Here they are: four lies that lead to stress — and the truth that will make life a little more relaxing:
1. It will be easier to do it tomorrow.
The truth is, the longer we wait, the harder it is to get ourselves to do things. Here’s why: Every time we start thinking about that “horrible job,” our minds start cranking out negative thoughts: I hate that job. It’s so hard. It takes forever.
We put it off, but we can’t help thinking about it. And whenever we do, we add more thoughts to the list. By the time we reach the “I have to do it or else” point, that stack of negative thoughts is so high, it threatens to topple us.
It’s much easier to do the job when the stack is only one thought high.
For a great advice on overcoming procrastination, listen to Rory Vaden on the EntreLeadership podcast.
2. This has to be perfect.
Saying this has to be perfect is like saying, “I have to go to the moon tomorrow.” It’s impossible.
On my app (Or I Deserve a Donut And Other Lies That Make You Eat) I ask the question, “What does perfection look like in this case?” and “Are you capable of making that happen?” For some strange reason, these questions help me relax. Knowing that I’ll never be perfect helps me let go of the feeling that I have to be perfect.
3. I have to get every single thing on the list done right now this very minute.
One of my biggest stressors is my tendency to see the whole, huge, overwhelming list in one fell swoop. Kari Scare tells us how to solve this problem: “Just do what’s next.”
This works. When I turn a blind eye to the rest of the list and think, “Just do what’s next, Barb,” I immediately relax. I may not be capable of doing the whole list, but I am capable of doing the next thing on the list.
4. If I don’t get this done, “x” will happen—and that will be terrible!
“X” is usually all encompassing. For example: If I don’t finish this paper, I’ll fail the class, and I’ll never get into my profession, and I will be miserable for the rest of my life.
Of course, we don’t spell it out in our minds that far, but our thoughts are definitely gloomy. The truth is, it won’t be the end of the world if we don’t get into the profession. Yes, we can try harder, and give it another attempt. But even if we fail, life will be good.
Why? Because we don’t have to live our dreams. If life is about God, then He’s our dream. And if we have our main dream, do we really need our secondary dream?
The bottom line is that the more we make life about God, the greater life is.
Even when our list is a mile long.
P.S. For those of you who don’t have an iPhone or iPod, I will try to get the I Deserve a Donut questions and Bible verses out in another form in the next couple of months. (I just have to keep telling myself the truth so I can get it done!) (Update: 9/7/13 – should be out in paperback the end of this month.)
Discussion: What lies cause you to feel overwhelmed? What do you do when you’re overwhelmed?