The waitress was hovering over us, anxious to run our credit cards. It was obvious that her shift was ending and she was ready to go home. At least I thought so, instead she told us that her shift was ending, but that only meant she was on her way to her next job. There was a time when sociologists thought that we would soon be working a three or four day work week. Experts believed that we would have an abundance of leisure time. The greatest fear was that we would need direction in how to make use of that extra time.
I haven’t met many people who fit that description. In fact, most people I know are working more hours a week than was the norm in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Somewhere, expectations in the work place changed. Managers discovered that quality controls would increase their productivity. Others decided to push their employees to the maximum they could get out of each person. Profits increased at the expense of numbers of workers. When the economy fell apart in 2008, more and more employees found themselves taking on work to make up for fewer people. Others simply found that wages didn’t keep up with inflation, creating a need for an another job. All of this translated into extra hours at work and fewer hours at home.
Not only have expectations changed in the work place . . . they have also increased the stress load of average people. Today’s workplace is filled with stresses, false assumptions and heavy expectations. Add to that daily stresses from family and friends and you get people overburdened and weighted down.
The words from Kelly Willard’s Cares Chorus have been rippling through my mind lately.
“I cast all my cares upon You
I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet
And any time I don’t know what to do
I will cast all my cares upon You”
I’ve found that my greatest stress reliever is the time I spend getting in touch with God. There God’s peace and healing have a chance to calm and quiet my soul. What looks overwhelming in one moment becomes doable in the next. That space with God helps to set priorities . . . allows room to clarify directions, to set limits and to put order in life. Setting aside time to reflect upon our life . . . it’s stresses, it’s joys and it’s workload allows us to look at our life and see if the direction we are going is in keeping with our deepest values and beliefs. So today, pause – take some deep breaths and simply allow God to touch your stress points, guide your priorities and renew your spirit.
“Cast all your anxiety on God, because God cares for you.” I Peter 5:7