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Toss a small pebble into a still pond and it will make a quiet splash with a large ripple effect. Soon after, the water returns to the calm state that was before. Have you noticed that still water never over or under-reacts?

Less Stress

Water’s reaction is a metaphor for life.

Some people throw a pebble-sized problem into the pond of your life and attempt to make you react as if it’s cannonball-sized.

They expect to create a major ripple and lasting upset.

Learning to respond to situations without over or under-reacting is one key to living a life with less stress.

Think about itJesus never over or under-reacted.

When the religions leaders were trying to stone a woman caught in adultery, Jesus wrote in the sand to defuse the entire situation. Then he said, “You who are without sin throw the first stone.”

David Allen (author of “Getting Things Done” ) has a strategy to deal with reactions.

He says:

“Anything that causes you to overreact or under react can control you, and often does. Responding inappropriately to your email, your projects, your unread magazines, your thoughts about what you need to do, your children, or your boss will lead to less effective results than you’d like.

Most people give either more or less attention to things than they deserve.”

A Metaphor For Life

My friend Randy is a karate sensei. In karate, there is an image that’s used to define the position of perfect readiness: “Mind like water.”

The high levels of training in the martial arts teach and demand balance and relaxation as much as anything else.

The power in a karate punch comes from speed, not muscle; it comes from a focused “pop” at the end of the whip.

It’s why petite grandmothers can learn to break boards and bricks with their hands: it doesn’t take calluses or brute strength, just the ability to generate a focused thrust with speed.

But a tense muscle is a slow one.

Calming the mind and being flexible is key to success.

“You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—

the best, not the worst;

the beautiful, not the ugly;

things to praise, not things to curse.

Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:8,9 (The Message)

Was this helpful? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • Julie MacKenzie says:

    I loved reading your blog this morning Pastor Bob. I was a huge fan of Bruce Lee & he made a film called “Be Water”. He explains that water is formless..but takes on the shape of whatever you put it in. A cup, a vase, etc. Your mind should be like water too. It was so powerful when I saw it as a young gal…& to this day…it is still powerful. Bruce Lee is a legend & he was the first Chinese face that I looked up to. Plus, he knew how to “kick butt”. LOL! My brothers took Kung Fu lessons as young lads…& my oldest brother is a Tai Chi Master now. I took Kung Fu in my late 40’s. Easy to learn the forms when you are a dancer. The forms are like a fine dance. Thank you for sharing that with us.

  • Ronald Sprentz says:

    Great reminder and admonition of how to lead a “stress free” life.

  • Adena Lowry says:

    Teaching junior high students can teach you to remain calm when chaos ensues too. A classroom full of 12 ans 13 year olds can be a great teacher of how not to react .

  • Bob Jones says:

    You have learned a lot in your young life, Julie! “Be like water” is a healthy mindset. To a large degree it makes a person unflappable.

  • Bob Jones says:

    Love that, Adena! Total admiration for teachers like you.

  • Sheila says:

    Wise words. Thanks Bob. Blessings.

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