By: Amy Dalke
Here’s one way to be certain God is inviting you to deal with a particular issue: if you repeatedly notice A Thing while you’re minding your own business – and then BAM, your pastor drops That Thing in your lap on Sunday morning like a laser-aimed bomb.
That happened last Sunday. (Thanks, Pastor Ben.)
A long time ago (or maybe within the last two years), I had a stress thing that grew into a anxiety thing. Which gradually grew into a headache thing, coupled with crazy knots in my shoulders.
I just chalked it all up to the price one must pay for success. #brilliant
So I loaded up on daily doses of tension with no consideration of how it affected my body. My Dad often told me that I needed to slow down; and Larry regularly advised that I bring the uptight down a notch or thirty.
What they said didn’t sound unreasonable for the average person…but I was sure the mental pressure wouldn’t hurt me since I was in control of it and everything. (Foolishness, y’all.)
Over the last year or so, I’ve recognized my need to loosen up. And by that I mean, it was no secret that I needed to chill-the-heck-out-and-quit-living-like-the-world-would-end-and-btw-I-have-to-make-my-bed-before-that-happens-just-in-case. (High strung perhaps?)
It only took me way too long to recognize that a mind and body wasted by stress is not part of God’s plan or purpose for me.
So what could I do? Give up my personal world domination a.k.a. Control Issues? I mean…how would life go on? Yet the true question I faced was this:
How long will I sacrifice Real Life for the facade of an Okay Life?
How long would I believe that chasing money, status, and comfort at a killer pace was the Good Life?
(For real, where is the abundant in that?)
You and I were handmade by God to LIVE. He uniquely shaped us on purpose, for a purpose; yet stress throws our shape all out of whack, and keeps us from truly living the life God dreamed up for us.
Note: I did not say, “Life is rosy, so just quit stressing out already.” Rather, let’s learn to channel our stress in a healthy way.
Maybe you’re already nailing it on the calm life. But if you lean towards the tightly wound side of things, here is my Rx for Stress Detox. (Like I’m a doctor or something.)
(1) 3 minute breath breaks: Start with 2 of these per day. Look at your schedule and choose 2 specific times in the day where you can spare 3 minutes. These breath breaks can take place at your desk, in your car, on the elevator. You can even hide in the bathroom if motherhood deems that the best option.
During this time, just sit and breathe. Set a reminder on your phone for those times, sit down, and focus on your breath.
I’ve mentioned this breath stuff at least 53 times on this blog. And frankly, if I consistently mention anything for any length of time, you can bet it’s significant.
Click here for a breath break cheat sheet: 3 Minutes of Mindful Breath
(2) Yoga: Okay, some people have strong opinions about whether or not a yoga practice is suitable for Christians. All I can say is that it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for my health, and I still love Jesus. Even just 15 minutes a day will make a big difference. Check out Holy Yoga TV. (#awesome)
(3) Journaling: Don’t get twitchy as though I’m suggesting you go all Dear Diary or something.
My journaling practice is to answer 5 questions before bed, and it takes me 10 minutes max. I started this nearly 2-ish years ago, and I’ve tweaked it to make it shorter. The benefits are numerous, but the best thing is that it helps me to untangle my thoughts before I go to sleep. (Hint: take one of those breath breaks before journaling. It’s doubly awesome.)
Daily Journal Questions
- What am I thankful for right now?
- What am I feeling right now?
- Where did I experience God at work in and around me today?
- What lessons did I learn today?
- What am I looking forward to tomorrow?
God’s purpose for your life is worth a stress detox. So what are you going to do about it?