Archives For stressed

December, oh how I love you! It brings colder weather, Chase’s birthday, snow on occasion and the Christmas season! It really is my favorite time of the year! The joys of bundling up with a good book in hand while the fireplace sends off it’s warmth, decorating the Christmas tree, shopping for loved ones in wonderfully decorated stores that are playing those catchy Christmas tunes. And you can’t forget all the fun Christmas movies that are always a great addition to this time of year! There is only one thing that puts a damper on this glorious season… STRESS! We all get stressed from time to time. Those packed shopping malls can be the cherry on top of a stressful sundae. You all know what I am talking about… the crowded walk ways that no one can ever get through without feeling squished. Then there are all the other stresses that can come around this time… budgeting for presents. We all want to be able to afford to give everyone we love something nice for Christmas, but on a nice fee-sable budget The last thing anyone wants is to give a gift that screams budget.

While most of these things are never really that big of a deal, when the moment comes that we feel overwhelmed the stress has finally come and everything is a big deal! Here is a confession… when I am stressed chocolate and I are best friends-especially Reese’s peanut buttercups! I know, this is a terrible habit to form. It’s either the chocolate or crying. Well this month I am attempting to tackle this issue! Month two of my Searching for Simplicity began this week and I am doing the stress fast. Yes, I am well aware that I can not prevent from stressful situations coming my way, but that is not the point of this fast. This month is all about being intentional in how we respond to stress, making it a habit to run to God in prayer instead of our typical responses.

This fast is all about setting aside seven times in my day for prayer, praying over specific subjects during each prayer time. Currently my alarms are set for midnight, 6:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., noon, 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.! Yes that’s right, my alarm is set for midnight! It won’t be easy, but already in the first week I am amazed at what I have begun to learn about myself, but that I will share with you another time!

 

Photo Credit: Allie Caulfield

“God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.” 1 Corinthians 12:6 (NLT)

Today was one of those days where nothing seemed to go my way. First off I have been waiting for a phone call from a doctor that I was referred to so that I can make an appointment, well they called and I got to make my appointment…. for four months from now. That’s right you read that correctly, FOUR months! That really frustrated me and it was at the beginning of my day. When I tried to see about getting put on a cancellation list in hopes of possibly having the chance of getting an appointment sooner they proceeded to tell me that they do not have one of those lists and to just call and check in with them. Lovely, I guess I get to just call daily and ask about any cancellations.

Then, while Eli was taking his nap I got on the computer to do some work and guess what… the software I needed to use wasn’t on the computer and I thought it was. It felt like the sarcastic little cherry on top of that frustrating ice cream sundae which felt like my day. My husband assured me that this evening he would be able to put the program onto the computer which is great, it just was not what I wanted to deal with at the moment.

While these two events were not the only part of my day they were still big issues that happened that really frustrated and discouraged me. I have to just remind myself that God is in control! No matter how frustrated I get or don’t understand, He sees the big picture and everything will work out according to His awesome plan! And for those that were wondering my day did eventually get better.

Photo Credit: Becky Wetherington

Change the Cycle

January 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 (NIV) 

Today has been the day for us to get back into our usual routine after the holidays. We have either had family in town or was out-of-town ourselves. It has been a great time spending Christmas and the New Year with family, Eli even took his first steps while we were visiting Chase’s grandparents! Today while Eli took his nap I took down the Christmas decorations. Is it just me or does the house seem really empty when the tree gets put up for another year? It’s like there is a giant empty spot now in my living room that is usually there unless its December and the tree is up. As I look at that empty space I am trying to figure out what to fill it with but I know I will do what I always do… nothing and eventually it will look like normal until it is time for the tree to go up again. It’s a never-ending cycle that I am sure I am not alone in. While I am sitting here writing, something came to me about this cycle, it’s a lot like life. How so? Well if your like me there are some days where you feel like you don’t have enough minutes in the day. (I know I was that way Christmas Eve… trying to clean, wrap gifts, do laundry etc.) Then there are other days where you might find yourself with a few extra minutes. What do we do with those minutes? Turn on the tv, play on the computer, read, call someone or probably any number of other things and so we fill up that extra space of time until we are full and can move on with our day and then the cycle continues again. Today while I was thinking about all this I decided how great it would be to break that cycle! What if instead of filling up our every minute of every day we take those extra precious moments and praise God, read his word, listen to Him and even just rest… yes I said rest, sometimes resting is what we need too. It doesn’t have to take long to say a prayer or even listen to a favorite worship song. What can we teach our kids when we live our lives in a way that shows that we don’t constantly have to be entertained by something but yet using the time given to us wisely and in praise of our God!?!

