Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Week 11: DeStress Relationships

Relationships with those around us are imperative to a deep relationship with God. It has always been part of his plan, that we come to know Him better through sharing with others, and encouraging each other with His promises. He uses each of us, to bring each of us closer to Him.

He desires a closeness with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and blesses those relationships with peace ..."Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:2-3

Related to stress and the use of our resources, relationships require a tremendous amount of resource, which often leads to stress. Remember, stress happens when resources aren't
available for reason or another for accomplishing what we need to. That relates to relationships when we desire or feel the need to have a certain type of relationship with someone and their simply is not the resource for it.

Whether it be our marriages, relationships with our children, sisters, friends ..whatever the case maybe. We need resources to nurture relationships with them. Often, we are unbalanced in which relationships we use our resources on. We often give resources, whether willingly or because it is demanded of us, to relationships that may be the best use of those resources if you consider that each and every resource is to be used for God's service.

Even Christian relationships often need to be evaluated. Some relationships with other Christian women, may not be the best use of the resources of our time, mental energy, emotional energy, or influence.

I can honestly say, that about 99% of my relationships are with Christian woman and men. Some of those relationships have to be monitored for use of my resources at times.

Some examples of when relationships may be using more resource than they need to be ..thus taking away from the relationships you need to be focusing on, or using your resources in other ways:

A christian sister whose friendship brings emotional turmoil, constant strife or conflict for some reason. ..Often, for no reason other than we have different perspectives, we may not get along with some people. Sometimes, a relationship, though we desire it on some level (because you need a friend, or you feel they need your friendship), simply is not worth the drain on resources. Being able to let a relationship like that go, is sometimes the best for your effectiveness in Christ.

A christian friend who asks or demands of your time, energy or efforts constantly ...we all know people like this, who demand of us beyond what we can give. For the sake of "service" we give to the point of bitterness or frustration. Often, we need to set healthy boundaries with these sisters, and be at peace with saying "no" when you really dont have what they need (without taking from those who you need to give it to the most).

A christian, or non-christian friend who is not an encouraging influence on your mind or spirit ...we all know that the people who we spend our time, energy and efforts on and with can influence us very strongly. Often, a relationship with someone who causes you to be weak in an area (i.e., gossip, negative thinking) may need to be limited for the sake of your own relationship with God.

A christian sister whose company and relationship you enjoy so much that you take resources from those who you need to be giving it to ...sometimes we need to create boundaries to save us from ourselves :) When we so much enjoy someone's company we may be tempted to give them more than we can really afford in terms of our resources.

These are just some of the relationships that you may need to be on the look out for as you seek to determine if you are using all your resources the best way possible.


I hope that you are able to identify areas that you are giving too much, and the areas that you are not giving enough. I pray that you are finding peace as you seek to make all the resources that God has blessed you with, to His glory.

As we wrap up this study has been a great 12 weeks! I hope that you found something that was helpful and beneficial for your walk with the Lord. I know I have learned a ton!

So, in closing ..."Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. " 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Resource Managment: Home

Our home can be a wonderful resource in the hands of our Creator. He has molded the idea of home since the beginning, when he gave Adam Eve and gave them children. That concept of home is something that is found throughout scripture, and so also the ways that God intends to use our homes.

As a teaching arena ..."These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deut 6:6-7.

There are so many things that our children are to learn from the protected environment of a Christian home. From there, we model godly marriage, godly conflict management, appropriate godly behavior, morals ...etc. The list is endless.

As a place to strengthen our family members ... All members of our families need to feel that home is place where they can come to recharge, remember the goals and be empowered. Of course, not all homes are like this ...but when God is there, the Spirit will move powerfully through its occupants.

Through our homes we can help our husbands to be stronger for their own personal battles, by provided a place where they can relax, be encouraged, be affirmed and their needs provided for. All these leads to stronger men, more godly fathers, and loving partners.

As a safe and protected place a friend of mine put it, "a safe haven, where the filter of what their parents think is appropriate" for their safety and character development. So many homes nowadays lack this very important element. Making our homes havens of rest, protection and calm is an important use of this resource.

