten our equilibrium, and cause havoc with our serenity.

I do not want to make friends with stress.  I do want to embrace breathing.  In…out…peace…steadiness…clear thinking…focused prayer.

I’ve often thought, in the midst of chaos of my own making (I have some experience in this area, I might add) that my very best thinking got me where I am at that very moment. Wow, that is some realization.

Fretful thinking, best brought out by stress, usually results in chaotic solutions to complex problems.  For example, if I don’t take time to carefully think and pray through a situation that is causing me pain , the likelihood is that I will make the decision that will alleviate the pain in the fastest way possible.  Avoiding pain, even when it involves those I love,  isn’t always God’s way.  At least it hasn’t been for me. Sometimes…the absolute ONLY way out is through.

I don’t really like that any more than you do.  It’s the thought of the unknown that truly unnerves us. What will happen, what could happen, what if? And then, I look back at the swamp I have either just waded through or blessedly avoided, and realize that I am the sum of those experiences, my actual experiences.  What I remember is not what I avoided but what I lived through, and whether I was able to use my faith to take one step after another through that experience.  The challenge for me is learning to live in steady grace.

Jut keep breathing. It’s astounding how wise that seems.

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