I know all about feeling overwhelmed. I wasted many years hoping things would calm down. I used to complain to God about my schedule being absolutely insane. I'd cry, "God, how could anyone be expected to do all that I have to do?"
Then it hit me: I was the one who made my schedule and nobody could change it but me! I could no longer spend time wishing things were different because wishing wouldn't change anything.
I prayed for God to change me and my approach to life. I learned that He wanted me to simplify so that, ultimately, He could be glorified.
Jesus said He came so we might have and enjoy our lives in abundance (see John 10:10). His principles are simple. Faith is simple.
Trusting God is simple. A childlike approach to Him is simple, and His plan of salvation is too.
Jesus offers us a "new way of living," and I believe it is a simple, yet powerful way that enables us to enjoy everyday life. Since I began this pursuit for simplicity, I have discovered many ways to simplify my life, and one of them involves doing away with unrealistic expectations of others and myself.
Unrealistic expectations can quickly steal our peace and joy. We usually visualize a perfect day, with perfect people, and ourselves being perfectly happy in our perfect little world, but we all know that isn't reality. What is real is that only God is perfect and the rest of us are under construction.
The devil knows what steals our peace and he sets us up to get upset. Instead of freaking out when things don't go exactly the way you planned, why not plan for some "boo-boos"?
In the last three days, I have broken a dish (that was new), spilled water out of a humidifier all over the floor, dropped the container of dog food and worked at trying to keep my dog out of it while I picked it up, and had four keys made for a door and none of them worked! I could probably think of more if I thought long enough.
These kinds of things once got me very upset. I would huff and puff and murmur and complain and talk about how nothing ever worked out right. None of that stopped those incidents from happening. As a matter of fact, my frustration caused me to lose my focus and create more accidents and mishaps.
After years of letting the devil steal my peace-and I am quite sure laugh at me-I finally got it. Life is not perfect, and things are going to happen that we did not plan for and would rather not have. My new attitude has become, "Oh well, that's life!" I have discovered that if I don't let those things impress me, then they can't depress me.
Everyone has to deal with inconveniences, but we can deal with them and avoid a bad attitude. In fact, life is all about choices. We can choose to do what needs to be done and systematically do it.
It may be tough at first, especially if you haven't been disciplined in the past, but the rewards of order and restraint are worth the effort. The Bible says that discipline brings peaceable fruit (see Heb. 12:11).
Practice living one day at a time; give every part of you to the day at hand. You will sense an awareness enabling you to enjoy the current activity instead of going through each day in a blur that leaves you exhausted. You can begin to enjoy the simple life that God has waiting for you, as well as the eternal blessings that come from trusting His will for your life.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 70 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her most recent, 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life (all FaithWords). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. To read past columns in Charisma by Joyce Meyer, click here.