If you stand for any length of time in the grocery store line, you will see magazines of all sorts with headlines that get our attention on how women can live a stress free life. Articles that may say something like this: 10 ways to become stress free or How to live a stress free life and still have it all. These articles intrigue us because presently, more than ever, we are living in a constant state of busyness and we want to know what the “professionals” have to say so we can find relief.
As I sit here and write this, I am reminded that almost 13 years ago to this day, I found myself struggling with depression that stemmed from living a very busy life. I was 28 years old, had a husband that worked full time plus attended school in the evenings for his job, I was raising a 7 month old baby all while working full time at a bank. I felt that I had to keep up this way of life because we wanted the best for our kid(s) and I wasn’t willing to give up our life of comfort. I bought into the lie that I could be super woman, but in all reality, I didn’t have true contentment that only comes for the Lord.
The world shouts to us that “You can have it all! You can have kids, a beautiful home, a successful career, teach Sunday School, volunteer to coach soccer, and a husband ( who ends up taking the back seat).” All these things are good things, but living a life that functions this way can become a recipe for disaster because no human being can do it all. Eventually, we will run out of steam like I did, spiraling into depression and despair.
Most women are stressed at some point in their life and some just live in continual, day-to-day chaos. Sometimes the stress is due to circumstances beyond their control, but other times, they live in commotion because of consequences of their own choices. We say we are content with what God has given us and yet, we still long for more. So, how can we live a life of peace and quiet? Thankfully, we don’t have to buy Good Housekeeping to find out how to relieve stress! God’s Word has answers and hope for souls in turmoil, in Psalm 131.
King David knew a thing or two about day-to-day stress. His life was far from ordinary! If you read Psalm 131, you will hear the cries of David’s heart coming out in this Song of Ascent. David is coming to the Lord in humility and asking Him to check his heart for pride and wrong motives, but mostly David wants to put his hope and trust in God.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever more.
When we live lifestyles of stress and busyness, we need to ask the Lord, as David did, to see if our hearts and eyes are not lifted in up pride and self exaltation. Are we getting ourselves in over our head and occupying days filled with things too great and too marvelous for the wrong reason? Do we think that we can really “have it all” and have peace in our soul? When we take on another shift at work because we need more money for “stuff”, become over committed in ministry because we think we can do it better, or running our kids to every activity because we want them to have every experience, we are not trusting in the Lord and His Word for our life. Instead, we end up exalting ourselves and get stressed out.
David says in order for us to live a life that is calm and quiet, we are to lift our eyes to the hills and know that our help comes from the Lord, not in a full schedule. God wants us to quiet our restless heart and be content with what He has entrusted to us. Most of us have no idea what quiet looks like, but David describes it as a weaned child that has full dependence and contentment resting in the arms of his mother.
Are you trusting in God today or are you complaining against Him by keeping yourself so busy with things too great and too marvelous for your life?Psalm 131 should give us great hope that we don’t need to search far to find true peace and contentment. Furthermore, the Psalmist says in 119:36-37 “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” Turn to God’s instruction and He will give you life in His ways if you just trust the One that is faithful.