Monday, February 5, 2018

Stressful Days

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore. Psalm 121

Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. Ephesians 3:20

It is my busy season at work. “Busy” doesn’t seem to capture it very well.  Stressful describes it better. Add in personal obligations and it is overwhelming at times. Can you relate?
In a previous devotion I shared where I have learned to ask Jesus “What is the next thing I need to do?” in the midst of being pulled in so many directions.  And He faithfully answers. And then I ask again and He answers. Like a child, I trust my Father to tell me what is best.
At particularly stressful times, I calm myself by taking a breath in while thinking “breathing in peace” and exhaling while thinking “breathing out grace”. Peace to calm me and grace to give others. Jesus brings me back to thinking clearly and stops (sometimes) my tongue. I keep doing this until my breathing becomes slow and calm.

When roadblocks hit (computer doesn’t cooperate, a project stalls without other information, a headache comes on), I now look at those moments as God saying “That’s enough for now; let’s deal with that later”. Be thankful for little things (a hot shower, ice cream, or my husband making dinner).

At night when you can’t shut off your brain of things to do or worry, I do two things:  1) I get up and write down the list of “to do” things in my head; and 2) I say the Lord’s Prayer in my head very, very slowly concentrating on each word. Say it again until you fall asleep.

Remember to show extra love to those closest to you as they often, unintentionally, receive less time and attention from you. Love brings you back to center.
Peace and grace to you.

Prayer: Dear Father, In the midst of trial and stress, thank you for your peaceful presence guiding us if only we would look to you to show us the way. We will keep trying to let you lead instead of trying to do it all on our own. Amen.

Cathy Schapmann


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