I am headed to a lunch meeting for the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. I am feeling rushed and stressed. Not because of the people I am about to meet, but because of the calls I was on just before lunch.
Three Stressful Calls
I had three calls this morning. All entrepreneurs. All stressful. Their worlds are collapsing around them. Their dreams are starting to dissolve. And I must be there to guide them. To encourage them. To give them hope. Not some intangible attaboy, but answers that will rescue their dreams from what seems like certain oblivion.
I love entrepreneurs. My heart is with them. I can’t take these calls and not feel the stress and anxiety they are experiencing.
I maybe an investor, but I have the heart of an entrepreneur. I want to save them. I pray for God to give me some “silver bullet” answer which will fix their circumstances. But it doesn’t come. So they carry the stress and so do I.
I Need Time
Off I go to lunch. I rush from the last call, and now traffic has to be perfect for me to get there on time. I can feel the stress through my whole upper body.
I am taking some deep breaths to relax and destress. It doesn’t work while I’m driving. I want to think about this lunch meeting and the wonderful people, all friends, I’ll be meeting, but I can’t shake off the morning meetings.
I get to the parking lot at Cumberland Mall with five minutes to spare. I walk briskly toward the restaurant and then stop ten yards from the front door, turning to walk the other way.
I need time. Time to think about the people I am about to meet and their needs. Time to focus on the purpose of this meeting. Time to destress so I am present with these people who drove from over thirty miles away for this lunch meeting. Time to breathe and think.
I Walk Away
I walk a hundred yards away from the restaurant entrance. It is a beautiful, sunny spring day in Atlanta. There is a pleasant breeze. The air is crisp and not muggy. I take a few deep breaths as I walk and then find a bench to sit down.
I pray, “Lord, please take this stress from me. You are in control of all that is going on in my life and the lives of these men. Please take this from me. Help them. Help me. Have me feel your peace and love right now. In the name of Jesus, I pray.”
I open my eyes and experience the beauty of the day for the first time. I take a deep breath and feel the stress leaving me.
We sit down for lunch, and I am among friends. These are people whom I love and who love me. They are great men and women of God.
Lunch with Friends
I heard about their businesses, their families, and their marketplace ministries. They are each amazing and talented. They settled me.
As we were leaving, John, a young man in his early thirties, asked if he could talk to me. He was the guy who changed his flight to a red-eye from Los Angeles so he could attend this lunch.
Everyone else gave their last goodbye hug, and John and I found ourselves walking slowly to the exit.
He said, “I have been under a lot of pressure at work. There seems to a limitless stream of work and opportunities. I want to spend more time with my wife, but work keeps coming and coming. What should I do?”
The Morning Plan
This man is asking me about work-life balance. Is this a joke, God? Did you make him take that red-eye because he needed help or I need help?
I said, “Work-life balance is a tough one. You can’t win it. It is about drawing boundaries and being disciplined. You graduated from Georgia Tech, so I know you have discipline. Wait a minute. Forget where I was going. Do this.
“Carve off time in the morning, every morning, to be with Jesus. And don’t be rushed. He loved you enough to die for you. He wants you. He wants your time, and he is God.
“Give him your time first thing in the morning, and ask him the questions you are asking me. Trust him, and he will make it all right. Just do what he tells you.”
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Also published on Medium.