Monday, May 21, 2012

7: Stress - Part One

Stress. Well, fasting from stress is pretty much my thing.

My desire to separate my life from the stressful stream that surrounds us is what started the "Living Peacefully Less Stressed" effort. It's the motivation behind the Everything You Need bible study and speaking topic.

JH takes a totally different approach, however to her fast from stress than I have. Her fast is more focused on bringing in moments of peaceful quiet, rather than getting rid of stuff. She works in her month to incorporate 7 'pauses' into her day, each with a purposeful mindset of prayer.

Taking times throughout the day to pause, to reflect and to pray draws the spirit into a place of calm even amongst the chaos of our daily stresses.

Now JH puts this fast at the end of her list of fasts. It is the last one on her list and clearly it fits there perfectly for her. I love her month of embracing less stress. I found her chapter on stress and the seven pauses such a blessing I couldn't put those at the end of my list. I have actually been working on them ever since I read it.

My posting for this week will be two parts ...Week One (also, Part One), is the week or so ago that I started implementing the pauses. Week Two, (Park Two) is this week in real time. This week will be one of the most stressful ones of my year so far so I wanted to really focus some attention on stress and the pauses.  I thought you many want to do that with me :)
I am looking forward to making these pauses part of my days in my week!

Day One -Week One

The seven pauses that JH calls us to are focused on intercession, asking for wisdom, requests for blessing, recognizing moments of awareness, offering gratitude and several more purposeful mental reflections at set times of day.

I set my iphone to the times of day that each 'pause' corresponds to. I hope to use my phone to help me focus more, rather than distract me. With the need to fit 7 pauses in within my waking hours, I am reminded every few hours to pause and reflect. Being as my phone with me 100% of the time, my alarms will help remind me to take those moments ..maybe even to put my phone away to do it (insert my feigning shock).

I will admit that this feels a little weird, it feels like I am praying all the time.  Hm.. seems like there is something in the bible about that ...

Day Two - Week One

Kim sent me a journal for my birthday today! She has broken it up into seven sections, each with a simple illustration and wording noting each of the 7 pauses. She has also written a prayer and some of the verses given in the book.  I am excited to have a place to go to help center my mind, and a simple place to jot down prayers when I take my pauses.

Today, using the alarms on my phone I was able to at the very least have a simple pause to recognize each of the times.  Sometimes it's just a deep breath, but I can tell that those are helping center me a bit.

Day Four - Week One

Two different times today I have thought to pause just seconds before my alarm goes off! I am anticipating those moments that I get to pause and reflect for a moment.  Yay me.

I am finding that The Twilight Hour is one of my hardest times. This is during the busiest, most frustrating parts of my day.  The "Twilight" hour corresponds perfectly with the time when my two year old is at his grumpiest, my kids are at their hungriest, my husband is at his most needing to get out the door for his night shift at the hospital,  dinner is the most needing to be on the table and I am over all of it.

Of course, this pause is really the one that I need the most. Its the one the my mind is least ready for, though. When that alarm goes off I will not lie and tell you that I literally give God an eye-roll.  

Really? Right now you want me to pause?

Joshua is screaming, Canon is talking my ear off with an occasional crying fit, Ty is bouncing off the walls and every elevated surface, Adrian is watching the news loudly because of the noise level, I am (trying to be) cooking dinner, Josh just pulled one of the plates off the counter, I have to wash some of the dishes just to feed people, the oil is smoking and I think I am going to cry...and you want me to pause.

Okay. Fine...but just so you know this is a sacrifice.

Day Six - Week One

We just got word that we will be moving in three weeks! AGH! I am so excited for what God has planned for us! 

I can't help connect this week of focused prayers to the timing of God's movement for us. We have been anxiously waiting for his encouragement to make this move, and after a week of focused prayer I feel he has answered it perfectly. 

These pauses will no doubt come in handy in the next three weeks especially!

Day Seven - Week One

Ya'll, I have been pausing a lot since yesterday!  ...first, because my anxious heart needed it, then because God is showing off and I can't help but give pause for praise and thanksgiving!

Get this. Back in April we visited our new little town, hoping to soon have plans solid enough to move forward with our plans to move there. We looked at properties and rentals and dreamed about our new little life. We did find a house and property that we thought would be perfect for us, though we couldn't actually rent it because the timing wasnt right just yet. 

It had three acres of property, a very nearby fishing pond, woods to play in, a short drive to work/church and a community pool. It was a comfortable size for our family, and included a space for a school room. It had a front porch that overlooks an incredible view was wonderful.

When we got home we contacted the owners and shared our love of their home and asked them to let us know how things go as far as their renting it. We heard back from them pretty quickly, saying they would love to rent their house to us and they would let us know. We chatted back and forth over the next few weeks - they offering to hold the house, us deciding that we would let God lead us as to timing of the move and passing up on that offer. We knew that God would help it be available when the time came if it was the house for us. 

Yesterday, after finding out that our house here in SC was rented, we contacted the owners of that home immediately. We were sad to find out the house had been rented 3 days before! Bummer. Yet, we knew that God had a plan for us.   I observed all the pauses yesterday! 

Then, not four hours after we contacted the owners ...they wrote us back. Would you believe that the people who had rented the house just three days before needed out of their lease? What? 

Yes, indeed. The house is ours {insert giddy squeal}.

[Insert here a week or so of stressful moving details ..cancelling utilities, setting up new ones, working on jobs, packing, cleaning..etc. Fast forward to 10 days before we pull out from our home of 9 years ....]

Then, here is a part 2 regarding a fast from stress :)

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