Friday, 12 June 2009
STRESS OR BLESSing?
At home today due to another horrible sinus infection - so I although I know I should be resting (doctor's orders) I'm trying to tie up loose ends (in paperwork) before the term finishes.
I really struggle to relax. It's a standing joke in our house that even when I'm watching a lovely film and all cosy, I still clench my jaw. I don't even realise I'm doing it - until David nudges me and tells me to chill. I've been to countless physios about neck and back pain and guess what, they all say the same thing - "Try to relax"!
I have no idea why I hold my muscles so tightly, why I clench my teeth or why I have to consciously tell my brain to slow down.
"Jaws stay clenched and teeth grind at night when a person is chronically stressed." (Dr Don Colbert)Hey tell me something I don't know.
Did you know that adrenaline creates as powerful a high as morphine, and it affects the body chemically in much the same way, using the same receptors? Stress hormones act a little like a carrot held out just in front of a donkey's nose. If we ever get the carrot, we feel let down. The carrot isn't nearly as satisfying as we expected, but the chase for it was invigorating.
Perhaps I do know why I can't seem to relax - maybe, just maybe I've become addicted to stress hormones. I've lived at a heightened state of emotion for much of my life - dad's illness, family deaths, stressful work conditions, my own battle with depression and illness - am I addicted to my own adrenaline and cortisol? Hmmmm. I'm discovering that when you burn the candle at both ends, eventually those two burning ends will met each other.
At the root of a stress addiction is the need to feel good, or at least to feel better.
All negative, deadly emotions, to some extent, derive from our attitudes. Good news alert!!! Attitudes are something we can control! I can choose how I will think and feel about any circumstance, event or relationship in my life. We can choose to a very great extent how we deal with grief, resentment, bitterness, jealousy, guilt, fear, worry, depression, anger, hostility - and other emotional situations that can trigger physical responses.
So what do I do now? I'm going to spend as long as it takes (because this may take a long time) talking to my heart. King David did it - "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him for the help of His countenance" (Ps 42:5)
I'm going to voice to myself what it is that I feel most deeply (no matter how silly I feel)
Notice that David did not only admit to himself that he was downcast in his soul. He went on to tell himself, "Hope in God!" He then went on to say of his chosen course of action, "I shall yet praise Him for the help of His continence" He praised God not for a specific act that God had taken or would take, but for the sheer help of knowing that God was there with him.
So we could put it like this...
3 Steps in a Soul Conversation
1. Admit to yourself - say it aloud - what you are feeling.
2. Voice aloud your decision to hope in God.
3. Voice aloud your decision to praise God for who He is in your life. Acknowledge His nearness and continual availability to you.
David went on to say, "O my God, my soul is cast down within me, therefore I will remember you" (Ps 42:6)
Turn from speaking to yourself to speaking to God. Admit how you feel to God - make a decision to trust Him.
I'm preparing for a supernatural heart-soaking so that the pendulum of my heart and God's own beating heart can fall into a synchronized rhythm. When you experience God's peace, the heart communicates peace to every fiber of your being. When love fills your heart, your entire body takes something of an emotional plunge into healing.
Take a daily 'heart-soak' - I am X