I know it’s good for me, but I resist buying, cooking or eating kale.
Sources say Americans know something else might be good for us, but we aren’t asking God to relieve our stress. Seems like more of us are resisting prayer, the way I resist kale. That’s not news. But how we are reducing stress, according to the Religion News Service is interesting. More of us are lowering our stress levels by
Listening to music (47 percent), and Exercising (46 percent).
Count me in those numbers!
Listening to classical music remains an answer to nonstop questions my mind generates. Taking a short walk or a long stroll makes me breathe better – and breathing better means I may not pass out from exasperation, anger, or confusion.
Shushing my inner nag, exercising nervous energy do reduce my stress. However, reading God’s word further reduces the build up of my stress, and it redirects me to saner thinking.
That discipline is not always my go-to one; which may account for my less than wise actions, and less than winsome words when life presses in. But when I do read, the Psalms are a good place to camp. (Kinda of like when I eat kale someone else makes, I don’t gag; I even enjoy it.)
Psalm 143 resonated with me, again; verses ten through twelve calm me down because change is happening faster than I can understand.
10 Help me to do your will, for you are my God. Lead me in good paths, for your Spirit is good.
11 Lord, saving me will bring glory to your name. Bring me out of all this trouble because you are true to your promises. 12 And because you are loving and kind to me, cut off all my enemies and destroy those who are trying to harm me; for I am your servant.
I can use the petitions for myself, but also for Doug, our children and their children; and for friends and family. What compounds the stress of daily living is FEAR I can’t help those I love with their burdens – make their paths safe. (Yes, I know I need to reread Pilgrim’s Progress.)
Hence, having a pattern right before my eyes when stress chokes out my words is better than projecting the worst-case scenario.
Right now, I am listening Angele Dubeau & La Pieta, Noel.
What is it about strings that calm my frenetic thoughts?
How can so much grand music flow from the short story of Christ’s birth?
These are better questions than my What-if’s.
In some small ways, the gorgeous outpouring of these Christmas melodies reminds me God sings songs over us.
For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”( Zephaniah 3:17)
I am breathing deeper already.
I hope good music and exercise revive you dear reader – and relieve you from life’s stresses. And I hope in the days ahead you will find a pattern for prayer and hear God’s love for you in Christ.