There are so many ways that we can use our homes to glorify God ..these are just a couple that come to mind quickly. Any other thoughts?

Week 10: DeStress the Home

This post was orginally posted on June 24, 2008


So much
of my stress starts at home. I know that I am not the only one whose mood and attitude are determined by her surroundings. Chaos in my home breeds chaos of mind, spirit and body.

Destressing our homes is a long process. Certainly, it cant be dealt with in one post (or at least not one any of us would want to sit and read :) but we can attack it alittle at a time.

First, I have become aware during the study by Elizabeth Green (Life Management for Busy Women) how important it is to LOVE our homes. Just like the Proverbs 31 woman who set about with active passion to building her home, we need to be passionate about our homes.

Our homes are the launching pad for our very important work for the God we serve. Its the base for our fundatmental teachings our children will leave home with. Its the haven they, he and we will return to for rest. Its an active school for teaching and learning vital lessons of God's love and His truth.

Its an important place.

Its takes work and passion to maintain and develop it into something more than four walls. It is not a passive process, but an active one where you as the "Home Manager" are constantly aware of what the residents' needs are, and how they are met. Its a place which is worth the stress and energy to make a haven of peace for your family.

So, we first must realize who important our homes are. And, how important it is that our homes are a place of peace, and not a generator of stress for those who belong there.

A home at peace breeds less stress for everyone involved, breeding a better enviroment for learning and teaching of those therin.

So, where do we start?
First, I would suggest that you ponder for a moment what about your home as whole breeds choas, or lack of peace.
Is it the clutter?
Is it the noise level?
Is it the lack of being there? Or being there too much?
Is it not asthetically appealing to you?
Is it lonely?
Too overwhelming of tasks to be done?
Is it boring?
Is it a reminder of other stresses?
Are there conflictual relationships?
We cant make a plan until we understand the source of stress itself.

Some of these cant be fixed with a simple anecdote or list of strategies. Some of them need careful attention and prayer to improve. Some of these need a prayer of change of perspective, change of heart, or renewed passion.

I will pray that you, dear friend, are able to find the direction you need to find your way through those stresses.


These things are an effort, one that is well worth the work it will involve.

When it comes to the home and all the things that we do there, from the glorious to the less than glorious, we need to remember that we are doing it for the Lord. We are managing the resource of our homes to the glory of our Father. We do not serve the little people or the big ones in our homes, but He who have us our homes to start with :)

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving" Colossians 3:23-24

Monday, August 17, 2009

Resource Management: Saying No

This was originally posted August 15th, 2008

How many of us have a problem with this?

I know I do..or used to, rather. With this focus on destressing , this is a huge battleground for me!

I have to say that I have had a few things that have moved me to getting really good at this. First, watching so many of the people around me struggle with being overwhelmed with the things they commit to. I see them committing to things they dont want to do, dont have time for, and have a hard time fitting into their already stressful schedule. This is motivation for me.

Another thing, is having gone through the book by Henry Cloud and John Townsend titled "Boundaries" ..great book. It have me so much insight into why we say yes, and how to say no. It gave me some great pointers on how to change my thinking when it comes to placing boundaries (not walls), so that I dont see it as pushing people away, hurting others, etc. Its a great motivator as well!

Then, and finally, I found that frankly..there are alot of other things I would rather be doing besides the stuff I dont want or need to do! :)

Since beginning this destress quest I have really focused on clearing my time of the things that cause me stress.

Obviously, we cant eliminate everything we dont like (my first thing to go would be laundry), but we can get rid of the things that arent beneficial to us, our family, or our purpose.

Thinking this way has helped me so much! I have been able to say no alot more, and with a clear conscious! I dont mind telling others who offer for me to do great things, "I am not able to do that right now, but thank you so much for thinking of me!"

I have turned down fun playdates because it wasnt best for the kids. I have turned down two opportunities to serve on a regular basis with the childrens ministry at church, which would take me away from service 100% when I combine it with other responsibilities. I have declined being responsible for great programs at church, because I have other areas I am more passionate about. I chose not to participate in out-of-the-house activities more than one night a week (not counting church nights)...all because it helps me put my time to the best use toward my purpose and goals!

