Tag Archives: stress

Can I Quit?

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George S. Patton said to “Accept the challenges so you can feel the exhilaration of the victory.” I never knew I accepted any challenge until recently, and by recently, I’m talking within the past couple years. I remember weighing my options regarding this illness:

1. Give up.

2. Keep going.

The first “option” really didn’t seem all that appealing to me. I’m not a quitter, although I had to quit my job. (I also had to work on forgiveness for my former employer as no one, to this day, has ever once checked on me after I keeled over while working. That’s another post…maybe.) I watched as the pen I was using to write a speech therapy report fell from my hand onto the desk. It was a very surreal moment because I worked with stroke rehabilitation and if you know me at all, it takes a lot to stress me. I thought, “Well, that’s interesting.” After a moment to get my bearings–whatever those are, I don’t even know if I have any—I got up from my chair, but only for a moment as my legs decided to stop doing what they were made to do as well. I collapsed to the floor. I don’t know how long I was there as I was in the office on a Sunday, (this is a red flag some of you may pick up on. I was working A LOT.) so I don’t remember many people being around, but I knew there were no other therapists. I had just graduated with a degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences as a speech pathologist and loved working on stroke rehabilitation with the elderly. I believe they have so much wisdom to offer.
After a while on the floor, I was able to get up; it was almost like my battery had recharged. I got into my car (in hindsight, this was not a good idea.) I drove for maybe 4 blocks and stopped at a car wash to cry and pray. My arms weren’t working well enough to hold the steering wheel and my legs didn’t seem to have the energy to press the gas pedal. It was the oddest sensation as I didn’t have the strength to make my body do what I wanted it to. I remember praying because it was a 25-minute drive home and I knew my husband was sleeping as he had worked third shift the previous night. (Maybe subconsciously this is why I detest that shift. Hmmm…)
I arrived home only by the grace of God as I don’t remember leaving that car wash. I remember wishing someone would stop, anyone to ask if I needed help. I was so scared, but I “do things afraid” all the time. Something in my spirit told me I’d be ok and I can’t describe it any better than that. You might hear Christians say that they “know that they know that they know” and this is how I felt. (The first time I heard that, I wanted to slap the person on the back. I thought they were stuck somehow.) Looking back, God had my hand in this journey all along and I am so very thankful for His mercy.

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Anxiety-Ridden Self

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I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about anxiety. Or rather, a lot of people speaking with anxiety in their voices. They don’t even know it’s there a lot of times. There’s a certain underlying worry that goes along with humanity at times and I think we just accept it unknowingly if we’re not aware. To be human does not equal to be a big, anxious “hot mess.” I am a huge fan of words, more so positive words, and if you say this phrase around me, I can’t guarantee you won’t see my eyes roll back in my head. If your self-talk (you know the voice in your head all day) keeps claiming you’re a “hot mess” and how stupid you are or act, that’s what you’re going to believe. Many times, we don’t even know we believe the way we do about ourselves and I’m here to tell you today (I just changed my self-talk voice to “Guy on Informercial”-mode) YOU are in charge of that inner voice. You get to change your anxiety level. You. You get to decide.
Just like if you play the recording of the negative stuff over and over, if you say the good stuff, “I am the head and not the tail” “God takes care of me” “I will not fail” and a personal favorite: “I was born for this!” it changes your mindset. This will change your anxiety level. Don’t let yourself of all people keep you from what you want. Isn’t that silly? We are the ones who can stress us out the most, aren’t we? My mom used to say “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.” That includes TO yourself. And let’s be honest, if you’re not nice to yourself and you have to spend all day with you, that’s a pretty big beat down. Every single day. So talk yourself up. Be kind to the one God created. He didn’t do it by accident. You have a purpose and a plan and nothing can stand in the way of that…unless you allow it.

Recognize

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While reading in Jonah, the book I’ve been stuck in for awhile now (better than a big fish, right? Yuk yuk) it hit me that Jonah didn’t know that he was getting out of that fish.He had no idea what the outcome would be. We know the end of the story and have for years, except for maybe the actual “vomit” part…they left that out when I was a kid. We realize he got out and finally did what God asked him to do. But while in the whale (and please don’t argue with me about what kind of fish it was…I’m not concerned about that.) Jonah had some time to think. God gifted him with that time by providing the huge creature. Does anyone else find that amazing and hilarious? My NIV study Bible literally says that He “provided a great fish to swallow Jonah” (Jonah 1:17) God does provide, I’m just wondering if Jonah had to laugh at the irony while covered in muck.

