Saturday, October 22, 2016

Let It Go (and I don't mean Frozen)

We're nearly two months into the school year, and I'm sure for many of you, things are piling up. Homework, projects, extracurricular activities, work . . . not to mention that relationships take time, and so do hobbies (for myself, that's writing and blogging). We complain that life is busy, and it is. When is it anything but? I know, I know, some seasons of life are busier than others, or they're a different kind of busy, but the fact remains: there is always something going on.


Some of those things we have control over. Many things we do not. Things like school and work are musts. Relationships are the biggest things in life, and so we don't want to sacrifice time spent building them. And if we neglect recreation for too long, we burn out. So what in the world do you do when life gets crazy and there's just nothing you can cut out?*


*I would first examine if that's really true, because chances are, there is something you can minimize or eliminate or postpone. Really.


Most of the time . . .


We. Get. Stressed.



And we blame the circumstances for our stress. But actually, those things that keep us busy, those deadlines and requirements and must-do activities, are just stressors. How you react to them is completely up to you.


Stress is actually low-level fear. It's not a red-hot explosion of panic, but a constant drone in the back of your mind. It's the constant nagging, the to-do list digging its claws in, the underlying buzz of thoughts saying, "Can I do this? Will I make it? I don't know if I can. There's this, this, this, and this to do today, and all of THIS to do tomorrow. I don't have enough to give. I'm going to disappoint people. I'm going to disappoint myself. I'm failing. I'm buried. I'm overwhelmed. I'M STRESSED."


Something I'm learning is that I need to let go of the things I have no control over. Sure, there's a lot I can change--I can adjust my schedule, I can work on my beliefs about a situation so that I don't stress out as easily--but there's always lots in life that I just have no control over. So there's no point in freaking out about those things.


So what if there's an accident on the way to school and it's slowing down traffic, making me late for class? That's an extenuating circumstance. If I gave myself sufficient time to get to school, and something like that makes me late, that's not my fault. So in the middle of the backed-up traffic, I don't need to panic.


So what if a customer issue comes up at work and I don't have time to finish the cleaning project my manager gave me? A more important issue came up, so the project will have to wait for another time. And that's okay. I don't need to feel guilty about it.


So what if you have to go to school or work or any other number of obligations? Yes, it limits your free time, but you'll just have to accept it and work around it. Don't put needless pressure on yourself to accomplish more than you have time for.


When you brush all of that aside, your mind is suddenly a lot freer to start focusing on what you can do, and what you do have control over. It's a lot less stressful. A lot more freeing.


So relax, friend. Life may be full of stressors right now, but it doesn't mean you need to be stressed. Shift your focus, release what you can't control, and just figure out what the next step is. That's all.


You've got this.

35 comments :

  1. Oh wow, this was a timely post! o.o I've actually be stressing myself to DEATH lately with NaNo coming up. It's just coming so FAST and I keep realizing how much I need to get done before it gets here, and it freaks me out. But it's silly. I mean, the world will not explode if I haven't caught up on emails before NaNo. If I haven't finished my outline, oh well. I can stop writing for a day to finish plotting. It'll be fine. So what my book is probably going to be long? I love to write. I'll just keep writing until it's done. It's going to be FUN writing it, not some awful chore.

    All these thoughts have been going round and round in my head, sometimes me freaking out, sometimes me giving myself pep talks like that to snap out of it. XD

    But you know what, I just need to let it go! Let each day come as it does, do what I can, not worry about what I can't. I need to relax and enjoy this exciting season, one day at a time.

    Ahhhh, Tracey, your words! You honestly have no idea how timely this was, it's just crazy. Thank you for being a vessel God can use to encourage us!!! *huggles*

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    1. What Lauri said. (Though... without the realization on my part that the world won't end if I don't do all the things. XD)

      Thanks for this, Tracey. I need to try to take it to heart I guess because otherwise I may go crazy. I definitely am constantly stressed (in fact, have been for over a year, maybe more) so that's not good. :P

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    2. @Lauri: Gracious, I haven't called you that in ages, for some reason. Anyway.

