Friday, November 21, 2014

Life Lessons—Sometimes Life REALLY Gets In The Way

by Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

Lately I’ve been feeling a lot of stress. This is nothing new to anyone who writes. But I mean a lot of stress.

Here is just a sampling:
  • A honey-do list longer than Santa’s.
  • Neighborhood problems that cause me concern for the safety of our residents, especially my wife.
  • Two recall notices on my car.
  • Trees that have grown so large their shade is killing my lawn. But the weeds love it.
  • A hole in the bathroom wall screaming for attention.
  • Four bedrooms, one hallway and one stairway that need carpets re-stretched.
  • A sloped lot with extreme erosion issues and a budget that requires my doing all the work.
  • A need to hand dig a trench and install a French Drain while nursing pulled back and chest muscles.
  • Other health challenges that require extensive research and prayer.
  • And just to make it interesting, I decided to write 50,000 words in 20 days.
But enough about me. What do you think of my situation?

Truthfully, we all face a great deal of stress in our daily lives. Some put on us by circumstance, some by our own agendas. And if you’re like me, most stress does not make for good writing.

So what can we do?

At times like this, I turn to God. Experience has taught me that following His lead results in an overwhelming sense of peace. Then comes a better understanding of my situation, followed by clear direction, which most often includes rearranging my priorities. Even eliminating some.

Tips to Conquer an Overloaded Schedule
1. Pray. If we don't start here, the rest is infinitely more difficult.
2. Spend time really thinking about what you need to do versus what you think you should do,
3. Enlist someone to help you decide what's best to cut and how to prioritize the list. 
4. Find an accountability partner to help you stay on track.

After prayerfully reassessing my priorities I've come up with a game plan. 

I need to make these changes:
  • Make the honey-do list my top priority.
  • Let God handle the neighborhood problems, and the safety of all concerned.
  • Work as much as I can, when I can to remedy the yard challenges.
  • Seek Godly counsel on how to best deal with my health concerns and allow others to join me in my prayer war.
  • Drop the goal of writing 50,000 words in 20 days.
When life gets in our way, we need to step back, take a fresh look at our to-do list and decide what’s most important. Some things may take more time than we planned, and some things must wait. Most importantly, God, health and family must be top priorities if we hope to have peace and productivity.

As to my stress, God pointed out that my troubles began when I set my own agenda without first consulting Him. But He’s given me grace and an inner tranquility that doesn’t make sense—and I’m loving it. The Lord has assured me He will take care of the things I can’t change. And He will help me with those I can, as long as I start each day in conversation with Him, waiting for His direction.

In fact, this post is a good example of His showing me what to do and when to do it. The thought of meeting with my critique group today without a submission pressured me to cry out to Him. You’re reading the result.

What stresses are you facing now? How are you handling them? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Life stress adds to #writing stress - tips to cope when life gets in the way - via @BruceDBrady on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Tips to cope when life gets in the way - via @BruceDBrady on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Bruce Brady is an author, writer and playwright. His work has appeared in Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family,, and on stage. Currently, Bruce is working on a Young Adult Novel about a boy who must deal with the death of his dad, being bullied, and helping his mom through her grief. His first five pages took third place in the ACFW South Carolina Chapter’s “First Five Pages” contest.

When he’s not writing, Bruce spends time learning from and helping other writers. He serves as Mentor of Word Weavers International’s Online Chapter, and as a member of Cross ‘N’ Pens, The Writer’s Plot, ACFW’s National and South Carolina Chapters.

“My dream is to entertain my readers and give them hope as they travel the rocky road of life.”


  1. you Bruce! My husband could relate to almost everything you wrote except the writing part. :) I'll be praying for you. And I'm sharing this with my man so he won't feel alone in this busy world anymore (and because you decided to put the 'honey-do-list' on the top. :) ~andy

    1. Thanks Andy. Please assure him there's life after "honey-do"

  2. Great article, Bruce! I love the "...honey-do list longer than Santa's...." After all, we ALL know Santa has a huge to-do list right now. :-) Perfect visual!

    1. Thanks Vonda. I'd give him some competition but I've lost a few pounds recently.

  3. Thanks, Bruce! I needed that reminder that it's OKAY and right to "step back, take a fresh look at our to-do list and decide what's most important...some things must wait...and God, health and family must be top priorities." And also to not forget that I must be in consultation with our LORD for direction for our days. Life overwhelming? YES! But God has eternal purposes that I cannot always see. God bless. :)

    1. Thanks Rene, being human we all have a tendency to get caught up in our agendas and turn to God only when we feel overwhelmed. There are times I wish He would revoke my free-will. But I'm glad He doesn't.

  4. Bruce, I love the fact that you let go of the things you really can't control and listened to what God wanted you to do. That's inspiring! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks Mary. I'm learning slowly but I'm learning. There's hope for us all.

  5. Bruce, a very good word! I've tweeted it.
    Elva Cobb Martin, President ACFW-SC

    1. Thanks Elva. I appreciate the share almost as much as I appreciate you.

  6. Yes and amen! Add in the holiday season and you've got stress overload! I'm so bad about letting myself get overwhelmed. I have to do just as you have suggested. Step back. Connect with the Lord and ask Him to show me what takes priority and what is distraction. The enemy truly knows this is a way to derail me so I have to keep my guard up. Great post and reminder, Bruce!

    1. Thanks Paula. The enemy is great about dumping the pressure on us at the most inopportune times. I know the Lord will bless your turning to Him and I'm praying He does so soon.

  7. Never could understand why NaNo happens in one of the busiest and shortest months of the year. lol.
    I feel your pain. I have two books due in April and no idea for one and just realized the 50 k I've written has a fatal flaw. :-)

    1. Thanks Patricia. I'm sure the solution to the fatal flaw will come to you if you just step back a little. I'm with you on about when NaNo is held. However, it reminds me of some corporate training I went through where the greatest amount of pressure in a minimum amount of time. If you make it through, you feel you can accomplish anything. God bless your writing.

  8. Article was so timely for me Bruce. I have found that most of the stress I feel is in my head. I make a to-do list daily and get over whelmed. If I really look at the list it can be done in a couple of hours, yet some days it will freeze me so I don't do a thing. Yucky. God is with you on this one and prayers are being said for you.