Putting Stress to Rest
We’ve been talking about stress and by now our goal should be to put stress to rest not just with whatever current issue is stressing us out, but to learn how to hand these issues to God and trust Him enough to take care of them in His time and His way.
However many times we don’t even realize what we are stressing over or perseverating about. We just automatically turn to food to try to make us feel better whenever the feeling of overwhelm hits us. We use food to try to mask our stress. It numbs it for a while but then we need more to numb it again. We have a learned behavior and we’ve taught it to ourselves way too well.
For many years when I weighed 430 pounds, I thought my weight was causing me the most stress. However, my weight was simply a by-product of my stress! I would stress over some problem and then eat to try to make the stress go away. The eating caused weight gain. But the real issue wasn’t the eating, the issue was what was causing my stress!
This is a cycle that makes us feel like we are going crazy! That’s because we weren’t created to handle every single problem that we see in the world, in our friends’ lives, in our family’s lives and even our own. We have to stop the insanity of trying to control everything.
If we can just stop and clear our minds, we can see everything that is happening to us right now is attributing to our stress because we are living in a state of chronic stress. So everything looks and feels stressful, even good things. I know I’ve been there. Living in chronic stress is no fun.
In Matthew 11:28-30 MSG, Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I think I am finally living in His unforced rhythms of grace. In the past, I felt like I was carrying a heavy burden of a calling I had to complete perfectly, but in these verses Jesus tells me those things which feel like heavy burdens are not from Him. The things from Him will help me live freely and lightly. I was in desperate need of just that.
Christian Fatigue Syndrome is something I had read about but didn’t think it was a thing until my doctor explained that I was pushing too hard on life. It happens to those of us who think we are the only ones who can save the world in our specific sphere of influence or calling. Of course that isn’t true and I cognitively knew that, but deep down inside the achiever in me pushed me to do more.
God’s prescription for me was to set aside time in the mornings to just be silent, still and present with Him. In those times I was made aware of the cacophony of noise in my head and the time it takes my body to relax, clear my mind and focus on the Lover of my soul.
During those times the One I had worked myself into exhaustion for just held me and told me to stop and let Him take over, really take over. In doing that, I began to learn how to stop overthinking every issue and problem and simply hand them to Him.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds and in this episode, I explain more about how to do this.
Eating Stress Course: https://Teresashieldsparker.com/stress/