At work we have long given a reflection at the beginning of every meeting. “Reflections are a means of taking time for ourselves to cultivate creativity and innovation, and connect with our spirit and our mission. We begin our meetings with a reflection. They center us and focus us to be fully present in our work at hand.”
All members of the meeting were asked to take turns giving a reflection, and recently it was my turn.
I have given reflections before, just not for this group. Originally I volunteered to give the reflection in March so it would be close to Easter. I planned to present “His Hands” by Kenneth Cope in sign language, accompanied by a CD of his song. I’ve done that several times before. It is very moving – the flowing movements in sign language to the beautiful music and touching words about Christ’s hands and all that they did and how we are trying to make our hands like His.
But March was taken, so I was assigned May. I knew I could find a wonderful reflection as I am surrounded by moving and inspirational thoughts, magazines, and other resources all the time!
So, as the time drew nearer, I started contemplating what type of reflection – thought or quote – I would look for. And the thought came, “Write it yourself.”
Write it myself? Write it myself…could I? Should I? And the words repeated, “Write it yourself.”
Well, I have certainly written things before that people told me touched them or that they enjoyed. So I decided to give it a try.
I started writing about encouragement. I spend a few days on something that was coming together pretty well about how our feelings seem to come and go incredibly fast and without our being able to control them, but then talking about how we have more control over them than we think.
Then, just a few days before I was to share, as I sat down to review my work and see if I could finish it, another thought came:
“Do it extemporaneously.”
Wait a minute, what? Extemporaneously? “Do it extemporaneously.”
Wow. Well, let’s see, I have given talks in church, taught the Gospel Doctrine class for many years, shared my testimony often enough, had Family Home Evening for many years…
I decided I could do it, but the thought of not preparing something ahead of time in this setting scared me!
As I contemplated my fear, I thought of a recent Daily Reflection we got at work, “Fear makes the wolf seem bigger.” German proverb. And I thought of the scriptures, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” Doctrine and Covenants 38:30, and “For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say” Doctrine and Covenants 100:6, also “perfect love casteth out fear” 1 John 4:18.
Then I turned to some of my favorite resources: prayer, searching the scriptures, prayer, thinking back on experiences where I have felt encouraged or less stressed, prayer, the Ensign magazine, prayer, etc.
I soon realized that it would be OK and I felt more confident.
When the time came I talked about how stressed we can get in our jobs and at home, pointed out how this marvelous age we live in brings us everything that is happening everywhere in the world as it is happening, and that can add to our stress. Then I explained that all those wondrous resources also can help lower our stress when we become selective about which ones we participate in. And I gave an example from when things were overwhelming for me and how, by making the simple decision to decompress at the end of the day with the old TV show Father Knows Best rather than by turning to the criminal justice TV station where things can get rather graphic and traumatic, it made a world of difference in how I felt, my worry and tension melting away!
Moral of the story: To decrease your stress, be selective with the resources in which you participate! (And your thoughts about them, but that’s a topic for another time)