Today’s blog post is another guest post, this one from Nancy Mitchell Wheat. Nancy grew up as the child of faithful missionary parents, and she and her husband Bobby Wheat served as missionaries in Zimbabwe for many years themselves, raising their three now-adult children there. Nancy is a woman of great faith, and she possesses a wealth of wisdom. She is one of the most joy-filled women I know. You will be blessed by her words in today’s post.
What do you think are the main reasons moms today are so stressed?
How does living according to God’s word bring peace?
These are two questions I was asked. There are so many reasons we are so stressed, but I have three that seem to be the main ones.
- Trying to do it all brings stress. My husband and I tried to help our kids see that there are many good things to involve yourself in and that you just can’t do them all. This becomes an almost daily choice. Moms have so many obligations and possibilities but they physically just cannot do everything. Making a list of family priorities and seeking wise counsel, first from your husband and then from mentors, is so key.
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22
Don’t be afraid to ask a wise person to look at your schedule and honestly tell you if you’re trying to do too much. Ask and then really listen. An older person has experienced life and challenges. They have wisdom they can share.
In my 30s on the mission field in Zimbabwe I developed a heart arrhythmia. I went to my doctor and he asked me to list all the things I was doing. After listening he said “Nancy, that’s enough to keep three people busy. Prioritize. Give away jobs so you can heal.” There was nothing physically wrong with my heart. I was just trying to be wonder woman.
It is hard to say no to opportunities. It’s hard to disappoint people who ask us to do good things. But there is only so much energy, and choices have to be made so we can take care of what is most important. Matthew 6:33 is a good verse to pin up where we can see it daily and ask, “Is what I’m staying stressed over really seeking first the kingdom?
- Comparing ourselves to other’s lives is a cause of stress. No two people or life situations are the same. Trust God to put you where you are most needed. He knows our gifts — He gave them to us. He knows our needs.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” – Ephesians 1:3
We are doubting God when we look at others and complain or wish we had what they have. Voice your thanks every day for what God has put right in front of you and stress will ease.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Whenever you start to wish for someone else’s situation, stop and be thankful to God. It makes an amazing difference.
- Unrealistic expectations keep us stressed. In marriage, with our kids, with the church, and with our neighbors, unrealistic expectations keep us disappointed and dissatisfied. Lower those expectations. Be merciful to all. We want mercy shown us when we “fail.” We must use that mercy in dealing with everyone around us.
Placing unrealistic expectations on others is what I call being “judgey.” We set a high bar for others. Just don’t. Stop and try to give them the benefit of a doubt. We have no idea what kind of burden they bear or what limitations they have.
A very convicting parable is in Matthew 18 where the king speaks to the unmerciful servant saying, “And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Matt. 18:33) Don’t expect so much of others and your stress level will lower.
So, how does living according to God’s word bring us peace?
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). This was in the middle of encouraging his apostles to remember that he would send the Holy Spirit to comfort them, lead them, and remind them of everything he had taught them. His words would sustain them. Those same words can sustain us. IF we put them in our hearts.
Like all good habits, Bible reading requires discipline. We must read it daily and we need a plan to do that – a decision to read and when to read. Do it even when you don’t feel like doing it. You will be so glad you did. Then, we pray it into our hearts and apply it to our actions. It is not an easy thing to learn to do, but the result is closeness to our best friend. His Word is our power source.
“With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments.” Psalm 119:10
We are blessed with so many ways to “hear” God’s word today. We have multiple versions of the printed word, audio versions of the word, etc. I often listen to part of my daily reading on my phone as I work in the house. Read good Christian books and magazines, watch and listen to sermons and Bible classes. Fill your heart with what God says. Leave no room for Satan.