Relieving Stress

Stress relieving is supposed to be a part of the process of life wherever it may find you. If you are like me, you like to bake. Baking, as a stress reliever, doesn’t necessarily mean eating all the goods yourself. Eating does not even figure into the equation for me. I just cook for the sake of cooking. And generally, that does mean consuming something so the food does not go bad.

Stress relievers have to be a part of my day if I want to have good days that are more enjoyable. On a rare occasion, stress relief is through writing homework assignments where I ramble on about what I feel I am being taught through various things. Maybe, it is writing about how God can use times of trials to gain me intimacy. Maybe, it is through this blog. Or, maybe the stress relief technique is doing something in a servitude like baking. I bake, and my family eats. This is the game I play. I bake, they eat. They are very good at their job, just like I am decent at my job of baking.

Today’s stress relief is through baking a delicious German Chocolate Cake as I type this out..Journaling is another stress relief. I need to decompress when the pain is feeling in control (not now, because my pain pill is in full effect). I had another bout of insomnia last night, and missed church as a result. Of course! These things happen, but still I have got to destress. It is Sunday. I volunteer tomorrow. Today is my time of destressing, so I can begin my week on a good note.

The whole purpose is the necessity of having activities that keep you sane and worry-free. It can be music, cooking (not necessarily eating), taking a walk, watching a movie for the thousand time, or or simply writing.

Whatever avenue you choose—involve God in it! God wants to be a part of everything we are doing. It gives Him pleasure. It is not so much about the task, as it is a part of the intimacy of us and God—and realizing how important the intimacy is. It is also a big part of realizing that God is bigger than everything. He is bigger than our plans. He is bigger than our health concerns. He is bigger than our frets about finding a job. He is bigger than all of it!

God gives us a variety of avenues to contemplate and live for Him, where stress does not have to be part of our equation. God is not a god of disorder (which I associate with stress), but He is the God of Peace!

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My Future: In His Hands

My body is frequently attacking itself. I have fibromyalgia, so that’s just one of the things my body tends to do. It is very manageable except for I just go through moments where I hurt for a couple days then I can go on and do my normal routine again. Normally, it is only a once or twice a month type of routine of hurting for a couple days, not that it is all too predictable. I am lost in this world that I can’t understand. Who am I? I have changed over the last few months. Realistically, it has not been a willingness to change, but a mandatory change brought to me by my body. Mostly the changes come from the change of how I feel, resulting in what I am able to do.

I can no longer be defined by what I do as I could easily have done before. Oh, I am the girl that does this and that… That is no longer how I can be defined, because *doing* is not something that is easily done these days. Doing things requires energy. Depending on the day will determine how well a task is accomplished. While I know there is a life worth living out there, I struggle with this idea of who am I.

I am a child of the Most High God! This has not changed.

Therefore, I know He has a task before me. While writing for a class, I found this concept crossing my mind. God put seminary on my heart before I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia. God knew I was going to have this “thorn in my side”. I am the girl who always has a plan, and this is uncharted territory for my anyway. What is next for me? I graduate in December, and I do not have a plan. My life has been a mess for the past couple months, but it is still moving forward even if I do not know what is next. Seminary is still weighing on my heart very heavily, but I do not hold the future. I do not know what is next, or what God is choosing to do next in my life.

I sit here, waiting, praying, and asking for God to guide me in the next step of my life in whatever direction God is planning on taking me. This verse kinda hit me while I was praying earlier which states it all…. Jeremiah 33:2-3 says: “This is what the Lord says—the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the Lord: 3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.”

I lack knowledge about many things.
This world and its craziness
Knowing how to live life right now
Oh yeah, and this little detail called the “future”.

But, I know what Jeremiah 29:11 says:
God knows the plans He has for me…
Plans for my welfare, hope, and a future..
He is not out to get me.
He is not trying to derail me.
But, God has the best in store for me and my life. It does not have to look picture perfect. God has a will for my life. He knows exactly what He is doing, and His will will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I just do not know what those plans are.

Hold Each Other Up

In Exodus 17:12, it says: “Eventually, Moses’ hands felt heavy. So Aaron and Hur took a rock, put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron held up one hand, and Hur held up the other. His hands remained steady until sunset.”

So many of us are tired. It may be emotionally, physically, or spiritually, but I love this picture of us holding each other up physically and spiritually. We should be there for each other, because it is the picture of the global Church coming together as One–caring for one another which may mean holding one’s arms up when they weak.

I see this scripture come to life in my own life, as I battle different things. As I battle the illness I face, I see the support of others and how it supports me as I win the battle against fibermyalgia.

Even when we get tired and could (and WANT to) give up, we need to have our friends right by our side to help us perservere and continue on. It may be through facebook or sitting with someone as they face trials. I am so thankful for my friends who support me and keep me going. One of my facebook group has been a God-send. It has kept me going when I may have given up. The people, there, inspire me. We are a family. It doesn’t matter how far away we really are from each other in distance either. We help each other and “hold each other” up just like they did in the bible verse they mentioned. I have to share what happened from Moses’ friends helping him hold his hands up (it was reaching up to praise God is what it symbolized..). There was a war going on, and their team won as a result of Moses AND his friends…. We too are HOLDING each other up and winning the war against Fibromyalgia and whatever else comes our way…

As I reflect on the passage, I want to ask:

How can I help support and hold another up? It may be through emotional or prayer support.. How can I be there for someone else to help them win the war they are facing, because we are all facing something?

