Saturday, August 30, 2008

More thoughts on the Spirit

All this thinking was started for me, by pondering the Spirit and Its/His work in our lives. I see the power living in us in a whole new way these past few months.

As I have talked about before, I believe that sometimes our "stress" can be linked to the Spirit's prompting. We feel a sense that things are unsettled, not comfortable, "not right" for one reason or another, and it could be the Spirit trying to lead us to pay closer attention to something or someone.

One thing that has really struck me the past couple of weeks, is how we as Christians are connected to each other. As Paul prays for his growing ministry of brethren, he says, "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus." (Romans 15:5)

And he exhorts the Christians in Ephesus, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:2

I have been struck by a powerful realization that the Spirit, an element of GOD is living in me, and that same Spirit lives in my brothers and sisters in Christ..the same Spirit.

And, as this Spirit is part of God himself..He has the character of God. That, being all-knowing, all-seeing and all-hearing.

Now, my natural self is guided by my mind, my heart, and my emotions. I tend to follow the path of knowledge based choices when making a decision when to call a friend (when I know they are in pain, or struggling), or when to challenge a sister (when I know they being challenged by a sin). As humans we know how to think, plan and execute with our minds based on our knowledge.

However, God calls us to unity of Spirit. What has struck me, is that because the Spirit in me is the same as the Spirit in you, and because the Spirit is God and therefore knows all things, then when the Spirit feels something for another believer, it can be communicated to me through that same Spirit.

How often has a sister unexpectedly come to mind? When your MIND has no reason to THINK that there is a need for prayer. When you dont KNOW of any reason why you feel heavy hearted for a husband, friend or child ..yet you do.

How often have we talked ourselves out of anxiety related to someone? How often do you worry or fret for no apparent "reason" to do so?

Could it be that your unified Spirit is feeling those things, and because you are connected to them that way you feel what the Spirit feels?

It makes me rethink those times when my heart feels heavy for no discernible reason that my mind can come up with.

I am always so touched to ponder how God has set up this system of support between His children.

"There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:4-6

Friday, August 15, 2008

Destress Emotions

How often does our stress come from the other emotions that we deal with on a regular basis? We feel so much, so often. Our happiness, sadness, worry and anxiety is most of the time more intense than our male counterparts.

As if thats not enough, we cant ever seem to get in a rhythm with our emotions!

Our emotions are effected by so many factors aside from the emotion triggers themselves. We have so many physical intricacies that cause us to see things totally different from one moment to wonder we are mess much of the time! :)

It is so important to remember that we are unique beings..our bodies produce triggers for emotions that are apart from the situations themselves.

Part of destressing our emotions is being aware when our bodies are contributing more than our hearts are!

Next time you feel overwhelmed, easily irritable, "on the verge" ..consider some reasons besides the situation you are in for feeling the way you do:

* Are you dehydrated? ..water plays a HUGE role in your mental health!
* Are you hormonal? ..this needs no explanation, buts its a valid consideration
* Is your blood sugar low? ...have you eaten today? of the first signs for a diabetic of their blood sugar being out of wack is their irritability!
* Are there underlying emotional causes? the current emotion the REAL issue, or are you worried, anxious or concerned about something else entirely?
* Have you centered your day on God? ..feeling overwhelmed can be the Spirit's way of reminding you to focus on what is really important today!

And finally,

If you feel this way on a regular basis, despite these monitors..check with your physician and make sure there isnt a medical reason you feel so bad! I did this about a year ago, to find that I had hypothyroidism. Once I was on some medication, my world became more manageable!

We must control our emotions if we are going to control our stress, ours and everyone's around us! :)

Another quick thought...these are great ways to give an ounce of forgiveness to those around us who are being overly-emotional! We arent the only ones dealing with emotional stress!


Clutter effects all of us differently. It takes varying degrees of clutter to cause stress in our lives. Some of us may feel overwhelmed with a newspaper being on the floor, whereas another gal may be fine as long as there is a path through the room.

The truth is, though, is that eventually clutter adds stress to all of our lives!

We need a degree of order. I believe that God calls us to that. Look at His creation, where things are in perfect harmony and working systematically effecting everything around it (sing it with me..the CIRCLE of life!) . He calls for order in our worship. He calls for rules, regulations, guidelines. He uses clear cut instructions to the Jews in the Old Testament.

