Tag Archives: stress

Uncertainty and a Call for Action

Some people thrive on uncertainty. People like me, planners, call those people daredevils. What do you mean unplanned events, pending results, or even undecided outfits don’t keep you up at night?

Oh, how it seems life would be so leisurely if only I would be more comfortable with uncertainty, but I am my mother’s (and father’s) daughter and therefore I am destined to be tortured by the pending, the “to be continued”, and the dreaded “what ifs”. But do I really have to accept that I will forever obsess over the uncertain? Or is it my “hidden” distrust in God, my worry that keeps my mind reeling with the risk of what’s around the corner?

This morning, on my way to work, I listened to a worship song playlist on my smart phone. The song “Oceans” by Hillsong came on as I prayed silently to God. It’s amazing how many ways this song has spoken into different situations in my life. As I was driving along, the lyric “my soul will rest in your embrace” drew tears to my eyes. It was in that moment I realized it’s not that God isn’t embracing me. It’s that I’m not resting in his embrace. All this fretting, it’s not allowing him to embrace me. I’m just shrugging him off by trying to carry a burden I’m not meant to carry.

As I sang along with the rest of the song, God revealed to me exactly what he wanted me to do about the uncertain situation for which I was obsessing. It’s as if he said, “You think because you care, but what is care without action?” Thinking is not enough, caring is not enough. When God calls you into action and you respond, that’s when your soul can rest in his embrace. It can rest because God stirred it up for action, not for obessing over what might be, not for worrying.

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Resting and Being Yourself

Ever been offered an opportunity to do something you love, but your plate is already close to full? It’s hard to turn down that opportunity. It’s also hard to say no to something that needs to be done when you know no one else will do it. Life is full of things that need to be done, that are actually, in reality, optional. Examine what’s on your plate, and you will likely find things that could fall off without anyone noticing.

This past week I was asked to be on several different “teams.” All of the teams sounded great, fun, amazing. I was asked if I wanted to communicate. I love talking, writing, and sharing information. Yes! That’s for me! The kid’s team asked me to help out in the classroom. I worked with kids for six years at my old church, and it was fun. That would be an easy one for me. Maybe I should do that. The third team that approached me was the outreach team. I have been wanting to be a part of an outreach team for years, and as the team leader described the areas she envisioned us focusing on, I wanted to volunteer for them all. After receiving these three offers, I was so excited, but then reality sunk in. My past complaints about serving so much in church, included not having as much time to volunteer with other favorite non-profits, not enough time to enjoy the hobbies that help me reenergize, resenting my volunteer duties, etc. Do I really want to put myself back into that situation?

I’d like to say that when those thoughts arose, I went straight to God in prayer, but alas, I didn’t go to Him right away. Instead I went to my mom, my friends, and my sleep. You see, when I’m stressed I have nightmares, and I did. I had nightmares about losing control, feeling overworked and burdened by responsibility. Why didn’t I just go to God? You’d think I would have learned by now.

The next day, after tossing and turning all night, I did get up and pray about it. I was reminded that my blog really is my outlet for “communication” and writing. While I would enjoy time with the kiddos, maybe now is not the season to volunteer in children’s ministry. Outreach is really where I’m most passionate in this season of my life, and where I have been most passionate most of my life. I love helping people, meeting needs, and improving my community. I felt God nudge me in this direction, but I still felt so bad saying no to the Communication team and the Kid’s team. Then in a last-ditch effort God provided, not one, but a whole week’s worth of devotions on resting. Day after day I read messages that reminded me to rest my body and my mind for, not only, my physical and mental health but my spiritual health. It took me back to times when I was riddled with anxiety and stress, not that taking part in the communication and kids teams would do that, but I know myself and once I start taking on responsibility, I don’t slow down.

As a result of God’s undeniable answer to my prayer, I did contact the two team leaders for the teams I had to decline. I sent thoughtful responses and expected them to beg for my assistance despite my turning them down, but instead I was met with encouragement and understanding. Perhaps I reminded them they needed to rest too.

I believe that, as a Christian, when I truly rest, I experience the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus sent him to be our counselor, and what a gentle and kind counselor he is. He makes my spirit feel like it is lying down in a green pasture beside still waters, full of peace. It is in this time that I feel truly myself, the way God created me, a creative, kind, compassionate, quirky, funny woman. I feel free to create art, write letters, chat with friends, laugh at a favorite movie, talk to God out-loud, and totally recharge. It is in this Holy Spirit time that I “fill my tank” as my dear friend Scott would say.

