North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

A ninety year-old man would often sit in his parked car on the main street of his town and watch people rushing here and there. He had been fiercely independent throughout his life and held as his goal to make as much money as he could. He was indeed a wealthy man, but now he found himself lonely. He regretted not taking time for the simple things and sharing his possessions with friends and the family he never took time to nurture.
We determine what we value most by the way we spend our time. What is it in your life that causes you to worry? Is there something that’s causing you to lose peace within yourself? Are you reaching and searching for something to fill that ever present void inside your heart? Some people have anxiety because they’re lonely or in financial need. Almost everyone has something specific that causes them to worry. Anxiety can enter our lives with the loss of a spouse or a parent. The death of a loved one or a divorce, which can seem like a death, can destroy feelings of self-worth. For some, anxiety comes as they’re trying to handle the experiences of day-to-day living. For still others, raising children is an anxious time. I’ve known people to worry themselves sick about things that “might” happen; loss of health, sufficient income, friends, and life. It’s true, losses occur every day and we worry that one or more might strike us.
Life can seem like a roller coaster when difficult decisions need to be made. It’s easy to let the world upset you because life is hard. Much of what we see by way of commercials and entertainment promotes the idea that this life is all there is. We stay in perpetual motion always having to do something; trying to satisfy our physical wants for the moment. The Bible says, “That’s why I tell you not to worry about everyday life, whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food and your body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25).
What we can actually see of life is a mere sketch. Life is much deeper and more involved than we can see in all of our present moments. We’re always tempted to get caught up in the chaos of society or to lash-out at the criticism and judgments people place on us. “Handle with care” the things people say about you. You are ultimately accountable to God. Let your response to others be tactful, short, and respectful. We are called to recognize that life is more than what we see taking place on the physical level. When we acknowledge that, we have taken the first step toward avoiding an anxiety-riddled perception about our physical needs.
Let me offer four suggestions that when practiced consistently, will help you when dealing with the issues of worry, anxiety, and stress:
First, be aware of your priorities and live by them. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed by chaos, obligations, and relationships. Everything doesn’t have to be completed immediately, but should be held to manageable levels. It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and to panic. Those feelings take a lot of energy and will drain you to the point where you’re only able to accomplish very little. Make a list of the things you have to do and prioritize.
Secondly, discover your limitations and live realistically within those boundaries. Recognizing your limitations is not a way of putting yourself down. It’s a way to set realistic parameters for your life. Concentrate on your strengths and work hard at them. With a sense of your limitations and strengths you can do some realistic goal-setting. By doing this you can determine your direction in life and begin developing a plan to get where you want to go.
Third, practice a stress-reducing discipline every day. Managing stress is very important and personal in nature. The best relaxation technique is the one that works best for you as long as it’s healthy. There are a number of things you can do that can be useful in reducing stress. Prayer can be one of those things. If not given attention, worry and anxiety will flood your mind and leave no room for the things that you can draw strength from. Focus and draw upon the Higher Power. The Bible says, “He will keep in perfect peace all who trust in Him” (Isaiah 26:2). Many of the stress-related illnesses that you’re prone to, can be minimized if not avoided.
Lastly, build in time for yourself. It’s essential to good mental and physical health to cultivate positive elements into your life. Family, friends, hobbies, and God need to be part of your life. If work and making money is your whole life, you put yourself at risk. Loss of job or a specific income need not be equated with loss of self if you take proper safeguards. Build in time for yourself—listen to music, take a nature walk, read a book, bike. Do something positive for yourself daily. Be encouraged by Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
• This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He’s the author of the “Living With Purpose” book series, “TBH The Truth Will Set You Free”, and “Running With Purpose”. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Jan 4 2015. Filed under Church News, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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