Monday Devotion – The Stress of Taxes and Life Itself

This is the Halema‘uma‘u Crater inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii [Fuji X-E3, 55-200mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/6.4, 1/6]

It is tax time, and this can be like a volcano for those who own their own business. Did you pay enough last year, or will you owe more? Did you set aside enough money, or did you have circumstances like a medical emergency that took your money?

Hawaii was formed out of the ocean by a volcano. Kilauea has been continuously erupting since 1983, which is in the photo above.

Maybe your life is like the Kilauea Volcano erupting. I believe more people are experiencing volcanoes than peaceful calm waters in their lives.

When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure. – Peter Marshall

Waterfalls at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden near Hilo, Hawaii. [Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 640, ƒ/22, 1/8]

Maybe you are seeking those calm waters and taking longer showers to help ease the stress on your mind.

Many know that being around water makes us calmer and more creative. Science knows it, too: A recent study even showed that people who live near the ocean report less stress and better health than those who don’t.

While going to the beach or sitting by a waterfall can be therapeutic, you still have stress if the stress trigger is still there.

The pressures of life can overwhelm us if we let them. In my faith, when tensions mount, we are taught to go to the Lord in prayer.

Matthew 11:28-30
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Now all of this can sound quite pious. Quoting some scriptures and saying trust God will heal you is, in my opinion, useless, even if it is true. You are hurting, and life is overwhelming.

I want to be very honest that I think often life can suck at times.

James 1:2-4
2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

On trumpet, the California Honeydrops’ Lech Wierzynski plays with Ben Malament on the washboard at Terminal West in Atlanta, Georgia. [Nikon D5, 28-300mm, ISO 9000, ƒ/5.6, 1/200]

Often I found that by blowing my own horn, I have created a problem. This is usually done when I am trying to compensate over. You know when you are trying everything you can to land a job with a client.

See if any of these might be something you have dealt with as a freelancer this past year.

Lost a client because your contact changed jobs
A client went out of business.
A client decided to go in a new direction.
Your computer crashed, and you had to repair or replace it.
Your camera had to be repaired.
You lost images due to a bad memory card or hard drive failure.
Your competition has upgraded their gear while your gear is ancient.
You had a medical emergency this past year.
You lost a family member.
You experienced a mental health crisis for yourself, your family, or a client.
Your transportation failed this past year. You had significant car repairs or had to replace a car.

This is by no means an exhausted list of all the stresses of life that I have personally experienced or had some close friends go through this past year.

Little Cowboy enjoys the Celebrate Freedom Rodeo at Wills Park in Alpharetta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 640, ƒ/1.8, 1/160]

The hardest thing I experience isn’t the things I cannot control, but when I make a mistake, it causes me problems. This is the one I beat myself up on over and over.

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

― Marcus Aurelius