By Lavern Nissley
On August 7 our daughter, Kristen, posted a heartfelt reflection on how she had struggled for years with "a giant to-do list that’s never-ending, meetings, projects, phone calls, photo sessions, events, weddings, deadlines, technical problems, details, filming, strategy, planning, emails, scheduling, customer service, traveling... " She called it "functional chaos" that was choking out time and energy for her marriage and family. Insert your own vocational demands, and you can probably relate, right?
I'm so grateful for the insights Kristen acquired in the midst of suffocating stress.
"I was overwhelmed. I was stressed. I was living in a somehow 'functional' chaos that lasted for years. YEARS. Then - it hit me. If I don’t take control of my own life and schedule instead of letting it control me, who else will? Where will I be in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years down the road? I’ll still be living this day-to-day chaos. I’ll still barely have time to spend with my husband or daughter. I’ll still snap at my daughter because I’m too stressed out and trying to get things done instead of having fun with her, laughing with her, speaking life into her. This is NOT what I want. This is NOT how we are meant to live....”
For Kristen the answer was NOT checking out or cancelling all of her commitments. It came to her through reading about "running after peace" in I Peter 3:10-11. Rather than play the victim and continue a pattern of reactivity, she made a conscious choice to make some positive changes.
"Yep. That was it. I knew I needed to chase after peace in my life, no matter what that looked like. So... I started simplifying, creating schedule boundaries, creating project boundaries, saying no to things (this is actually incredibly difficult for me!), creating space for thinking and creativity, and protecting my time with God, with my husband, with my daughter and my time to love and serve others - and let me tell you.... I can honestly say I have more peace and joy now than I think I have ever had in my entire life."
So proud of Kristen's transparency and humility in sharing this for others to experience freedom and peace as well. Her post received over 300 responses, many from people who could so relate to the stress and "functional chaos" she described.
So, what would "running after peace" look like for you? Maybe you were one of the 300+ that responded to Kristen's post on August 7. If so, how has it been for you and what changes have you decided to make? If this is new information for you, where would you like to go?
Read Kristen's entire Facebook post from August 7
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.