      I'm glad it was timely--but not glad you've been stressing over Nano. *hugs* I can sympathize about turning writing into a chore! That's not a nice place to be, and I hope you can relax and rediscover the fun...that this November will truly be your BEST Nano yet!

      Yes, take it one day at a time, and just enjoy the ride! It can be hard to balance planning ahead with living in the moment, but it CAN be done.

      Christine, you just make me smile every time you comment. Thank you for being such a light! <3

      @Deb: THE WORLD WILL NOT END, I PROMISE. XD

      That's...that's rough, being stressed for so long. (I don't know what exactly has been going on for me the last year or two, but it hasn't exactly been a walk in the park, either.) *hugs tight* Praying you'll experience peace like never before, my dear! <3

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  2. I liked how you said thast stress is actually a quiet kind of fear. Droning on and on in the background, but it piles up so that it becomes a big deal.

    Sometimes I think the little nagging things can be more of a problem than the huge problems! :)

    In light of this post being about how busy you are, this is probably the worst time to ask this question, so feel free to say no, okay? But I was wondering if you'd be interested in beingvwritung buddies?

    I've always thought we had a lot in common and I'm trying to gather as diverse a group of people around me for writing support as I can, so...

    Anyway, if you're too busy, that's totally okay! Just wanted to out it out there!

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    1. Oh my, yes, when it piles up, it becomes a very big deal indeed. You're right, the little things can be worse than the big ones! It's good to recognize the fear/stress early on so we can nip it in the bud.

      Haha, that made me smirk: "probably the worst time to ask this question." XD I'm totally honored, though! Seriously! It's true that I *am* quite busy at this stage of life (what with college and whatnot), so I'm not doing any beta reading right now. But if you're good with simply swapping emails and talking about writing, I'm up for that!

      Speaking of having things in common, I laughed out loud at the about page on your blog. XDDD

      But anyway, if you're okay with me not having time to read your writing (right now, anyway), then feel free to shoot me a message with the contact form on the sidebar and we can go from there! Thanks again--so sweet of you to ask! ^_^

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    2. You mean the "Journey, Who I Am" one (something like that, anyway!)???

      That's exactly what I had in mind!!! I'm probably too busy for anything more than that anyway! :)

      WILL DO! Thanks, by the way! It means a lot to me that you more experienced folks are willing to take the time to befriend lil old me!

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    3. That's the one! Stomping on butterflies, that whole bit.

      Oh, perfect! I was a little sad I couldn't offer more, but if that's what you had in mind, wonderful!

      I'm in the middle of composing a reply. You're so welcome! Like I said, I'm honoured you'd seek me out, and it's always a pleasure to hang out with a fellow writer. :)

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    4. Haha, yes! We were weird, were we not???

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  3. This post came at the most perfect time, for me! Thank you, Tracey! <3

    ~Liv
    oliviakfisher.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank YOU, Olivia! I'm blown away that God uses my musings to get to people at the right times like this. <3

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  4. I was reflecting on this exact thing yesterday during my quiet time! University life is very busy, and I got overwhelmed with all my obligations and urgent To Do's. It is very important during hectic times to remember that ultimately God is in control of everything and to give up control to Him. If God is in control, you don't have to worry anymore about all the stuff you have to do. Take a deep breath, give it to God, and get back to work. :)

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    1. Sarah! *glomples* I've missed you!

      Wow, it's been on your mind as well? Uni certainly does sound busy and hectic... But I'm really glad you're releasing what you can't control, because (as you said) then you can get back to work with much more peace. Hope you're enjoying school despite the busyness, friend! :)

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  5. TRACEY!!! What in the whole world, how did you know what has happened in the past weeeeek?!! XD
    But seriously...high-school has been taking over my LIFE. One day this past week, I had done so much school, I felt physically unwell. =p I've definitely been over-working myself, and I NEED TO JUST LET IT GO. So thank you very much for this post!!
    -Ariel

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    1. That's totally God's doing, because I had no clue! (Kind of cool, though, how He works it out like that.)

      Oh, high school, how do I miss thee... lol, not. XD But oh dear, Ariel, get some rest! School should not be taking that kind of toll on you. Relax, just do what you can with what time you have, and don't let the stress creep in. *hugs* You got this, girl!

