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Running Nowhere in Every Direction: On Stress

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Overview

Discover what God has to say about the stress in your life-your schedule, expectations, limits, happiness, and much more. Women will find encouragement and insight to stop running nowhere and start walking somewhere with God.
- 8 lessons

Details

  • SKU: 9781576838365
  • SKU10: 1576838366
  • Title: Running Nowhere in Every Direction: On Stress
  • Series: Real Life Stuff for Women
  • Publisher: Navpress Publishing Group
  • Pages: 127
  • Weight lbs: 0.34
  • Dimensions: 8.26" L x 5.62" W x 0.34" H
  • Features: Table of Contents, Bibliography
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical; Sex & Gender | Feminine;
  • Category: WOMEN
  • Subject: Christian Life - Women's Issues

Chapter Excerpt


Chapter One

my schedule

the beginning place

Take a moment to think about your schedule. Grab that first reaction - when you read the word schedule, did you shut your eyes and wince? Hold your breath or let out a deep sigh? Feel like throwing this book across the room? Smile about the great plans you have to look forward to today?

Chances are that if you're married with children, you spend a lot of time shuttling kids here and there, or getting them ready to be shuttled. Laundry, meals, Back-to-School Night - your to-do list goes on and on, and that doesn't even count what your husband needs from you. Maybe on top of taking care of your family you've got a paying job because without your income, the mortgage wouldn't get paid. Wouldn't life be easier if you were single?

If you're single, you're probably shouting No! You work full-time, and unless you have a great roommate, nobody's sharing the bills, errands, and household chores with you. You're on your own, and you feel it. Furthermore, unless you can survive practically and emotionally as a hermit, you have to devote at least some time to friends and perhaps to "the quest for the Holy Grail," a decent husband. All this is hard enough if you're single and childless, but if you're a single mom, heaven help you.

So how's it going, really? Please don't say, "Fine." For the duration of this study, drop that word from your vocabulary. It's too easy to say, "I'm fine," when you're not, to say your schedule isn't that bad. If you're exhausted, scared, frustrated, unhappy, please say so. Or if you're challenged, excited, well-rested, and motivated, say that, too.

Use the space below to summarize your beginning place for this lesson. Describe the reality of your schedule as well as your dreams. We'll start here and then go deeper.

read the end of a loooong day

From the Today's Christian Woman article "Not Tonight, Dear ." by Jill Eggleton Brett

I'd returned from running errands one afternoon when I walked into the house and saw my husband give me "The Look." The screen door banged behind me as my twin preschoolers ran over to me and wrapped themselves around each leg, squealing with delight. As I reached down to hug them, my husband gave me his signature shake of the head and said, "Hey, honey ." And I, as usual, rolled my eyes as I peeled the girls off my legs. If your husband's anything like mine, you know what the "dot, dot, dot" means. Those little punctuation marks come at the most inconvenient times! I mean, come on, I'd just picked up the dry cleaning, bought his cousin a wedding gift, found new shoes for our twins, shopped for his favorite food for dinner that night. And now this - another chore. I was cranky and still had laundry to do. Not to mention I could hear my pillow calling in the distance. But God had some lessons for me that night, and many more nights to follow. As I continued to shrug off my husband's sexual advances, tension continued to build. I grew colder, and he continually felt rejected. It was time to face the facts: I didn't want to have sex. I was too busy, too tired, and flat out didn't have the desire. I had two little people calling my name all day, wiping their noses on my pants, and vying for their turn on my lap. When the twins' bedtime arrived, I wanted personal space.

From The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger

"How could you do this to me?" she hissed as she pushed me through Runway's reception-area doors and we hurtled together back to our desks. "As the senior assistant, I am responsible for what goes on in our office. I know you're new, but I've told you from the very first day: we do not leave Miranda unattended." "But Miranda's not here." It came out as a squeak.

"But she could've called while you were gone and no one would've been here to answer the . phone!" she screamed as she slammed the door to our suite. "Our first priority - our only priority - is Miranda Priestly. Period. And if you can't deal with that, just remember that there are millions of girls who would die for your job. Now check your voice mail. If she called, we're dead. You're dead." I wanted to crawl inside my iMac and die. How could I have screwed up so badly during my very first week? Miranda wasn't even in the office and I'd already let her down. So what if I was hungry? It could wait. There were genuinely important people trying to get things done around here, people who depended on me, and I'd let them down. I dialed my mailbox. "Hi, Andy, it's me." Alex. "Where are you? I've never heard you not answer. Can't wait for dinner tonight - we're still on, right? ." I'd immediately felt guilty, because I'd already decided after the whole lunch debacle that I'd rather reschedule. My first week had been so crazy that we'd barely seen each other, and we'd made a special plan to have dinner that night, just the two of us. But I knew it wouldn't be any fun if I fell asleep in my wine, and I kind of wanted a night to unwind and be alone.

think

· How is your story like or unlike these stories? · What stresses in your life come from children? · What stresses come from paid work? What about from unpaid work (at home or volunteering)? · What stresses stem from your husband, boyfriend, or lack thereof?

pray Lord, please help me face .

read tell me how you really feel

Job 7:1-4

Human life is a struggle, isn't it? It's a life sentence to hard labor. Like field hands longing for quitting time and working stiffs with nothing to hope for but payday, I'm given a life that meanders and goes nowhere - months of aimlessness, nights of misery! I go to bed and think, "How long till I can get up?" I toss and turn as the night drags on - and I'm fed up!