In all of his pondering, he had to disregard what his senses told him. He had to focus on the why, not the scary sights,eery sounds,and nasty smell. (I won’t go into the other senses but to say”taste” EW!) He had to control his thoughts and cry out to the One Who created that fish for help. So, quite a few hours/days, he spent crying, praying, and giving thanks. I would think that would lead to some pretty enlightening epiphanies.It wasn’t that he didn’t recognize where he was, Jonah knew good and well that he was literally in the pit of this big guy’s stomach, but he also began to recognize Who had the power and Who had possession.He eventually grasped the fact that God had ownership of the seas and the sailors that had hurled him into the vicious waves. This God knew Jonah. He knew him better than he could ever possibly know himself. All he could do in this moment of recognition was to confess and ask forgiveness. He had to shake his head and wonder what took him so long to understand. He finally comprehended that God would go to any lengths necessary to not only show His love for one of His kids, but for all of them.

As an added bonus to God’s plan, because once Jonah got that he was lost, he recognized that others were lost exactly like he was. Salvation comes from the Lord and all it took was a few days and nights in the stomach of a sea creature for him to see that very, very clearly. My absolute favorite line in this book is “What I have vowed I will make good.” Jonah was speaking of the promises he made to God during his special one-on-one time that the Creator made possible. (Hehe) How many times have we promised things to God and not made good? God recalls and makes good on His promises each and every day, no matter our scenery or situation.He has made so many vows to us when we certainly don’t deserve them. My goal today is to just be, where I am, whether I like that place or not, and give thanks to the God Who deserves each and every one.

Hide and Seek

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Life gets rough sometimes. I’m sure that’s not a newsflash to most. Whether you have money or none, material things by the truckload or little, are full of health or on your deathbed, this life is not easy. It’s when the road we’re traveling gets extra bumpy that we can get to choose. We can choose to lose it or we choose to follow the advice we would give our best friend in crisis or a toddler when they fall: Get up. GET up! When we fall down, we get back up. Shake it off. (I apologize for any of you who know the song and now have it stuck in your head for the next 72 hours.) What has happened to you does not define you. What you do is not who you are. What you’ve been through is different than what you’re going through. And you’re doing JUST that: you’re going through it. This situation is not where you stop. This isn’t where your plane lands. It’s plowing right through. It  may not be smooth-sailing, but you’re still sailing through. Now, 10 points for anyone who noticed I just referenced life to three different vehicles: a plane, a tractor, and a boat.)

When life gets rocky, we go to the Rock. We look to the One Who created us to recharge us and give us that peace that we simply can’t get anywhere else. Our hope, yes, we are still called to have hope in light of situations around us, is in Him. I personally don’t believe that means we have to wear a plastered grin on our weary face 24-7. The words we speak are meant to bring others up and show everyone that He is Who He has always been, not a mean, unjust Creator, but a loving and compassionate one that is tired of watching us try to do everything on our own. He is our tower, our strength, our shelter and so much more.

This world is not our home, but it is where we live right now. God’s yoke is easy and His burden light. Why do we feel so weighed down if this is the case? Because we’re trying to take on the world and change it to suit our liking. We want to mold and reform people into the way we want them to look. All spit-shined and polished so we can stand proud and say, “Look what I, er, I mean, God did!” Eek. Can we let God work in His own timing and in the way He wants to so badly? Can we “judge not, lest (we) be judged”? It’s not about us, it’s all about Him and His glory. If we’re struggling to find that place we can run and not grow weary, maybe it’s because that hiding place we seek is behind us. Perhaps we don’t have to look up, we need to look behind us and see God, our Father, calling us back to Him. Have you left the Rock that you used to run to? It’s really easy to find your way back. The path isn’t hidden at all. It’s the one in plain sight that you’ve traveled before. We know what to do. Turn back to His face, grab ahold of His hand, and let Him lead you into rest and peace. That peace is unexplainable and we’re called to show the world that peace in the face of terror, ugliness, hateful acts, and crime.

His Will and Caffeine

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Leave me alone, I grumble under my breath. Get out of my way, I say in the most polite way possible. STOP talking to me, I think to myself, as I reach for my first cup of coffee. I just want some time, no, NEED some time to myself. To think, to wake up, to scratch. Instead, I have 2 toddlers, 1 much like me (cuddling in the lazy recliner grunting to any passersby) and the other, much like her father (awake, alert, ready to take on the day joyously). “Mom, do cheetahs lay eggs? What’s your favorite color? Can I have a cereal bar? One time, at school, my cookie was melted and I had to wash my hands. Can I have another cereal bar? Mom? Mom? MOM!?!”

I have always been one to enjoy my quiet time. I don’t feel the need to fill up every moment with words. I like to reflect, ponder, and pause. I have found that if I don’t, I am a grump. Unfortunately, I have not had the time. And yes, my facial expression resembles that of Oscar from Sesame Street. I am in no way ready for my day if I don’t make time to check in with myself and God.

