Stress is the fruit of complexity. As leaders, we are prone to take on too much because we often fall into the trap of underestimating the challenge and overestimating our margins. All plans seem to work well on paper. The plans we write on paper are two dimensional and usually have well defined margins. The plans we implement are three dimensional with margins that begin to blur. That third dimension is made up of people, budgets, timelines and the unexpected that don’t care about our margins.
There is great wisdom in working toward simplifying our lives by keeping the “main thing” the main thing. When we take on too much we enter “the danger zone of over-promising and under-delivering”. It’s essential for us to harness our driven agendas and recommit our focus toward doing the right things, for the right reasons and with the right priorities. We must protect our margins in the third dimension. Ponder these words of wisdom and perspective from Solomon:
By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil. When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them. Better to have little, with godliness, than to be rich and dishonest. We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:6b-9 NLT)
Reduce stress by keeping it simple. Focus on resting in God’s plan for your life. By putting Him first and setting all other priorities and goals in the context of eternity, you lay the foundation for contentment. When we align ourselves with God’s purpose and priorities for our life, everything else supernaturally aligns with that.
Keeping life simple in this way will significantly reduce your worry and stress because it prevents you from overextending yourself and reaching for too much. Look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. Take time today to evaluate where you are on the “complexity vs. simplicity” scale. Would you be more likely to describe yourself as being in “Rest” or in “Stress”?
As your Heavenly Father, God wants His best for you. Why would you want anything else? Solomon’s advice is very simple yet profound: “Fear the Lord, avoid evil, please the Lord, enjoy peace, pursue godliness, and follow God’s plan for you.” It really is that simple!
Let me encourage you to create some margin today to just be quiet and reflect. Turn down the noise in your life and ask God to reveal what He has planned for you today, then listen…really listen. It’s pretty amazing to witness the great things God has in store for you and your team when you align yourself with His plan. You’ll avoid stress and find rest in God’s best. Slow down, create margin and keep it simple!