“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.

By Margy Whitsett, deaconess and hospital chaplain

Blessed and stressed

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” (Ps. 103:1)

When I was the mother of six growing children, I was sometimes overwhelmed by all the responsibilities that faced me.

Scheduling pickups from school, trying to make sure homework was done, making dinner, and working part-time as a church musician — there seemed to be no end!

There came a point when I began to say to myself and others, “I’m so stressed!” And I wasn’t lying, I was stressed.

Somewhere in the midst of my stress, I heard a suggestion that made an enormous difference for my well-being.

This particular wisdom from a friend (mentor) taught me the power of words to shape how I experienced life.

I learned how we name what happens to us can change our experience of that thing.

My stress needed a new name and a new perspective.

One day, I took out a 4×6 note card. I wrote the word “stressed” on the note card with a permanent marker. Then I drew a line through that word and wrote another word: “blessed.”

I am so blessed. I am blessed to have the gift of six amazing children; blessed to have food to cook; blessed to be able to serve the church with the gift of music.

In simply exchanging two letters, and allowing the Holy Spirit to work a new perspective in me, I felt relief. I stopped to breathe and meditate on the Word from the Psalms:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Ps. 103:1–3)

I began to practice and rewrite the perspective of the psalm in my heart and on my mind.

When I started to say “stressed,” I would stop, recall the psalm, and replaced it with the word “blessed.”

It seems simple, but it proved to be a very powerful gift to me.

After all, God had given me all these good things, and God had promised in His Word to be with me through the wear and tear they might entail.

Perhaps you might make your own card today. Put it where you will see it.

Know you are blessed because Jesus has brought you salvation and carries the responsibilities with you.

Lord, let me rest in what You have done for me. Give me focus for all the tasks at hand, and help me to fix my eyes on Your goodness in the midst of them. May everything I do be for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” devotions and prayers will be released Monday mornings on the LCMS Facebook and Twitter pages. Church Worker Wellness devotions will also be archived online.

LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to workerwellness@lcms.org.