This brings me to what I believe God asked me to do: Get out of bed AND get out of it EARLIER. (To which I said, “Whaaaaa? I don’t think I heard You correctly.” I then proceeded to give a list of excuses, including, I have 2 toddlers. (I’m pretty sure He already knew this, being Creator and all.) I go to bed late. (Simple fix, I heard.) I’m exhausted already. (Because you’re not doing what I asked.) Um…uh…Ok, OK. Begrudingly, which is far from cheerfully if you know what I mean, I agreed. So, tom morning, I will be waking at 5. I tried for 6 and even 5:30, but God isn’t the typical negotiator. Grr. Ok, 5 it is. The absolute hilarious side of this enthralling story is I’ve done this before. I woke at 5, every morning because God told me to. Know what happened? I got TONS accomplished. I had more energy than I knew what to do with. I talked with God, laying all my fears and worries out in the open. Then I listened to Him reassuring me of Scripture like Phillipians 4:13 and that I could do anything as long as He was with me. I learned things I couldn’t possibly have learned from any other book than His Holy Word. Why, you may wonder, did you stop? Exactly. All I can figure is it involves what the Bible calls “flesh.” I had to kill it then, meaning I don’t always do what I want to, I do what HE wants me to. I would much rather lounge in bed, contemplating how I can procrastinate cleaning out the fridge yet again, but God wants us to give Him the firsts. First fruits, first of the day, first 10%. (That’s another day’s article.) So, tomorrow begins a new journey. One that God’s leading the way, with His dear disheveled daughter padding behind Him in holey house slippers, searching for His will and caffeine.

Lacking Motivation

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I’ve heard it said, or sung, “Lord, I hope this day is good” and I find myself hoping the same thing today. My motivation to do anything has taken a hit lately. My body hurts. My head feels funny, and not in a good way. My face’s natural position is a frown. I have to fight to accomplish anything. I don’t wanna do anything. Meh…

And then, I took 10 minutes to yell to God for help. And all of this came to mind:

Don’t accept the thoughts the enemy is putting on you. Don’t let all that junk become who you are. It is not. When God saved you, you became flawless. There is nothing you can’t handle. You ARE motivated. You can do absolutely anything. He accepts you just as you are. Don’t put things off. “Get after it!” As someone from a previous generation might say. Smile. A frown is NOT natural. You have a LOT to smile about. No one can take what God has given to you. You are poised, confident, successful, happy, motivated, and able to accomplish all tasks set before you.

That’s truth. If you don’t recognize it and/or the lies are easier to believe, take a few minutes today to sit in silence. Be still, knowing that He is God. Listen to what He has to tell you instead of all the other garbage.

Be Still and Know

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Once in a great while, we get to watch as God uses someone that no one expected Him to. No one really sees it coming. It could be the man on the barstool or the woman who introduces herself to men by sleeping with them. It might be the homeless family that lives in a tiny car or the baby that simply wasn’t “supposed” to be conceived or survive the procedure. One thing I’ve noticed is He isn’t using the individuals that appear to have it all together. God is perfect, but we don’t have to be. That’s not what He’s looking for to further His Kingdom.

So many believe, whether they’ll admit it or not, that we are to clean ourselves up, spit-shined and polished, before we could ever even talk to God. Our image of Him is skewed in that sense. He doesn’t expect us to wait until we’ve got it all together. He is not the One Who puts that thought into our heads, but He is the One desperately trying to convince us of His love. That perfect love that we can’t buy or get anywhere else, not even the store that begins with “W”. We can’t be who we are with anyone else until we are ourselves with Him. Freedom comes in admitting that our true selves could never be cleaned up enough to be in His Holy Presence anyway.

We live in a day where nothing is holy. We no longer know the meaning, if we ever did. Before cell phones, Facebook, reality TV, and YouTube, there were certain areas of our lives we kept private, secret even. We did not tell a soul about what we had for lunch, how our bodies felt, the man who cut us off in traffic, or our deep revelations pertaining to french fries.

I believe we, as a whole, are searching for holiness. That place where we can get quiet and just be. “Being still and knowing that He is God” isn’t getting any easier. We have to take the time (our most precious commodity) to learn how. It doesn’t come easily or naturally but He’s got it under control. He loves us. He didn’t make any promises about how easy life was going to be. He never said we wouldn’t get sick, we wouldn’t lose people we loved dearly, and we wouldn’t have reasons to get discouraged.

It is in these times that we grow and change as we are molded into the willing vessels that God can use. God’s favor falls on each of His believers daily. We pray, recognize the power of God and His favor, and put into practice His beliefs. We get to know Him and find out what those deeply rooted beliefs are. We accept and wholeheartedly believe that He has the best plan, then move forward with that plan, whether one step or the entire layout is revealed to us. We are so blessed. Don’t waste time entertaining the notion of anything otherwise.

This article is dedicated to a loving friend, Sam Myers, who made the dash between these two dates count, May 31, 1950-May 17, 2014. Sam was the epitome of worship to me and remains an ever-present reminder that God willingly changes individual lives in a radical way, whereby creating a path for those individuals to allow God to change more lives. My heart aches each time I think about our loss here on Earth. I will forever miss that gorgeous smile that radiated a fierce love for others and His Savior, but I smile myself when I picture him lifting his arms and dancing as he worships the God he lived for in God’s very presence.