7 read-a-long (chapter 7: stress)

Holy cow. We’re on Chapter 7 already?? Time flies when you’re tackling one area of excess per week instead of per month, eh?

Why the long face?? Did you think this was our last week together?? Oh, no, no! We’re coming back next Tuesday to share all the amazing stuff we learned. To PROCESS.

Maybe we should give away some PRIZES. Although we’re trying to get rid of stuff, not accumulate more, right?

I know! Maybe each read-a-long participant could give away something fun on her (or his) blog! (let me think about this one–I have a habit of spewing out fun ideas without giving them proper thought first)


Chapter 7. Stress. I have to smile when I think about God’s higher ways. Like, say, getting a never-slow-down kind of girl to slooooooooow dooooooooown by allowing her happy little world to come to a screeching halt. I eliminated quite a bit of stress from my life in the past couple months, not by choice but by necessity.

And God totally used those many, many moments of quiet and desperation and tears and whathaveyou to bring me closer to him. No joke.

I’ll admit, when I first read this chapter, I just wasn’t feeling it. Too slow. Too deliberate. Too much contemplation, not enough action.

Yes, I see my problem.

I’m going to re-read it with renewed perspective now, from the other side of a forced fast from do-do-doing and go-go-going.

And our church is going through a 4-week series on prayer right now. Perfect timing. Pastor Rich gave us a CD to listen to (called the Prayer Experience), and I played it today on my 20-minute drive (alone!!) to visit a dear friend. I prayed my heart out to God all the way to her house.

Then we had a 2+ hour chat that felt like 2 minutes. We talked fast and covered just about everything. It was just what I needed.

And I prayed my heart out the whole way home. It was amazing.

I’m asking God to help me find the balance between spending sweet, quiet time with him and doing the many things (serving, ministering, writing, blessing, advocating) I know he’s laid on my heart to do.

How about some low-stress discussion questions today?

1. What’s something you feel burdened to pray about today?

2. What’s something causing you stress that you could use prayer for today?

22 thoughts on “7 read-a-long (chapter 7: stress)

  1. Pingback: Marla Taviano » update on ava

  2. Andrea

    I did not post early in the week which is good and bad. It means I had a lot going on and was fairly stressed, but it also means I did not press myself to finish reading and writing so early this week. Good sign of growth for me. It seemed like every message I heard this week was regarding the same Sabbath rest and intentional pauses of devotion and prayer. The Night Watch struck such a chord with me. My thoughts are posted as link 10–A Sabbath Life. This was by far my favorite chapter and though I found plenty of words to say, I know it impacted more and I will certainly refer back and reread it over and over.

  3. Tonia

    Fasting. Good ol’ fashioned fasting. I’ve never done it and would like to start doing it to help with my prayer life and just overall self-control, which clearly only comes from God’s intervention in my life. I’m needing to pray about fasting. When, how, why of it all?

    I’d love some prayer about it as well, because I’m really feeling my feet dragging here.

  4. Carla

    Kinda sad this is the last chapter. Honestly, I plan to go back and re-read the entire book. I know, I am a glutton for punishment. 🙂

    When I worked full-time, I was the queen of stress but now that I am a SAHM, I think my stress has just morphed into anxiety and fears. The funny thing is that they are all over things that I have absolutely no control over so SURRENDER is definitely a word (and action) I need to practice more.

    So, the thing that I have the most anxiety about right now in my life is my upcoming trip to Rwanda in June. I’m not scared about safety, the food we will eat and I’ve even come to accept that there will be mosquitoes. What I fear/know is that this trip will change me forever and scared to death of what’s next but its a GOOD kind of scared.

    I do have a peace about surrendering it to GOD because He is definitely the one leading me there and beyond.

    1. Sharon


      The way you described your stress now that you are a SAHM is exactly how I feel now that I’m out of the working world. Anxiety and fears.

      I’m totally bummed that we’ve finished the book, but, I too intend to read it again.

  5. Lori Mercer

    Blog giveaway – great idea! What fun!

