Finding Freedom from STRESS -The 20/80 Rule


Saturday afternoon I came home from a motorcycle ride to find that the wall in my bedroom was moldy. Upon further inspection I realized that the plumbing in the wall was leaking.  Already tired from a long day of riding with some friends I began working on the problem.  I cut out the moldy drywall to discover the problem was much worse than I had originally thought.  Mold had grown quite a way up the wall behind the shower in the adjoining room.  After tearing out quite a bit of my drywall, and spraying down the mold behind the shower with bleach water I headed to the hardware store to purchase the supplies I needed to fix the plumbing.  The first store I went to didn’t have the parts I needed so I headed across town to the hardware store only to find that it had closed just 40 minutes earlier.

That was Saturday. Saturday night my wife and I slept out on the couch (We have a large sectional).  Sunday we went to church then went to celebrate mother’s day in Chicago with our mom’s.  Last night we again slept out on the couch.  It is now Monday morning and I am back to work.   Any guesses as to what I will be doing when I get home from work today?

This could have ruined my day. In fact this could have ruined a whole week.  This is a big mess that put us out of our room and will end up being a costly repair.  Instead I chose to focus on the positive.  I’m so thankful we have a second shower we can use until I get this one fixed.  I’m grateful we can sleep in the living room and don’t have to get a hotel.  I’m grateful I have the ability to fix the plumbing and don’t have to pay someone.  This was not a fun experience and I hope I never have to do this again but I’m not going to let this ruin my day.

James said, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” (James 1:2-4 ESV).

You have heard it said before, “Life is 20% what happens to you and 80% how you handle it.” I’m reminded of a story of Ed and Fred who lived in the same neighborhood, worked at the same firm, and even had the same number of kids.  On the way to work one day both men got a flat tire.  It took them both about the same amount of time to change the tires and they both arrived to work just 10 minutes late.

At lunch a co-worker asked Ed how his day was going. Ed explained in no uncertain terms just how poorly his day had gone.  He went on and on about the pot hole in the road, and about getting his cloths dirty, about being late, and about how much it is going to cost him to replace the blown tire.  The flat tire had ruined his entire day.

The co-worker turned to Fred and asked him how his day was going. Fred explained that he too had hit a pot hole and had gotten a flat tire.  He explained that he too had gotten dirty changing the tire and that the incident had made him late for work.  Fred went on to say how thankful he was that he was able to pull off the road in a safe area to fix his tire.  He also said he was so thankful it had not been raining.  Fred told his co-worker that he had learned a few valuable lessons.  He said, “From now on I’m going to bring  a can of fix a flat with me in my car and I’m also going to start leaving work 10 minutes earlier just in case this happens again.”  Fred didn’t let the flat tire ruin the rest of his day.

There are many things that lead us to or keep us in addiction or compulsive behaviors. Many of life’s challenges keep us down and threaten to ruin our day.  Don’t let it.  Remember the 20/80 rule.  You have the power to choose what kind of day you will have.  Be like Fred.  He had a rough day but he chose to, “Count it all joy,” and he didn’t let it ruin his day.


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