h1

TOMORROW’S STRESS – Jan 19

January 19, 2015

“But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:16

enr 500I was recently reading the Engineering News-Record (ENR) 2014 listing of the top 500 design firms.   The recognition of the top five firms lists some of the largest engineering corporations in the world.

  1. AECOM Technology Corp., Los Angeles, Calif.
  2. Jacobs, Pasadena, Calif.
  3. URS Corp., San Francisco, Calif
  4. Fluor Corp., Irving, Texas
  5. CH2M HILL, Englewood, Colo

Sadly, my engineering firm did not make the list.

It was not a shock. I did not politely applaud while being overlooked. My firm was not even nominated. We have less annual revenues than most branch offices of these large engineering companies.

I perused in amazement the annual revenues these organizations require. My stomach turns at the scale of those numbers.  I know well the effort to feed revenue to a small consulting organization and I am daunted by the appetite of these mammoth firms.

The engineering profession has not fared well over the last six years. My firm, like many, is only a fraction of the size it once was and we have lost important clients in a hyper-competitive marketplace. We no longer have the backlog of work waiting patiently for us. We no longer have the confidence that shaking the marketing bush a little harder will yield more contracts.

I know well the pangs of a company hungry for revenue. It was not fun. It is not something I want to experience again. Ironically, the desire to avoid one pang can increase what one was trying to initially avoid – stress.

In the business world, we do not identify stress by its origins.

Many business people take pride in their ability to manage stress. It is characterized as strength. It would be an acknowledgment of weakness to actually discuss the origins of stress. Therefore, we cloak our insecurities in a generic category.

When I analyze the burden of my job stress, it reveals that the majority of what I generically call stress can more specifically be described as worry. I worry about how to keep an engineering firm operating. I worry about where the next client will come from. I worry about renewing contracts of existing clients.  I worry about retaining employees.

I am encouraged in the remembrance of Jesus feeding the five thousand. The people needed to be fed. The disciples had no practical way to feed that many hungry mouths. It was a startling lesson of faith.  Jesus gave thanks for what they had and multiplied it to what He knew they needed.

The last few years have proven that I cannot feed enough work into my engineering firm.  However, God can. He knows what we need.  He knows what it takes to keep me and my colleagues employed. He has proven that by keeping us in business when many other firms had to close their doors.

I am reminded by Jesus’ example that I need to be grateful for what I have.

Today, I have work to do. In fact, we have enough work to keep us busy through this coming year. God has been faithful. He has given me continued employment. He has brightened the future.

I am no longer worried about daily allocating a meager workload or weekly finance reports. Now, I find myself worrying about long-term projections – what will happen next year and in three years – what will happen when I need to retire.

How faithless is that?

God knows what we need.
We do not need to be anxious about our lives.

We do not need to worry about what we are going eat… what we are going to drink…what we are going to wear (Matt. 6:31) …how we are going to maintain our lifestyle…how we are going to manage our reputation…or whether our retirement be enough.

God knows what we need. All of those worries are manifestations of unbelief.

English: Jump! Deutsch: Spring!

Yet, those in the first world are among the most stressed – worried – people in the world.

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Mathew 6:32-34)

So, how are we supposed to live?

We all have decisions to make. We must make decisions about careers, employment, and retirement. We must make decisions about what we should spend, save and share. We must respond to changing economics of the world we live within.

However, we do not need to stress – worry – about those decisions. We are not to allow our decisions to be governed by worry.

There are many considerations associated with making a good decision. Stress should not be one of them. A decision made for the primary purpose of alleviating the stress of worry is often a decision made in unbelief. Worry should never have a place in our decision making. It should be a foreign consideration in the life of a believer.

If your decision making revolves around the relief of tomorrow’s worry, then you might be making a decision based in unbelief.

The followers of Christ are supposed to make their decisions based on the kingdom of God and His righteousness. We have been given a wonderful promise. God promises to add all that we need when we seek first His kingdom. It is beyond our control to secure the future. God owns the future.

Many jump from one opportunity to another in an attempt to control the uncertainties of the tomorrow. The sad reality is worry always finds them. We cannot outrun worry.

The unbelief of worry has to be confessed.

J.C. Ryle said:

He offers us a gracious promise, as a remedy against an anxious spirit. He assures us that if we “seek first” and foremost to have a place in the kingdom of grace and glory, everything that we really need in this world shall be given to us. It shall be “added”, over and above our heavenly inheritance. “All things shall work together for good for those who love God.” “He withholds no good thing from those who walk blamelessly.” (Romans 8:28, Psalm 84:11)

The challenge for today is to walk by faith in God’s promise for tomorrow. Today, we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Tomorrow, we trust God to handle.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me of my unbelief.  Forgive me for not trusting in your promises.  Forgive me for trying to control the future.  Thank you for the blessings that you have given me.  Thank you for watching over and caring for me.  Help me to walk in your Spirit and to set my eyes on you and you alone.  You have given me a bright future, because you have made me your child.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

4 comments

  1. Reblogged this on A DEVOTED LIFE and commented:

    I am currently in the business planning for 2016 and find myself in the same stressful place. It is nice to get a little kick in the perspective from your former self.


  2. Thank you, JD, for this timely post with much encouragement. I especially appreciated this gem of advice:”Walk by faith in God’s promise for tomorrow.” I just copied it on a Post-It to display in my workspace!


  3. Reblogged this on The love of God and commented:
    Oh BOY! Today, it was all about having to replace a piece of furniture. I’m having to replace quite a lot over the next few months, due to something I’m having to cope with, every single day, which only ever gets worse and worse. I’m constantly looking for ways to cope with it all, and mostly, failing badly. But I thank God, my Father that, in His wisdom, I was able to move forward with a good decision today. The woman is cast as the weaker creature in our Bible, but many of us are having to live as if we are the men in the household. I can promise you, most of us hate it, because it brings hard decisions we have to make, all alone, with no counsellors.

    Thank God He sent His Holy Spirit to be our counsellor. I would never have made these last few years without Him. What a blessing this page has been.


  4. JD. I seem to specialize in worrying. But God has really been teaching me lately to follow that old adage of taking everything one day at a time. All we are promised is a today. Actually, only a right now! Your words gave me confirmation of the futility in worrying about tomorrow and of the blessed alternative of entrusting everything to God instead. Thanks.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: