As a Speech-Language Pathologist, just before Christmas can be an extremely busy time in the Rehab and Chronic care hospital where I work. Besides my out-patient responsibilities, I am currently responsible for a chronic floor and a rehab floor, and as Christmas approached, the referrals began to mushroom. At one point, I counted up a total of 70 patients I was responsible for in a single week.

I did everything I could to see them all. I went without lunch. I came in early. I worked late. But no matter what I did, I couldn't get ahead. With the new referrals requiring a significant amount of time, there was no human way I could adequately care for 70 patients in one week. I forgot things. I made mistakes. I just couldn't do it all, and there was no one to help me.

Naturally, between driving "taxi" for my two teens, making Christmas plans, and the normal busy home life of a working mom, there was no relief at home. I cut into my sleep to cope. Now I was trying to do the impossible without enough sleep. No wonder my stomach was in a constant knot and I would cry at the drop of a hat.

I finally approached my manager. I told her how busy I was and that my patients weren't getting adequate care. She was very understanding, but there was no one to ease my burden. I left the meeting in tears. How was I supposed to go on?

All through this, Jesus was continually repeating the same message to me: "Cast all of your burdens on Me." It was great advice, but didn't He know that if I let go of my duties they would only mushroom?

One morning I found myself again driving to work in tears. I had to pick up my son from school that evening, which meant I would be home later than usual. I had tried to tell my family to have supper (that I had pre-prepared) ready because I would only have about 15 minutes before leaving for my evening responsibilities, but no one would listen. I knew they were carrying their own stresses, but why couldn't they listen to my one little tiny concern? Didn't they know they were only adding to MY stress?

God reminded me that morning of several important Truths:

1. "My God will provide for ALL your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:19)

2. "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Cor. 10:13)

3. "I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength." (Phil 4:13)

I meditated on these for the rest of my drive, and I felt a bit better as I entered my office. Until I saw the mountain of work I had left on my desk from the previous day, that is, and as I sat down to do a quick email check before heading up to the floor to observe breakfasts, the tears began to flow anew.

Every morning there is a prayer read over the intercom of the Catholic hospital where I work. It was the prayer of St. Francis this morning, and though I was in the middle of something, I felt compelled to drop everything and really listen:

"O Divine Master. Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life." (The Prayer of St. Francis)

Suddenly I understood my problem. I was focussing on my own needs, and the fact that I could do nothing about them only worsened the stress. By focussing on the needs of others, I give God free reign in my life to provide for all of my needs, to take care of my stress!

Wow.

The tears flowed anew, but this time they were healing tears. As I cried, I could feel the stress, the anger, and feelings of loss of control, all wash away, leaving me feeling not only peaceful, but joyful!

This was true stress relief!

It was a good day. I put my emphasis on serving others, and not only did I accomplish a lot, but I made a difference in the lives of my patients. I left work feeling refreshed and at peace.

But that's not all. I learned before leaving work that I didn't need to pick up my son from school after all. I arrived home 30 minutes earlier than expected, and supper was ready and waiting on the table. I actually had time to enjoy my dinner, make lunches for the next day, and do the dishes before having to leave for my evening responsibilities.

Why was it a good day? Because I let God take care of my needs so that I would be freed up to care for the needs of others!

Friends, when you focus on the needs of others rather than on yourself, God will take care of you! He is faithful! Was it for nothing that He, Himself, told us to: "Come unto me all you who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28)?

Take Him at His word! Focus your efforts on the needs of others, for in so doing, you move out of the way enough that God can carry you!

It's TRUE stress relief!

In His love,

Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Speech-Language Pathologist, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org , with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .