Relax, de-stress & take hold of God’s best

Can I be really honest here?  I am NOT good at de-stressing.  I don’t do REST well.

I’m really great at creating checklists, completing tasks and just getting stuff done.

Out the door by 6:30 a.m. to work, come home, cook, clean, run errands, play with the dogs, fall in the bed. Do it again tomorrow.

Why Not REST and DE-STRESS?

Just sit and be still for awhile. Admonishment from the hubby.

Take time to relax, go to the beach. Advice from my mom.

And she’s not wrong…I live 30 minutes to an hour from MULTIPLE beaches.

My excuse for not resting…for not unwinding and ridding myself of stress?

I have too much to do…I’m busy.

REST is as important as work.

One of the Core Values of our women’s ministry at my church is REST.  Therefore, as a leader I am earnestly working on improving in this area.

4 Things to help you de-stress and relax

Here are a few things I have found to be tried and true…to get me focused back on Him, settle myself into a place of calm, and just be.

  1.  PRAY. This always calms me down, no matter how out of control I feel.  Drawing close to my Father this way means peace in my heart. And sometimes that prayer is is simply silence. Just to sit and bask in His love for me is everything!
  2.  READ. Not just my Bible, although depending on what is stressing me, it is my first pick. But when I just need to zone and not think about things for a bit, I usually turn to one of three book types: faith-based, history (Civil War, Native American, Revolutionary War) or mystery books. Reading is my happy place – I have always, always loved a good book and even more I just love words.
  3.  GO OUTSIDE. Take a walk, or just sit on my patio. Take in nature. Consider all of the beautiful things the Lord has made. It never fails to calm me.
  4.  WATCH/LISTEN. Watch an uplifting movie (think Hallmark or inspirational films) OR listen to uplifting music. Taking my mind to a more positive place that allows me to decompress from stress. Inspirational music especially helps shift my focus from me and the busy I’ve allowed to cramp itself into my life. 

Relax, de-stress and take hold of God's best

Give God top priority

De-stressing and taking time to let go and loosen up reminds me that HE is the reason for everything and that all I do is to be done to His glory.

If too many other things are screaming for my attention it is time to let some of those things go. I only want to pursue His best for me.

And if I feel I cannot take relax time, de-stress, time, unwind and be with Jesus time, then He cannot give me those best things. I won’t have room.

I hope one of these will be helpful for you as you learn to de-stress better.  

Favorite Blog Posts…

Favorite blog posts

For those who may be new to my blog, today I thought I’d do a round-up of my favorite posts to date.

All of these were written at different points of pain or struggle in my life. Writing allows me to journal through those experiences to grow and heal. It’s been a tool I’ve used since I was a child.

Even the act of writing is soothing to me.

My prayer is that these posts will touch others and help them grow and heal as well.

8 Favorite Blog Posts

Returning to my first love
Do You Know How to Fight Right?
Hope in everything but God
Outside vs. Inside
Darkness cannot stay where there is light
5 important promises when everything seems to be wrong
Guest post on marriage on With Purpose with Lo Tanner
Not so different

If God uses any of these posts to speak to you, would you drop a comment and let me know?

Be blessed.

Lessons learned from my mistakes

It’s not comfortable to talk about mistakes that we’ve made in our lives.

Thinking about past mistakes can take us to a place that is very distressing, one that we wish we could forget.

Even the thief on the cross was ashamed in his moment of being forgiven. It is our humanity that makes it so.

Thankfully, on a very similar cross, our Lord and Savior took our shame when he took our sin.

So our biggest mistakes do not hold sway over us anymore. They cannot haunt us. Oh, Satan will taunt us with them, but friend, you don’t have to listen.

My biggest mistake

I’m honestly not sure I can point to one single thing as a big mistake in my life. What I think of, is a series of things, that given the chance I have thought many times that I would change.

Hindsight and Godly wisdom has shown me that to have changed those things though would be to change who I am today.

And while there are things that I would certainly improve, I am coming to really like who I am today.

Lessons in adversity

Lessons learned from my mistakes have been unpleasant processes. However, throughout the Bible, we see God use mistakes in people’s lives to bring about good works. Kingdom work.

It’s messy. It’s chaotic and drama filled. It’s painful.

Could God accomplish his work differently? Of course He could. But we would not grow in the same way if we did not go through the fire.

Diamonds. Pearls. Forged steel.

All go through types of adversity to reach the beautiful ending we all desire.

Lessons learned from my mistakes

3 Things I’ve learned from my mistakes

  1. Seek Godly counsel in trials, not popular culture. If the people we confide in approach problems with a worldview instead of a Biblical one, we will find ourselves spiraling deeper into an already troublesome situation.
  2. Act with patience. One thing I can definitively point to in every mistake I have made…acting rashly. Letting emotions control me. When we “listen to our heart” it will often lead us astray. Feelings fade, actions last. Be patient before making 5 minute decision that will affect the rest of your life.
  3. Admit your mistake quickly. Excusing your mistake or running from it by trying to cover it with a good story (let’s be honest, cover it with lies) will only exacerbate the issue. Take responsibility. Apologize where needed. Commit to better actions for the future.

Moving on from mistakes

Lessons learned from my mistakes are what has brought me to where I am now. Unfortunately, it may take others awhile to get past your mistakes. Perhaps some will always see you through that lens.

Take heart that your Father doesn’t.

God knows we will make mistakes. He is not surprised when we stumble. Trust Him with your sin and humble yourself before Him. He is waiting with forgiveness, grace, and mercy that will cover over all of it.

FREEDOM in the midst of Mental Illness

FREEDOM pin post

If you deal with mental illness of any type, you know that feeling of being trapped.  Chained. Locked up in your mind.

Which leads to being locked up in other areas of your life.

Your heavenly Father does not intend for you to be a slave to ANYTHING.  He has paid the price to ensure your FREEDOM!

Is Mental Illness in the Bible?

And yet, even in the Bible there are stories of those who dealt with anxiety and depression. David. Elijah. Naomi. Job. Jeremiah.  I mean, come on, he was known as the “weeping prophet”!

In Psalm 34:18, David writes “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed” and in Psalm 69 he writes, “my eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to act.”

When Naomi returned to Bethlehem she said, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

After having won a triumphant victory over the pagan Baal prophets, Elijah goes on in I Kings 19:4 to wish for his own death!

Imperfect people in an imperfect world facing trials, temptations and tribulations.

Just like me. Just like you.

Now, is where you might expect me to say “with Jesus you can overcome”, and while that is true, our human understanding of overcoming may not look like God’s understanding.

What do you do when “healing” doesn’t come?

Mental Illness is not like a cold, or the flu, or a stomach virus.  Often there is no 100% cure.  There is medication to manage the symptoms, counseling to manage the emotions and behaviors…but it is not a process that has an end.  It is a life-long journey for most.

So where does this “freedom” I  mentioned come from?  If you cannot be completely healed of this disease, how do you break away from the chains?

Here are 4 things I have found helpful in my journey:

  1. Worship in the whirlwind. Rather than focusing on the brokenness, focus on Jesus. Play your favorite worship music, sing to Him or simply sit in silence as you reflect inwardly on His goodness and grace.
  2. Stay in the Word. Reading your Bible is one of the best ways to combat feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Scripture reminds us of His promises, of His faithfulness. (Revelations 21:4 and Psalm 27:1 are two of my favorites!)
  3. Remember the battle is the Lord’s. He fights for us. And the fight is not just in the physical…it is spiritual.
  4. Talk about it. Not just to your counselor. To a trusted friend. To your pastor. To yourself…journal your journey. More people in the church need to hear about others struggling so we can get rid of the stigma around this.

Your FREEDOM is waiting!

God accepts you as you are. Jesus died for you while you were still apart from Him as a sinner. You. Are. LOVED.  Your mental illness cannot take that away from you.

And that love is where you will find your freedom. He can handle your pain. Your tears. Your anger. Give it to Him.  He will give you rest.

P.S. – Please get help if you are dealing with depression, anxiety and especially suicidal thoughts.  (National Hotline 1-800-273-8255)

If you have been diagnosed, please continue your treatments in addition to the tips given here. One is not a substitute for another. Work with your doctors, counselors and your Lord for your best results.

 

 

What would God say about you?

Just what would God say about you? Perhaps you can tick off several characteristics, unflattering ones possibly.

“You don’t know the life I’ve led so far. I’ve wandered about as far from God as a person can go.”

Therefore, this question of what the Creator of the universe would say. Well, it is scary to you.

You are not sure at all what God would say about you. You believe there is a God, yet you are not really sure someone like you can actually call Him Savior. Father. Friend.

You are afraid you could be beyond His love.

I am here to tell you that it is not true. You could not be more wrong.

What God says about you

Can I share some things with you that I know God would say? I know because I have experienced these truths firsthand.

Psalm 139:14 confirms you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. You are loved without conditions by the One who created you.

You have a purpose and a plan. A destiny you have yet to fulfill that is ordained by God Himself.

God says you are “the apple of His eye”  (Deuteronomy 32:10), “blessed” (Galatians 3:9), and “chosen”  (I Thessalonians 1:4).

You are no accident, nor are you the sum of your past mistakes.

He loves you to death

God brought Himself to earth to live and die for you…you are LOVED.

When you believe in the name of Jesus, you are both “redeemed and forgiven”  (Ephesians 1:7).  He gives you grace so you can live life “unafraid” (Deuteronomy 31:6). You never have to feel alone again.

God “rejoices over you with joyful songs”  (Zephaniah 3:17)!  Read that again. God SINGS over you!

How amazing is that friend?!

You have worth and value to God… so seek Him, for you will find Him faithful…He loves you so much!

He thinks you are His beloved.

And so do I.