Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stress Relief

This is Ann's latest, from the Holy Experience Blog. The post includes a picture of a cat up on a power line, which didn't copy.

Begin post:
We're racing home from music lessons, and my mind's racing too: pressure cooker's already on the stove whistling with the roast; I'll have to scrub up the spuds as soon as I get in the door -- have Tall Girl and Farmer Boy work on math, Little Child on phonograms --- then slip in another load of laundry and hang the wet on the racks while the potatoes boil.
Check answers on fractions and division, make next appointment for the orthodontist, do some follow up with the church's memorization ministry, see if Farmer Husband called the vet and when he's coming.

Just Inhale.

We're coming down the hill, curving round at Bobby Johnson's corner and I exhale, let it all go.

"Stress isn't a situation. Stress is a state of mind." I breathe deeply. Am I the only one who preaches aloud to myself? Who talks myself down...

"And state of mind is all choice. Choose to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ, the Person of Peace. I can choose stress thoughts... or I can choose Peace in this place."

Deep breath in, deep breath out. I'm all here and so is He and there's no fear.

I'm slowing down after the bend, there by the Lutheran Church next to the woods, its white steeple and darkened bell stark against winter sky. The wooden white Cross at the steeple's peak is outlined by the scudding of clouds, grey and low. Stress deceives: There are no emergencies.

The winds winding through the cemetery on the far side of the country church and I'm thinking: Doesn't urgency over everything imply that God's in control of nothing? Or do we secretly like blustering about perpetually stressed --- because we suppose it's evidence of the pressing importance of our work? And yet if I'm on edge, doesn't that mean I'm not centered in Him?

I slow to pass by a hamlet of a handful of houses, the grain elevators at the edge of hardly-village. The musicians in the back seat loudly sing scales and I rowdily join in, feel myself scaling down, tension draining way.

God invites us to abandon worries and come abide.

I'm thinking all this about stress not being a function of environment, but a function of thinking patterns, and how to happily abide and lean back into Him, just before I turn at our gravel sideroad and that's when I look up and see it, perched there atop the hydro lines, February winds bearing down.

Sometimes God needs interrupt your personal sermon and shake you awake with a startling visual.

I get it, I get it! Stress isn't a situation, only a state of mind. And my mind can choose the peace of God that passes all understanding....

Peace even in what appears, for all intents and purposes, (at least to us amatuers)to be a bona fide emergency!

Lord, cause me to abandon and abide. Even when things look just a tad bit tense around here... especially then!

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