Friday, July 2, 2010

Stop, Drop and Release

Stress kills. Literally. Taken to the extreme it can cause a heart attack. More often it kills my joy.

Stress greatly diminishes my quality of life. My muscles tense, my stomach knots, my back hurts and my whole body aches. I get grumpy and snap at those I care about. My focus zooms in on the problem, magnifying it until it comsumes my whole life. I summon all my abilities and energy to push through to a solution, disregarding my emotional wellbeing. In the end, exhausted and frazzled, it takes awhile for my nerves to cool down and recover from the trauma.

With God, I found a healthier way to deal with problems. At the first sign of stress, I now stop, drop and release. I see stress as a signal fire, alerting me that something is wrong. Instead of pressing on and ignoring my heightening emotional flames, I stop and listen to my body.

Once I acknowledge my emotional smoke signals, I drop to my knees in prayer. Although the crisis seems urgent, I resist its pull and take some time with Jesus. Since worship music helps calm my anxious thoughts, I put on a CD to focus my mind on God.

Together, God and I work to release whatever's causing my anguish. God reminds me to let go and trust Him. I wrestle with my need to control. I struggle to relinquish my desires, the way I want things to turn out. I cling to my anger and fear. But as I turn each of these over to Jesus, my heartbeat slows and my body unwinds. My vision clears and my perspective returns. When my emotional fire is finally out, I can relax knowing God is with me to walk me through.

So now, at the first sign of stress' fire, I make a point to stop, drop and release. I stop and evaluate my emotions, drop to my knees and take time with God in prayer, and with His help I release the things that make me anxious. When I drink the whole glass of God's assistance, then I'm free to enjoy watching His plan unfold around me.