This Battle

Posted on September 27, 2011

It has been a week since my diagnosed of Fibromyalgia, and it has not been an easy week per-say. I have had an ongoing struggle. People ask me how I am, and I battle the usual “okay” versus saying how I truly feel. But when people are asking as they walk away, how can you say “No, I am not okay.” Or how do you say, “you know what, I am not doing so good today.”

I do not think it has hit me yet. I think I am still waiting to wake up, and have it disappear. Since that does not look like it is going to happen anytime soon, I am doing what I can. I am researching. I am noticing how the symptoms of this illness progress. I am medicating myself through a nightly prescribed medicine and daily vitamins. I have regained some of my spiritual strength, and I am putting on my armor to fight this battle.

Fibromyalgia is like other battles we all face. Whether they are friendships in turmoil, temptations of our old self, and other trials and temptations. The trials keep us down for moments at a time, but we can choose how to fight. When we weak, it is easy to be overcome by life’s adversities. This is what the adversary one wants. The devil wants to kick us while we are down. And at times, I am sure he does kick us while we are done. I know I have felt some of those very hard punches in the face lately.

In James 1:2, scripture reminds us that trials should be considered pure joy. Some days, I wonder how they can be considered joy. Some days, I think they are pure joy. It may mean that we must be doing really well spiritually if the devil finds us worth picking on. And on those other days, I do not have the strength to fight or think about the fight. On these particular days, I get punched extra good. These days mean I have not thought or prayed about a plan of attack. How will I handle this today?I need to have plans of attacks, if I plan on winning the battle. I need new methods of fighting.

On Sunday, I was reminded of the One who fights on my behalf. Jesus is winning the victory for me. I cannot give up, even on the days I want to. When I made weak, He is my strength. I become completely dependent on Him, and that is when His strength is more than enough.

In the Common English Bible, Philippians 4:13 is worded this way: ” I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength.” We can endure ALL these things through the Power of God. That kinda makes it hard to give up when we have that verse in mind, doesn’t it?

As my weak arms and hands compose this blog, I know how easy it is to say “Well I hurt, and can’t do this!” Do you have another option? We can either try to fight in our own strength and lose the battle, or we can trust in Him completely and let Him become our strength.. The choice to fight is more than a daily struggle. But it is also all we have. We are the only ones that can say “let’s do this.” Sometimes the ones fighting this battle is only us and Jesus, and no-one else. But, we can do this!

2 Corinthians 12:10 says, “Therefore, I’m all right with weaknesses, insults, disasters, harassments, and stressful situations for the sake of Christ, because when I’m weak, then I’m strong.”

While I am not “all right” with my weakness, I choose to let God fight my battle for me. Prayer is the cornerstone for any battle. We would not go into a war-zone without armor. We need prayer to face this hidden battle. It is not so well hidden. We experience some kind of battle daily. Maybe, physical. Maybe, emotional. Maybe, spiritual. But we encounter battles daily, and we should greet them with prayer.

Here are some of the bible verses I have been wrestling with as I undergo this invisible, but very real battle….

Exodus 14:14
“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Deuteronomy 1:30-31
“The LORD your God is going before you. He will fight for you just as he fought for you in Egypt while you watched, and as you saw him do in the desert. Throughout your entire journey, until you reached this very place, the LORD your God has carried you just as a parent carries a child.”

Ephesians 6:10-13;18
“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and his powerful strength. Put on God’s armor so that you can make a stand against the tricks of the devil. We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens.”

Therefore pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand.

Offer prayers and petitions in the Spirit all the time. Stay alert by hanging in there and praying for all believers.”

Content in Weakness

I have been reflecting on 2 Corinthians 12 much more these days. I have been reading about Job, different verses on persecution, and various sufferings that other followers of Christ have endured. I have had the privilege to see Christians suffer, and you can see their faithfulness to their God. God is glorified through it all!

As I sat and waited, wondering what would happen at the doctor. I ponder the words found in 2 Corinthians 12:10, which said:

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

“What would it mean to be content with this weakness?” Today, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. My mysterious illness now has a name. My symptoms are no longer “just in my head”, but they are in some way validated and made more real through having a diagnosis with an actual name. They are the insults of my body. They are trials I must endure, whether I want to or not.

Being contented with this weakness, for me, means relying on Him. It does not mean not treating the illness with some modern day medicine (or attempting to treat this “weakness”), but it means for me to continue to let Him be my strength. We may face a variety of weaknesses, but who do we choose to determine our path of life? Is the priority the situation or Christ? It is choosing to act in such a way that puts Christ first, and casts aside how else we may want to react to the situations we encounter.

Without Him, I can do absolutely nothing. But with Him, I can do all things! God gives me the strength (Matt. 19:26). He continues to teach me through this muddy process of going from a busy maniac to a person who will one day know the value of rest.

I have walked this road of wondering for a while, and I firmly believe God does not give us more than we can handle. In the sense that God will equip us to do everything He gives us. God may bestow illness upon us, but it is for His glory—and His glory alone! We do not have to understand it, but we have to remember that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Philippians 1:6).