8 Habits Worth Cultivating if You’re Stretched Too Thin

{I think God chuckles when I sign up to write articles not knowing that what I end up writing is exactly what He wants ME to hear and put into practice. I will tell you this: I have intentionally been using these 8 strategies daily to keep myself focused on Him and not the unknown future that looms ahead. They're working. And I am grateful that God loves us so much that He doesn't leave us to attend to our anxiety and overwhelm by ourselves.}

8 Habits Worth Cultivating if You’re Stretched Too Thin

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Living life in this world can be brutal. There are days when every time I turn around, there is a new crisis—in my life, in my community, or in my world (and sometimes all three simultaneously). But the truth is, even on a day where there is no major catastrophe or unwanted surprise, life has the potential to be overwhelming. Work, chores, kids, spouse, friends, and volunteer work all clamor for my attention, shouting “Me first! Me first!” I bet you can relate, too. So how do we keep all this work, all this noise, and all these needs from pushing us over the edge? Here are my strategies:

1) Don’t pick up the phone in every spare moment. 

The pause before I pick it up could be exactly when God wants to whisper something to me. It might be the moment I could offer up a prayer of thanksgiving or intercession. It may be the moment I have that day to be mindful, to breathe deep, to confess my sin or anxiety. It’s easy to miss these profound moments when God could enter in, to bring peace and love and direction.

But instead of choosing God, I choose Words with Friends. Or Facebook. Or Instagram.

I’m still going to play my Words with Friends game. And I’m sure I’ll still check in with social media channels and with my email. But I want to increase the number of times that before I mindlessly pick up the phone and open an app, I ask God if there’s something better for me, something that will keep me centered, focused, and grounded (and not contribute to overwhelm because, hello, Facebook can be overwhelming, yes?).

Practical practice: Look in your phone’s settings to see what apps are using the most battery power. That gives you a good indication of where you’re spending your time while you're on the phone. Any ones that are particularly distracting and/or that contribute to your overwhelm? Delete them.

2) When you feel the need to speed up, intentionally slow down. 

My mentor sent me this TEDx Talk and it impacted how I operate daily. I’m prone to rush, giving in to the frantic push to do more and control more. But as this video states and as I’ve found, anxiety and frantic activity don’t lead to quality work or peace. In fact, trying to squeeze time dry leaves me wrung out. The constant rush of activities keeps me in a suspended state of hyperdrive, unable to revel in what I have accomplished or to find beauty in living.

Practical practice: Every time you feel the frantic push or the feeling of anxiety/overwhelm, physically slow down your motions. Take a deep breath and ask God to show you the one thing you can do in that moment.

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