Life, Natural Living

Stress

I feel like we hear about the consequences of a stressful lifestyle a lot; it raises your risk of heart disease, lowers your immune system, & really does nothing good for you. But knowing that, at least for me, doesn’t diminish my stress level (if anything, it may raise it!)

For most of my life, I feel like I’ve been a pretty high-stress person. Not because there’s necessarily anything terribly stressful going on, but I guess I just don’t handle the every day stress of life very well or something. Little things I need to get done or remember just bounce around my head nagging at me not to forget them. And ultimately I just feel stressed out – I feel on edge, my body is usually tense, & it sucks.

For years I’ve been trying to “relax” but I just feel like I can’t, that being a little on the edge is just part of my personality or something. But at the same time I know that the Holy Spirit fills us with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness & self control.” So I wasn’t content to just settle in my old way of life when I know Jesus died to give me this abundant life!

Three weeks ago Pastor Greg talked about a certain verse at church:

“Rejoice in the Lord always… Again Rejoice… Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer & petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

-Phillipians 4:4-7

I’ve heard this verse so many times & it’s always meant something to me, like “that’s nice, that’s how I should be, how I need to be.” but this time it was like I finally got it! I had a breakthrough, seriously! This verse is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for. I don’t want to be anxious or stressed, & I want the peace of God, which is beautifully illogical, guarding my heart & mind, everyday! And I found the key to living in His peace & presence – by prayer & petition, with thanksgiving, & rejoicing in the Lord. Literally.

Since then, I’ve been specifically thankful. I thank God for things all the time (God thank You for our beautiful home. Thank You that we have plenty of healthy food. Thank You for all of Landon’s jobs & that I get to stay home with Kaden. Thank you for our car. Thank You for my camera. Thank you that I have shoes. Thank you that I can read & write. Thank you for my family…) And I ask Him to take care of my concerns. And it’s made a HUGE difference! I feel so happy & relaxed. I’m not worried, I don’t feel tense, & I’m not stressed, & I feel so close to God. And it’s AWESOME!!!

Not only have I been way happier, but my health has gotten better too. The past couple of months I’ve been feeling a tightness in my chest, like I couldn’t take a deep breath, maybe like 25% of the time. That went away completely. And for the past 8 months or so I’ve had really dry, itchy, flaky skin on my right hand. I don’t know why, but it would itch so much I would wake up scratching it on the middle of the night & it would crack & bleed. I just realized yesterday that it’s completely better! I was shocked. And I have not changed anything except my outlook on life.

I’m not saying that I’m completely free of stress now; I still start to feel that tense, stressed out feeling building at the bottom of my chest every once in a while, at the same things that have always stressed me out, but now the second I recognize it I just start telling God the things I’m thankful for that moment (clean drinking water, my iPhone, sunshine, a washing machine & dryer, air conditioning, make up, gDiapers, music, etc.) & the feeling goes away IMMEDIATELY. It is so awesome. I love it & I’m so happy, & grateful. And now that I’ve seen my life can be this way I’m never gonna stop  🙂

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