When your soul is resting, your emotions are okay, your mind is okay, and your will is at peace with God, not resisting what He’s doing.    – Joyce Meyer

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It Wouldn’t be Called a Hunt…

Ever since I woke up in the wee hours of the night with complete peace about my next career venture, it’s been nothing but putting my nose to the grindstone. I have applied for nearly 15 jobs, most of which are closer to the school I want to attend so I can earn my degree in the most minimal time period. I tell you, sometimes I wish I hadn’t woken up that night. I think I would call the state I’m in “self-destruction for a cause.” I have woken up early almost every morning to work at least half an hour on future goals, and then when I return home from the job that is supposed to support those goals, I work on them some more, making very little headway.

I guess if getting on the right path were easy people wouldn’t talk about “hunting” for a job or “searching” for direction, etc. If it were easy then everyone would constantly be moving up the ladder. If it were easy it might mean that God doesn’t see me as resilient, a fighter, someone who can meet a challenge head-on. If meeting a goal were simple, there would be no need for a goal.

The one thing I have learned in the last two weeks of being absolutely stressed and spiritually miserable is that I can’t do this alone. I can’t! If I try to achieve my wildest God-given dreams on my own, I am, first of all, going to fail, and secondly, declining the assistance of the very giver, the very author of these dreams. This evening I took a walk down to a local church, something I like doing. The whole way there I prayed out loud, in a whisper, but still out loud. When I arrived there I photographed the outside of the church. Then I walked down to the corner and crossed the street. When I got to the gate where I hoped I could take a shortcut through the college campus, it was locked. I turned back around to head back in the same direction I came only to find that the church I had photographed was now open. I looked at the open door and passed by without stopping, but something in me told me to stop. You see, I had never been in this church or even heard of the denomination, but God wanted me to be in His house in my discouraged and worn out state.

Inside I met two gentleman preparing to have Bible Study. I explained that I have a hobby of photographing churches and asked if I could take a few photos before they started. As I took photos we chatted, and I left encouraged. Yes, God has given me a direction for my future, but He didn’t give me a ticking time bomb to fret over every waking (and sleeping) hour. I am meant to enjoy and connect with others, even when I am chasing after my dream.

Thank God that He is so gracious to wrap me in the arms of his creation and the warmth of my fellow believers to give me the comfort I need for the journey.

Find What Frees You

My mom refills her feeder twice a day. Shouldn't we be slurping up the Spirit?

My mom refills her feeder twice a day. Shouldn’t we be slurping up the Spirit instead of chomping on worry?

In our everyday lives we experience ups and downs, but as we experience them we often don’t consider their root cause. I have recently reached a three-year goal of becoming debt-free, and now I am embarking on a new challenge of tackling a life long struggle with stress-management. Since my financial plan worked so well, I am going to use the same ideas from that curriculum to develop my own stress-free plan.

The first step in my financial plan was taking an inventory of my spending for one or two months to find out where my money was going. In the same way, I will take an inventory of my energy. Where am I spending my energy? To do this I have begun using green and pink index cards. I record particularly relaxing moments on the green index cards and particularly stressful moments on my pink cards. At the end of this first inventory period I should have encountered many of each experience. I will collect the pink cards and match them up with scriptures that bring truth, clarity, and perspective to that stressful moment. With these recorded in such a practical manner I will be able to refer to them as they come up again during daily life. Will I encounter new stressors in my life?  Of course I will, but God’s Word can be applied to any life circumstance.

I hope that this technique will inspire me to seek God’s truth in times of tension, and to live a life of complete spiritual freedom. I will keep you informed of my progress and any tweaks I apply to my technique.

And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”

Luke 12:22-32

In all circumstances I will not be afraid, I will not worry, but seek His kingdom, and all these things will be added to me. Join me on my journey to becoming stress-free.

“More Heart, Less Attack”
Needtobreathe

Be the light in the crack
Be the one that’s been there on a camel’s back
Slow to anger quick to laugh
Be more heart and less attackBe the wheels not the track
Be the wanderer that’s coming back
Leave the past right where it’s at
Be more heart and less attackThe more you take the less you have
Cuz it’s you in the mirror staring back
Quick to let go slow to react
Be more heart and less attackEver growing steadfast
And if need be the one that’s in the gap
Be the never turning back
Twice the heart any man could haveBe the wheels not the track
Be the wanderer that’s coming back
Leave the past right where it’s at
Be more heart and less attack
Be more heart and less attack
Be more heart and less attackI stuck my hat out I caught the rain drops
I drank the water I felt my veins block
I’m nearly sanctified I’m nearly broken
I’m down the river I’m near the openI stuck my hat out I caught the rain drops
I drank the water I felt my veins block
I’m near the sanctified I’m near broken
I’m down the river I’m near the open

I’m down the river to where I’m going