Monday, August 13, 2018

Refusing to let stress be a joy stealer...


My husband and I sat across from each other at our favorite Thai food restaurant. Over my plate of chicken pad thai and his mixed grill plate the topic came up of person we know facing a possible auto-immune disease diagnosis. The conversation led us to question what is in our food or environment that is causing the rise of this condition. I wondered aloud if a big part of it could be the level of stress we continually live under. 

As a person who feels things deeply it is a challenge for me to not live under stress. I watch or read the news and I feel deep concern and stress rises within over the state of our nation and world. I counsel with people in our congregation and feel the pain of their problems. It's a challenge for me to leave their burdens on God's shoulders and to not carry them on mine. Stress results when I don't do this. 

Jesus gave us His peace. Our inheritance in Christ isn't a problem free life, but it is a peace filled life. John 14:17 in the Amplified Bible is a verse I refer back to and pray over myself frequently. 
" Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]" 

Psalm 32:6 indicates that there is a way for us to go through trials without stress penetrating our inner being.
"For this [forgiveness] let everyone who is godly pray—pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely when the great waters [of trial] overflow, they shall not reach [the spirit in] him."

The primary way that I reject stress is to choose to focus on the blessings of God in my life. But, I am also learning that there are times when I simply have to give myself permission to walk away from stressful situations in order to regain perspective. This past week I set aside my to-do list and rested on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday I took a walk around my old hometown with my youngest grandson and enjoyed the memories. On Wednesday we drove to the beach. I was amazed that the following day I woke up more clear minded than I'd been in weeks. I accomplished a week's worth of to-dos in one day. I had a clear plan for something I had been asking God for direction about for quite some time. I felt God's peace, presence and guidance as a counseled with a hurting one.

A new week has begun. I have a choice to make. I can succumb to stressful situations or I can choose to walk in God's peace. I can trust Him with problems that arise. I can live in an attitude of gratitude and focus on my blessings. I can refuse to let stress steal my joy.

****************
Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks, 
piling up gratitude day by day in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)
#11,087-#11,112

8-6-18-
-getting my walk done in the cool of the morning
-ignoring my to do list and resting due to a headache
-re-reading a favorite book

8-7-18-
-walking through my hometown with my youngest grandson (see a post about that here)
-a good report from our daughter's pre-natal checkup
-saying no to stress
-my husband's help with a household chore

8-8-18-
-the words, "exhausted yet pursuing" in Judges 8 - 
I love how God's Word speaks to me in the most unlikely chapters and books of the Bible
-escaping the heat with a drive to the beach

-a good report on a friend's medical tests
-my daughter feeling the baby kick for the first time

8-9-18-
-God's peace and help with some direction and guidance I needed
-catching up on all of the to-dos I put off at the beginning of the week
-a phone call with my longtime, ( I want to say oldest, but that makes it sound like she's very old!), friend
-my Father God's love
-a huge orange sun at sunrise and again at sunset 

8-10-18-
-I couldn't go back to sleep after waking up at 4AM-but I was able to have a great quiet time!
-a drive down old, familiar country roads
-a good movie with a happy ending

8-11-18-
-a wee bit of summer rain and cooler temps after two hot, dry months
-my daughter and son-in-law stopping by for a chat
-seeking God's help with a blog post and knowing He helped me

8-12-18-
-praise that breaks through 
-good friends that encourage
-oldest granddaughter spending the afternoon with us
-some happy news

still following,

6 comments:

  1. This post was a breath of fresh air!

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  2. That is a beautiful encouraging word!
    I've learned that the stress response is my body's way of signaling me...like it's saying "hey, fight or flight." But as I have become more aware of God's abiding presence, I understand that I don't have to choose fight or flight; I can choose Peace. It's increasingly becoming a supernaturally normal response for me. With each new day, I can choose to think, see, talk and act in agreement with God's Peace no matter what the circumstance. Even now, as my family continues to go through problems of various degrees, it's my focus on Jesus and who He is for me in all of this that causes me to see the problems as possibilities for responding in Peace. Thank You Jesus our Prince of Peace!!!

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  3. such truth.
    i love how i visit here and am
    ministered to and encouraged
    in ways i remember in future.
    {{{{{{{ hug }}}}}}}

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  4. We watched The Guernsey and Potato Peel Pie movie last night. It was very good. I read the book a few years back. Now I want to read it again.

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  5. Just sitting down for a few moments on a busy weekend evening as we prepare to head to the beach for a few days. I always love your gratitude posts - well, I enjoy all of your posts! We have so many blessings and it's easy to miss them if we don't slow down and focus on each one.
    ~Adrienne~

    ReplyDelete

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