Photo Credit: Leland Francisco

“A place for everything, everything in its place.” Benjamin Franklin 

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” Lily Tomlin

I am sitting next to a pile of clean clothes that are just waiting to be folded and put away. There are days where I wish the laundry would just do itself, along with the house cleaning too. I know I am not alone in this thinking. Here ‘s a funny fact about me you may not know. When my husband and I first got married I was obsessed with cleaning and having everything in its place. I have always been like that, but I think the reason it was so magnified was that we lived in a 500 square foot apartment. A place that small only takes one thing out-of-place to feel like a mess. I also loved cleaning, probably the most when we lived there because it took a total of 45 minutes to clean, and that was a deep clean too. Gradually as we have moved to bigger places things have changed. I still love a clean home, I still believe everything has a place and it should be in that place. But, the intensity of it has changed. Having a child who is at the age that he is crawling around and wanting to explore also makes it hard to have everything in its place all day long. Now I keep things picked up as we go and put away the big toys at nap time and bedtime. I think it is safe to say that my husband would tell you its a good balance now. Before I used to get flustered over the clutter, which would make me go in my crazy cleaning mode often because I couldn’t relax. That perfectionist in me just couldn’t relax if our home wasn’t just right. Now, we have a clean home, things get put up as they go and I am able to sit back and enjoy family time instead of stressing over the things still needed to be put away. We all learn these lessons as we go. I learned over the years that life is too short to be stressed and obsessed over the imperfections. Its more important to enjoy the blessings of each day.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 (NIV)

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” Luke 12:25 (NIV)

I believe that we all have specific struggles that are harder for ourselves than they might be for other people. Certain things are just not a struggle for some people and I think that we all have certain struggles so that it causes us to lean on God more, trust Him and have faith. As many of you know from earlier blog posts I struggle with anxiety/worry. I believe this is my hurdle that I am supposed to over come with God’s help. To be honest there are some days or weeks that are great, it feels like it isn’t even work. But then there are other days when it feels like I am right back at the beginning before I ever even realized this was my struggle, having anxiety and worrying over everything. I pray pretty much every day that God will take this struggle away and heal me of it. I keep praying and waiting. Last night though God brought something to my attention. Before He will heal me of this I first have to realize that I have to give everything to God and believe in His power, authority and plan for my life. See, here was my problem… when there would be something that I would start to worry about my husband would tell me to pray about it and my response would be… of course I’ll pray, but it may not be in God’s plan. What I kept telling myself was that I would pray about the situation but it didn’t mean that the horrible wasn’t still God’s plan. I realized last night that deep down I was never truly letting it go and giving it to Him. I was almost afraid that if I did then that would mean the bad would have to happen, almost like He would test me instantly of my faith by making the worst occur. I know this is not how He works, I know that because I put my faith in Him does not mean that the worst will automatically happen to test my faith, yet for some reason I was telling myself it was. This is what it came down to last night when God was opening my eyes… I can not change anything by worrying or having anxiety, I am only hurting myself. When I give my fears to Him and truly give them up then He will give me peace and the strength to get through anything that comes my way. Good and bad will happen, that is just part of life, but when I live in peace and faith in God then I will be able to face any circumstance head on. And most important (for me)… God will not make my worst nightmares come true once I give it all to Him, He loves me beyond understanding so if something bad happens He will carry me through!