God likes order.

Because we are of His nature, a part of us craves this order.

Again, we feel this in varying degrees, but I believe in all of us lies a person desiring to have order in their lives.

Clutter is an outside evidence of a lack of order. It can take over our homes, stress our spirits, and be fuel for negative thinking when we allow it to.

Getting control of our clutter can be a major destressing activity! But, it can be a huge STRESSOR too if you let it get overwhelming!

Some tips,
  • Dont attack all of it at once! Pick a room, section of a room, closet, drawer..and do it a little at a time
  • USE THE TIMER! Set your timer for 10 or 15 minute increments. Its amazing what you can get done in a small amount of time with a little focus.
  • Use ..she can help break it down and help you get control a little at a time
  • Be attentive to areas that are suseptible, and try to keep those places under control every day. Flylady calls them "Hot Spots". For me, its my bar, and having it decluttered everyday is a destressor for me!
There are so many kinds of clutter, and every one of them can benefit from our attention! So, destress your home this week by giving clutter its due!

Monday, August 11, 2008

DeStress: Mind

In our ladies bible class we are discussing Godly management of our minds. Its an interesting topic, and one that has really been on my mind. The whole topic can be based solely on the verse,

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philipians 4:8

This section of scripture has life-changing potential! I have always loved, and often pondered this verse. It wasnt until this week that I read further, and discovered a little gem I had not noticed the end of verse 9..

".. And the God of peace will be with you."

Makes sense right?

If we were to focus on getting rid of the anxious, degrading, mumbling, negative, self-critical, suspicious thoughts that we have ..what peace of mind we would find!

Everything starts with your frame of mind.

If you participated in the exercise that began this "de-stress" quest, by paying close attention to the causes of stress, then you may already understand what I am saying. Just by taking the time, tuning my brain to pay attention to that one thing, my eyes were opened to a whole battle's worth of Satan's darts.

Once my mind was aware, it has changed every aspect of my life. Truly.

When you attend to your mind, keeping your focus and calling your thoughts to into account our hearts are close to follow.

So, this week pay close attention to where your mind goes. Measure it against the ruler of whether it is lovely, praiseworthy, noble, true, right, admirable, pure and excellent.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Stressor ALERT: Perfectionism

I am not a perfectionist. I dont mind if things are perfect, though I do like them done well. I dont mind, letting good enough be good enough if it IS my good enough at the time. I can settle for things being less than perfect when working on a project or something. My drawers do not have to be in perfect order, my house is not spotless all the time, nor am I wrinkle-free at all times.

I do not push myself to the point of perfection most of the time. But, I do struggle from time to time with perfectionism in a different form. That is, if I cant do something 100% all the time, its not worth doing at all.

I struggle with at times, thinking, "I have already blown my diet today, so I will just eat this whatever." Or, "I already missed my chance to get three workouts in this week, so I will try again next week." Or, "I havent read my bible every day this year, I got behind so that is another year I failed at that!"

Can you relate? I sure can (of course, I wrote it.)

But I have noticed lately, that there are alot of things that I DONT do because I didnt do it all the way I wanted to. I use the fact that I failed before, to excuse me from making the effort right now. Its a destructive habit!

It prevents us from moving forward doing things we KNOW we should do, frozen by a sense of failure before we begin. We cant clean the WHOLE house right now, so why worry about any of it?! I cant catch up on ALL the laundry, so why put that one basket away? I have already had two pieces of cake, why stop now? There is no way I can get 8 glasses in today, so why drink this one right now?

In the effort to get rid of my excuses, I have working on paying attention to times I do this. I have found ALOT of them!

Also, I have been working doing it ANYWAYS! So what, if I cant take the time to clean the WHOLE bathroom right now? At least the toilet will be clean! I cant fold all the laundry, but I can I do what I can in 5 minutes.

By getting rid of this mentality that its all or nothing, we can actually find ourselves just a tad closer to our goals that when we started..if not all the way there yet.

So, this week practice being aware of those times when your desire for perfection gets in the way, and then work on that not keeping you from completing those tasks that make you feel like you are working toward a more simple life!

Above all, remember ...""My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

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