Friday, May 21, 2010
When life is pressing in... day four
I have my cell phone immediately at my side today for two reasons... Christopher is traveling a couple of hours to visit a friend at the Christian college he attends... while huge storms cover the area (not so good stress). A little girl is almost ready to make her way into the world as the entire family waits... and waits... including the said baby's mother who is ready to lighten the load (good stress).
Isn't it interesting how... in a week I decide to answer questions about how I handle stress... I have had far more than usual? As was said in one of the comments, it seems to work that way.
In the same week I have had a son in the emergency room, attended a funeral, spent hours with out-of-town family members (good but fatiguing), tried to re-do a budget hurt from the overdrafts, and taken care of a cat who is throwing up and having other "accidents" (twice on our bed). This morning we had to take her to the kitty hospital and have her admitted (no prognosis, yet).
I feel the familiar tension in my chest and the back of my neck. If the stress maker is sudden and particularly frightening, nausea can be a reaction and even a sense of feeling faint. I'm certain there is a medical reason behind all of this...
Some events of the week were wonderful, like spending time with my two nieces from Texas whom I haven't seen in years and Christopher meeting (for the first time) his oldest cousin who was at the memorial. A picture was taken of the youngest grandchild standing by the oldest grandchild (my oldest brother's daughter, about six years older than me) and the remarks about how you can tell they are family... as a multitude of point and shoot cameras were clicking away. Stories told to him about her days singing with Ricky Nelson and other former stars.
Many pictures for the nieces to take back home to Texas for the two siblings who could not make the trip, e-mail addresses exchanged, and the promise to send out "Friend Requests" among the younger cousins. Renewed relationships brought about by the death of another loved one.
The good with the not-so-good memories of family life long past and the tragedies and traumas which came with it. Fatigue became overwhelming as time away from home meant the inability to take care of everything at home "a little bit at a time". My laundry once again reproduced on its' own in the garage... as did the dishes in the sink.
How timely that I was going to share more today about the most important lessons learned to keep stress from finding a home in my heart...
The first... learn to forgive. One rarely is able to forget but one can make a decision to forgive. I most often do this by praying for the one who has hurt me with words or actions. If I find myself speaking of them in a not so kind way, I know I need to pray for them again. Some people (like my husband's sister) are very well prayed for. Forgiving does not mean what a person did was right... it sets you free.
The second... let it go. I know this can't ever happen in your home but in mine two people will disagree from time to time. When it is the two guys, I often tell them to "let it go"... most often what they are having conflict over is not important and even silly. Although I never argue about anything unimportant and silly (smile), I tell myself the same thing... take a breath and let it go.
I also find myself reliving past conversations or events, some happening a decade or more ago. Once again, I remind myself to let it go... forget it... release it from my mind... not to ponder it at all. What is past cannot be changed and reliving it only causes unnecessary stress.
The third... lasso in your thoughts as if you were in a rodeo. Imagine the rope pulling in all those wild thoughts and bring them back under control. The battle against stressful fear is in your mind and if you are like me... your imagination can run wild during times of stress.
I remember when we lived in Iowa (before the days of cell phones), my husband did not arrive home from a business trip when he should have. I later told him I had him dead, buried, and his insurance money spent by the time he walked in the door. :) Thoughts running wild can never result in faith and peace and we are only given grace for the day... on that day.
The fourth... do the opposite of what the enemy of our souls want us to do. For instance, if my husband is having a very bad day and harsh words are spoken... I take him a cup of coffee or tea. Of course, there is that brief moment I imagine pouring it on his head but I choose life and peace... and place it carefully on his desk. :)
This week, as finances are a burden, I shared extra food (which had been given to me) with my sister and took her the gorgeous English china plates I had purchased for her a couple of months ago at Goodwill for 99 cents each (and forgot all about them until I found them put back this week!).
It would be easy to hoard when in want, that is what the enemy of our souls wants us to do. No... that is just the time we must be sharing with others. It is remarkable what happens when we choose not to walk in fear but in faith... and give. It was so nice yesterday to see Bonnie serve the ham I had brought her, salads her daughter had made, and all on those pretty dishes.
We must remember when stressful days come that feeling tension and exhaustion does not indicate a lack of faith. No, feelings of faith returns as we spend time reading God's Word and talking to Him and listening to good music and perhaps talking to a friend. We lack faith when we let the feelings remain and turn into bitterness and fear. Faith and fear cannot live in the same room.
So, what am I doing this evening? I have dinner in the Crock Pot and while my husband drives to the veterinarian's office to see if we can bring our girl home, I am making a cake. A load of laundry is in the wash, to be dried in the morning. A pillow will be brought to the sofa and a biography finished. Christopher has called and arrived at his destination safely. My first evening in awhile to stay inside and rest and follow my own advice.
Picture: Sent by e-mail years ago from a
dear friend who knew it would make me smile