Sometimes, as a friend reminds me often, we must say no to good things, so that we can say yes to things that are even better.

Saying a gentle, thought out, and firm "no" allows us to balance this life better. It takes practice, but it gets easier!

One last thought to leave you with. A very helpful illustration that I brought from my Boundaries study is that when we go to the dentist we hurt from the things he does, right? But, in the end we are not injured. This, we can apply to saying no to others. While they may not like that we are saying no, or try to make us feel bad about the end they are not harmed by our choices.

I pray for you this week, that you have the ability to prioritize your time, say no when its appropriate, and do it such a way that you feel DESTRESSED!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Week 9: DeStress our Time

Time is one of those tricky ones. It is something that we cannot pay for, sell or get back. Its not one of those things we have alot of control over, except in terms of how we manage it.

Considering that stress happens when we are lacking in the necessary resources we need to accomplish something we feel needs done, the lack of time can be a big stressor!

We need to consider how we use our time, just as much as how we use our bodies, our minds or anything else. We need to consider where each moment is going, and how much of it is not being used properly.

Now, "properly" doesnt mean that we cant take moments to refresh our bodies, spirits and relationships. It doesnt mean that we cannot take time to giggle with girlfriends, or have a nice chat with your mom where you talk about nothing of consequence. It doesnt rule out naps, a cuddle time with the hubby in front of a chick flick, or scrapbooking.

But, remember that in all things "...whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. " Colossians 3:23

There are lots of things in our days that are filled with things and moments spent that couldnt qualify as "in the name of the Lord Jesus". Right?

You may not know for sure. Being aware is the first step in getting that resource properly managed. Its being aware of where your time is going, where it needs to go, where its being misused, where its being overspent ..its about knowing and being aware.

Knowing what your priorities are, is a huge part of being able to manage your time well. What is it that is important to you? What should be? What things need to be considered when trying to weed unnessessary time-wasters out of the picture? Who needs to be considered?

So, write them down. Write down your priorities. See them in black and white. Refresh them, change them, focus on them and know them. When you are faced with things that could use your time, do they fit in with what is important to you?

Also, consider if there are good things that you are doing, to the detriment of better things. Scrapbooking is great, but does the husband need some attention more than that page needs doing? The internet is awesome, but do the kids need more attention than facebook does?

If you need wisdom regarding where your time needs to go, "ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without condemnation" James 1:5. But just a warning ..if you ask God to show you where you need to change your schedule to better suite his plans for your life, he may ask you to give up things you dont want to :)

Resource Managment: Rest

Sleep is a very important way that our body restores itself from the stresses of the day on our organs, skin, heart, lungs, brain and immune system. Is role is profound, and often not fully understood.

Some of the benefits of sleep are immune system restoration, mentally organize stimulation from the day, weight control, hormonal balance, stress tolerance, organs/tissue repair, memory retention, and improved concentration (just to name a few).

Some of the effects of lack of sleep, and proper rest are decreased efficiency of the immune system, weight gain or inability to lose weight, increased craving for carbs/calories, increased risk for breast cancer, impaired glucose metabolism, increased risk for heart disease, increased risk for depression, increased hormonal imbalance, increased risk for GI problems, decreased skin health, increased risk for anxiety disorders, decreased emotional tolerance, and decreased alertness which increases risk for injury for yourself or those in your care.

These arent all the problems associated with lack a sleep, but they are a good enough list to get us realizing now important it is to rest!

Rest doesnt always mean sleep - as we well, know, often being a mom means lack of sleep and the few hours we get are often interrupted by our family's needs.

Rest may mean just a decrease of stimulation. A shut door for 15 minutes when daddy gets home, or a quiet bath when the kids to go bed. Rest is a precious commodity, but one very important to keeping our bodies healthy, and able to manage all the jobs we have to manage.

Finally, dont forget that part of taking care of all of them means taking care of you too.