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    2. Well duh. XD So glad He prompted you!
      Yeeeaaah...gotta learn a lot about time management. *hugs back* Thanks, Tracey!
      -Ariel

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  6. Loved this! So true too. I've been trying to remember this. I recently moved to a different state to attend a different college. I used to live in the country and now I'm living in the city which for me is probably the biggest change out of everything. So when you mentioned backed up traffic and being late, I was like, "Man, I relate so much to that." I've actually been trying to chill out in the car. I've realized that "I'll get there when I'll get there" is more than an obvious truth. XD I should just enjoy the journey. I try to make car rides, even just to school, a time to relax and think, listen to music and pray. And when I start stressing about time, I try to remind myself that I can't make traffic go faster, so I should just chill out (or let it go, or whatever floats your boat XD). It helps that the clock in my car doesn't work and I refuse to look at the time on my phone. That way the knowledge of time doesn't pressure me into making a stupid driving decision. :P

    And I've been trying to focus on being still and knowing that God has control of things. Like Psalm 46:10 and Exodus 14:14. This post just reinforces a lot of the things I've been trying to implement recently! So thank you!

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    1. Kind of ironic, because I've been having to drill this into my head again, just one day after posting it. XD

      Oh man, moving out of state, from the country to the city, to a different college? That's a HUGE change! Traffic, what fun... "I'll get there when I get there" really is true most of the time, I agree! Using those car rides to recharge like that is a great idea, and I do it too. Lolzy, nothing like a broken clock to help you forget the time! XD

      Being still can be so HARD, especially for a task-driven person like myself. But it's important. It's important to take a step back, let go of what we're clutching in a white-knuckle grip, and trust God with it. Here's to loosening our grasp together! *raises sword*

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  7. Stress is such a parasite! You did a good job with finding the roots to the issue, fear and control. It's a bit of a struggle for me, learning to release it all- but I know I'll be better off without it.

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    1. PARASITE. What a great word picture! Oh man, it's a struggle for all of us. Letting go is so much harder than it sounds. (And my problem is that even when I do release control, I'm quick to snatch it back up again.)

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  8. Aww, this is something I struggle with a lot. Beautiful post, Tracey. <3

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  9. This was SO good, Tracey! And it was super timely, too - life has been a wee bit insane on my end (*cough* school + NaNo + LIFE *cough*), and I have a feeling that it's just going to get busier! So THANK YOU for this lovely post *nods*.

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you! Oh gosh, school, NaNo, life...sounds like a crazy mix already. Take it one day at a time--one hour at a time, if you have to. XD You got this, girl!

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  10. I think you're quite right about this. The standby for me on this subject is always Matthew 6:25-34.

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    1. Very relevant passage, Patrick! Worry and stress are just about synonymous. I just reread that Scripture now, and I love how the Voice translation says it. "So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today."

      (By the way, none of your comments have been notifying be my email for some odd reason, so I don't see them until I actually check my posts. I'll have to look into that...)

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    2. (Argh, a typo. That's supposed to be notifying me by email.)

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    3. Yeah, it's weird. I actually get an email saying that it failed to email the blog owner whenever I comment. It's probably something on my end.

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    4. Yes, I don't know what you did, but I got an email notification for your last comment. Thank you!

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  11. Your last few posts have really helped me. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts!

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    1. Really? I'm so glad! You're amazing, Skye. ^_^

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  12. I can always use this kind of reminder! Worry is never fun or helpful. :P And you're 100% right that usually, we can cut back on whatever's sapping our time. Thanks, Tracey! Your posts are always so amazing!

    (By the way, I've tagged you for the Dual Character Inquisition Tag over at Tangle Webs and Fairy Rings. Not to give you one more thing to stress about, haha, but just in case it looks fun.) :)

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    1. Can't we all? :) It's true, we often don't realize how much time we waste in a day (myself included!). Thank you, Lucy!

      (Ooh, how fun! I shall add it to my list of tags to be completed. :D)

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  13. Thanks for this, friend! I hope college/work is going well <33

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    1. Glad you enjoyed! Yes, college and such is humming along--I'm getting even busier as Christmas approaches, but all with good things. How about you?? <3

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