    Stress – Check! (but managing I think…)

    Prayer request….. I’m feeling strongly led out of corporate world. I feel I am not “living a life worthy of my calling” Eph 4:1 here. So I’m praying for clear signs, a clear mission and purpose and a business model that follows. Plus corresponding adjustments for my husband and family as we hopefully transition into a new lifestyle.

    And I don’t know why yet but my dear friend from college, Allison, has been on my mind a ton lately. Definitely saying prayers for her.

    Sorry so quick for the moment. I will be back during soccer practice waiting time to read what everyone wrote!!!

    Thanks Marla!

  6. HopefulLeigh

    Wellllll, I liked this chapter the most, actually! I’ve been slowly adding more contemplative practices to my life, trying to be mindful of the practice of rest and how I connect with God. I loved the idea of the pauses and the purpose behind them.

    I have been very angsty/moody the last few days, as if all my insecurities are rising to the surface at once. This is possibly because I’m launching a new blog series tomorrow about that very thing. I’m just so dang sick of being weighed down by the same junk. And this is where I see how the Pauses could do me a world of good, helping me to center on the things I should be focusing on instead of myself. Perhaps then I could actually work on writing my query and the guest posts that are due soon, as well as not feel so overwhelmed as to want to cancel all the plans I’d previously looked forward to.

  7. brooke

    a week ago i would have told you i wasn’t stressed. depressed maybe, but what does a woman who works full time, just finished training for a marathon, and has a 2400 sq foot house to clean/maintain have to be stressed about? okay so that’s today me asking. last week me would have put it a bit differently.

    that was before, on heading to vacation (okay just a long weekend in Cincy) i SCREAMED at my 7 year old niece and 3 year old nephew to shut up. as i was shaking, i tried to log into my husband’s smartphone internet to check on a bill that i was almost certain i hadn’t paid.

    seeing on the screen that i had paid it didn’t do anything to comfort me, and i burst into tears. slowly over the past few months my life has started to leave the carefully controlled structure I have for it, and i’m not sure how to return it from chaos to order.

    the fact that something so superficial upset me so much, proves i’m a bit too tightly wound.

    not going to be able to do a post today (doctor’s appointment/day off, but instead of cleaning house i’m still in bed chilling – BAD BROOKE!) but look forward to reading what everyone else has to say tomorrow.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Surrender. That’s the word that just popped in my head. In my personal experience, I can do everything in my power to bring order to my chaos, and it just makes things worse. I have to go COMPLETELY against my nature, and just give it to God. Sooooo hard, and I wish it wasn’t always my last resort, but yeah.

      1. brooke

        when one book title jumps out at me from a full shelf of books i’ve never read, i’m pretty sure that’s God talking to me. the title this morning? “A Confident Heart” I’m pretty sure its one you sent me, but I almost cried when I read just the title of the chapter called “Because God’s love is perfect, I don’t have to be”

          1. brooke

            had to tell Jay to shut up or go sit in the car (that one was totally justified) but over all it went well. the 7 year old enjoyed it better (but perhaps that was because she got to ride in a wheel chair all day because she’d thrown up in the van) but the 3 year old enjoyed the Cincy Museum better. I suspect at this stage in his life the Almighty doesn’t rank quite as high as Thomas the Tank Engine and various other trains.

        1. Lori

          Surrender and “A Confident heart”. Perfect! I have been looking for something Godly around confidence. Brooke – your reply made me smile because I’ve totally been there. I think that runners can be wound a little tight in general….and I’m speaking from experience here 🙂

          1. brooke

            in the spirit of the chicken/egg debate – which came first? do you think that us tightly wound individuals are drawn to running because it gives us a physical and mental release? or do you think we’re use to specific result that running provides and we want it for the other areas in our lives too?

            when the doctor benched me for a few months I was a wreck!!

  8. Sharon

    I just wasn’t feeling it with this chapter, either, to be honest. But, I LOVE the idea of each person doing a blog giveaway. Hmm, now to figure out what of the 800,000 things I should part ways with that I would giveaway….

          1. Marla Taviano

            Ticket to Ride! We borrowed it from a friend, but when the price goes down on Amazon, we’re going to buy it. I knew I was saving my V-day gift card for something!

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