We cant possibly take care of them the way they deserve if we are exhausted, overwhelmed, malnourished or unhealthy (again, within our control).

So, consider this when you make your schedule. Allow for quiet, rest time. I know its seems like craziness to consider, but if you make it something that is important to you, it will happen.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Week 8: DeStressing our Bodies

The way we feel physically has much to do with how we feel otherwise. Ask anyone struggling with chronic illnesses, or constant pain - it effects everything. When we feel exhausted, painful, hungry, or dehydrated we feel mentally wearied and emotionally unstable as well. It makes us susceptible to being easily overwhelmed by smaller stresses and worries, and less likely to manage larger stresses well.

We need to do what we can to get our bodies in the condition to be able think, feel and properly use all our resources.

Our bodies are weak. They were created that way, God knows it. Our bodies and physical energy are not unlimited resources. Our physical drive has boundaries, our energy has an empty mark.

Weakness of our bodies is the reason that Christ has to come to start with ..right? The law was powerless to redeem us when it depended on strict behavior of our physical bodies. Christ's body had to replace ours when it comes to the redeeming ..our bodies were just to weak to do the job.

Colossians 1:21-22 "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation"

We should not expect that we can go and go and go, without taking care of this vessel of God's work. It just was not made to do that :)

We were made, however to house the Spirit. The Spirit is there to give us what we need to accomplish God's will, which includes energy that comes from God. He also created our bodies to produce its own energy and maintain itself if properly cared for.

Some ways that we need care for these vessels we are using for now ...

* Rest! ..more on this this week, it is way underrated!
* Eating the right foods ..some foods are better than others at producing healthy energy
* Water, water ..then more water.
* Exercise..its a natural energy booster, and helps to keep our bodies in top working order
* Wearing clothes that fit and flatter us in modest ways
* Regular check-ups ...pap smears, mammograms ..I know, no fun ..but very necessary!

We should not underestimate the affect that our bodies have on our ability to manage our other resources well. Work this week to note those things that you can do to get your body in better condition to be used by the Spirit.

Pondering Point: What are some ways that your physical status affects your stress levels or the way you mange your resources?

Verse of the Week: "Do you not know that you are a temple of the Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own." I Cor 6:19

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mind Control: Guilt

How often do you struggle with feeling guilty about something that you have or havent done?

Is it that you didnt spend enough time with your kids today? ..or ate the WHOLE piece of cake, instead of the bite you planned on? ..or that you havent read your bible today? ..or that you havent called your mom this week? ...or that you havent opened all the mail? ...or that you havent gotten through the kids clothes this season? ...or that you didnt use coupons on this shopping trip? ...or that you didnt workout this week? ...or that you ... the list goes on and on ...right?

We use alot of brain power feeling and thinking about feeling guilty for stuff. We talk ourselves into ways that we fall short in our own minds and we reprimand ourselves for it ..dont we?

I do. Alot.

I compare, and when I feel like I have fallen short of that ..I feel guilty. I dont want to, but I do.

Its a natural feeling for us, I think. It is what happens when we are not paying attention. We condemn ourselves for all that we think we dont measure up to.

But .."..there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," Romans 8:1

Here is why ..."And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature (which is constantly causing us to feel guilty about stuff) but according to the Spirit." vs. 3-4

But how ..? "Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires (to compare, judge, condemn, wallow and condemn some more); but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." vs. 5

"The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace,"
vs. 6 ..I am sold! :)

When those thoughts that condemn us, and against a measure that is not godly ...then we need to refocus our thoughts and ask the Spirit to fill our minds with things of His promises.

We arent in the position to judge ourselves, and therefore we should not find ourselves guilty quite as easily as we do.

If you are asking God to guide your mind, actions, time and resources ..then God will do so. Let the other stuff go, and trust that God's grace will cover all those areas where you fall short.

Easier said, than done. I know. But its worth the effort ..I promise. :) (says she who was sitting here feeling like a failure as a mom today because she fell apart into hysterics when her 4 year old tracked spanish moss all over the floor she just spent an hour vacuuming :)
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