Some handle stress better than others. But denying I’m stressed so I’m thought more spiritual might mean I need my head examined.
Pretend or get real?
Hmmm…you know how I hate pretense, right?
I don’t hang with the too blessed to be stressed crowd, and loathe catchy cliches. Denial never did anything but bite me in the butt later. Unless we live on a tropical island with a paid-off mortgage, perfect health, every relationship filled with joy, where crime-wars-poverty-and-disasters never hit – well, life ain’t like that. Our tendency to shield and insulate is understandable when we’re overwhelmed. I’ve just never understood the purpose of spiritual cliches.
Stress mounts. Energy plummets. Coping mechanisms aren’t at all what they’re cracked up to be. One phone call, diagnosis, or job loss can cause our life to cave. We’re facing hard battles, each one of us. We’re blessed, and we know it, but these earthsuits are still susceptible to wear and tear.
One of our healing co-factors is transparency.
To come as we are means no more pretense. No more bandaid ministry to each other. Transparency eases the stress of guardedness and self-protection. Once we land among safe company, we begin to heal. We relax and simply accept where each of us are on this journey. When God shows us Christ in each other, we’re less about judging and more about loving. This ripple effect breeds health. When a sister or brother stumbles from the stress of life, we don’t spout veiled condemnations, we give a hand. Mostly, we give our heart.
Other healing cofactors are rest, hormone balance, and brain nutrients.
In the physical, we forget that our hormones and brain chemistry will vary with milage. Chronic stress depletes us. Toxins make us sick. If we come unglued, it might be less about missing our quiet time and more about a skimpy diet and the lack of sleep. I’m learning to ditch the spiritual guilt about attitudes, behavior, or feelings when I know my brain and adrenals are whacked. Some have suffered for years with imbalances that even good doctors failed to catch. How can we cope when our brains and bodies are crying for help? We may get down on ourselves and want to give up. We isolate. We cry. We suffer in silence.
Well, here’s a cliche I will use:
Knowledge is power.
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed, out of control, or desperately blue – it’s not necessarily a spiritual problem. Years of irritability, mood swings, lack of motivation, anxiety, tears, insomnia, and dark depressions nearly did me in. Life slipped me by. I couldn’t join in. Well-meaning folks lectured me about bible-reading when my eyes couldn’t even focus. Thankfully, I began to find answers. I’m compiling common-sense tools to get my life back, thank God, and you can, too.
There’s a reason some of us handle stress better (or worse) than others. Maybe the too-blessed-to-be-stressed crowd has more seratonin. Or estrogen. Or the guardian hormone, progesterone, which calms the nervous system. Maybe their gut health isn’t yet wrecked and they get plenty restorative sleep. All I know is, where folks lack compassion and grace, we’ll find comfort in the truth. Where they lack understanding, there is One who knows our frame. If you struggle this way, you’re no less spiritual than anybody else. There is an emotional rescue plan and we’ll talk about it later.
Are you experiencing chronic stress? Do you sometimes badger/guilt yourself, or want to give up? Please share if you’ve found resources that helped you heal and recover.
I’m praying for you today and so appreciate your being here.
Your sister sojourner,