Psalm 6:1-7

Please, God, no more yelling, no more trips to the woodshed. Treat me nice for a change; I'm so starved for affection.

Can't you see I'm black and blue, beat up badly in bones and soul? God, how long will it take for you to let up?

Break in, God, and break up this fight; if you love me at all, get me out of here. I'm no good to you dead, am I? I can't sing in your choir if I'm buried in some tomb!

I'm tired of all this - so tired. My bed has been floating forty days and nights On the flood of my tears. My mattress is soaked, soggy with tears. The sockets of my eyes are black holes; nearly blind, I squint and grope.

think

· How, if at all, do you identify with the words of Job? How about with the psalmist? · What do you typically do when you feel "starved for affection"? · How do you imagine God responding to the psalmist? To Job? · How easy is it for you to complain to God about your life? Why do you suppose that's the case?

pray Father, what I most long for from you is .

read too many worlds, too little time

From The Connecting Church, by Randy Frazee

One of the underlying problems of the Johnsons and most people who live in the average American suburb (or international equivalent) is that they have too many worlds to manage. There are too many sets of relationships that do not connect with each other but all require time to maintain. Bob and Karen simply do not have enough time and energy to invest in each world of relationships in order to extract a sense of belonging and meaning for their lives. Just think of the many disconnected worlds the Johnsons have to maintain: their own family, two places of work, church, a small group, the children's sports teams, the children's schools, extended family out of town, and neighbors. If we were to delve further into the Johnsons' lifestyle, we would discover many other worlds as well - old friends from high school and college, the last place they lived, and other relationship circles at church (for example, the women's Bible study group and the Mission Committee of which they are both members) If a true and workable solution is to emerge, it must involve a radical restructuring of our lifestyle. At the core of this restructuring is a new operating principle for living: In order to extract a deeper sense of belonging, we must consolidate our worlds into one The mission is to simplify our lifestyles in such a way that we concentrate more energy into a circle of relationships that produces a sense of genuine belonging. While this in no way suggests that we should be so narrow in our scope as to cut significant people out of our lives, it does reinforce the commonsense notion that we can go deeper with less to manage, and we must find a way to do this.

think

· Make a list of the different worlds you have to maintain. · To what degree do these worlds overlap? How does that affect the amount of time you spend with each person? How does it affect the depth of your relationships? · How would your life be different if you had fewer worlds to maintain? For example, if your children's school friends and church friends knew each other? · How do you respond to the idea of concentrating more energy into a circle of relationships that gives you a sense of genuinely belonging with those people? Does this mission seem desirable? Achievable? Wrongheaded? What makes you say that? · What forces in your life make it hard to reduce the number of different worlds you have to juggle?

pray God, the challenges I'm dealing with here are .

read a really rough lifestyle

2 Corinthians 11:24-33

I've worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death's door time after time. I've been flogged five times with the Jews' thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I've been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I've had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I've been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I've known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that's not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones. When someone is duped into sin, an angry fire burns in my gut. If I have to "brag" about myself, I'll brag about the humiliations that make me like Jesus. The eternal and blessed God and Father of our Master Jesus knows I'm not lying. Remember the time I was in Damascus and the governor of King Aretas posted guards at the city gates to arrest me? I crawled through a window in the wall, was let down in a basket, and had to run for my life.

think

· What goes through your mind when you read the apostle Paul's description of his life? · Do you ever play "My impossible schedule is worse than yours" with your friends or family? Why do you suppose some of us tend to brag about our stressed-out lives? · Among many other trials, Paul mentions hard work, hard travel, struggles with friends and foes, betrayals by those close to him, and anxiety for others. Describe your experiences with any of these. · What does Paul's account of his life motivate you to do? Work harder? Thank God that your life isn't so bad? Feel guilty? Why do you suppose that's the case? · What do you think about Paul's determination to "brag about the humiliations that make [him] like Jesus"?

pray Lord, thank you .

LIVE

what i want to discuss

What have you discovered this week that you definitely want to discuss with your small group? Write that here. Then begin your small-group discussion with these thoughts.

so what?

Use the following space to summarize the truths you uncovered about your schedule, how you feel about it, and where you need to begin in dealing with your situation. Review your "Beginning Place" if you need to remember where you began. How does God's truth affect the next step in your journey?

now what? What is one practical thing you can do to respond to what you discovered? What concrete action can you take? Remember to think realistically - an admirable but unreachable goal is as good as no goal. Discuss your goal in your small group to further define it.

how?

How can your group - or even one other person - help you follow through with the goal you described? What support do you need? (Sure, you're Superwoman, but .) How will you measure the success of your plan? Write the details here.

(Continues.)

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