Oct. 15, 2013
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Managing our emotional health is a challenge. It always surprises me … and frustrates me … how a bad apple can wreak havoc in my life. Seeming little things within a short time frame can quickly overload me. When I stop doing things that help keep a sense of balance, I go to this less stable place.
When I am emotionally overloaded, too often I choose to plop down in front of the TV. Or I smother my worries with fat and sugar. I lack the energy and motivation to exercise … and soon I’m on the gerbil treadmill of one bad choice feeding another.
What are we to do when we feel overloaded? First, admit we ARE overloaded. A part of me never wants to admit I can be overloaded. Realizing this is a first step. I cannot fix anything I do not acknowledge.
Take care of your spiritual life to shore up your emotional life when it is less than stellar. Pray, pray pray. Expect to have an insight from God. Expect God to speak to you through someone else. The irony is that when we feel emotionally vulnerable, we often give up our spiritual health, which makes us feel more miserable.
Next, get off the gerbil treadmill. Decide to take a walk outside. Go someplace less noisy and more reflective. Choose to eat healthy for one meal and then a day. Not a week, just one day. Make one good choice at a time. Expect no more.
Limit interactions with people who drain your energy. You know who those people are. You don’t have to answer their phone call immediately. Have a conversation with someone who gives you energy and then tackle the delayed conversation.
Take 30 minutes and do something just for you. My personal sanctuary is a wonderful bathtub at our house. Several years ago, Rick agreed to redo our bathroom so I could have a jetted bathtub. It is the best therapy session for me. When I slip into the tub filled with bubbles, I close my eyes and momentarily remove myself. I know when I climb out; pressing situations are still at hand. As I watch the bubbles escape down the drain, I visualize my stress draining away.
At times, we need professional help. Whether it’s a visit to your doctor or working with someone to help you make sense of stressful situations, resources are out there. It’s OK to use them.
For years, I had this mantra that “I could handle anything.” I am more realistic now. I know I don’t have to handle everything because I want Jesus to tackle stress with me. This, a few good friends, a few good bubble baths and a good night sleep if possible. I purposely do not drink alcohol when I’m feeling emotional vulnerable. I want to keep my head as clear as possible.
Too often, I hear, “The Bible says that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Actually, it is not biblical and there have been times when I’ve had to deal with more than I wanted to. I do not believe God always causes stress in my life. It can be a combination of my or other’s poor choices. I do not expect God to just wipe it away. What I hope to do is keep myself spiritually strong to muddle through.
Remind me again that when things seem so overwhelming, I truly am not alone. Be by my side constantly, Lord. Remind me of your presence. Amen.
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