Author Tracie Miles explains how she came to write Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace in Your Chaotic World. She was an “up and coming” in the corporate world but her heath was falling apart. She was constantly on the go, attempting to meet incredible demands on her time as well as continue on in her responsibilities as a wife and mother. Eventually she came to the place where she realized that God wanted her to let go of her corporate job as He had another plan for her life. Upon leaving the corporate world she realized just how stressed she was. She writes:
I simply had been too stressed to listen to God. But, now that I was listening, I embraced the realization that I had the potential , in Him and through Him, to once and for all overcome the stronghold stress had held over my life for far too long. Without a shadow of a doubt, I now knew that I needed to focus on making His peace the pattern of my loife instead of living in a pattern of constantly falling in and out of the stress pit every time I experienced life’s ups and downs. When true faith and trust in my Savior became a reality in my heart, living less stressed became a reality in my life. (Chapter 1, Discovering the Real Problem, page 31)
Miles makes heavy use of passages in scripture to back up her arguments and explain to her reading audience how to accomplish the stress-free life. The bottom line, as she correctly assesses, is that we stress because we try to take control over things and play God when we are not God. It is when I don’t want to let go of my plan, my vision, and my wishes than I become stressed. It is when I don’t think God’s plan is good and I do not follow His lead that I feel off kilter. When I hold things loosely, and refuse to clutch on to what I think is the correct thing to have happen, I am at peace and am much more calm in my actions and reactions to life’s events.
Throughout the book, Miles makes the point that God has to be the one in control of our life. We have to trust that He not only knows about the nitty gritty details, but that He also cares about them. We have to trust that He is working all things together for our good, for His glory, and that His ideas are better than our own. When we acknowledge this fact and begin to let things go – and flow, if you will – it’s easier to breathe. And keep moving.
I mentioned at some point that I was reading Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace in Your Chaotic World, but that I wasn’t sure what I was going to take away from it because I wasn’t feeling particularly stressed at the time of reading. By the time I finished reading it, I was very stressed about a particular matter which was consuming most of my thoughts. And I confess to you that my biggest take-away from this book was the one I did not want to acknowledge. I had to come to terms with the idea that God is in control. (It’s amazing how many times in life I’ve had to come to grips with this fact.) It was moderately helpful to have another person remind me of this in book form.
I say moderately because I didn’t walk away with a whole lot of fresh ideas or truths to apply in dealing with stress based on my reading of this book alone. I’m actually fairly ambivalent towards Stressed-Less Living despite the fact that I can see how it could have much value to someone wrestling with something that is causing them vast amounts of stress! I just had a hard time connecting with the book.
I also want to be quick to point out that I was reading this book during a reading slump and anyone who reads a lot and finds themselves in a slump (like our regular readers here!) will understand what I mean. While a certain book might be The Greatest Thing Ever to someone hungry for it and in a mindset to devour it, it doesn’t fly so far with someone who is feeling “meh” about their reading life at the time.
This book was released in October and I think that’s just about perfect as it’s the season when many of us feel stressed to some degree or another. (Then, too, it’s not the season for being able to think very well about it. We’d be less stressed if we did some major thinking about certain topics in advance of their happening. Alas, we fail to plan and become grumpy about Christmas carols.)
There really is nothing that I object to in this book at all. I think she has some wisdom to share and some good reminders to trust in the Lord. (We all need that reminder from time to time!) I just didn’t really clamp onto this one and love it, but I found no reason to despise it either. It may be just the read for you and, if so, great!
I was provided a copy of this book by Leafwood Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.
Carrie blogs about the books she loves and the ones she loves not-so-much regularly over at Reading to Know.