This is a continuation of the Tracie Miles Stress Detox Challenge…find it at www.traciemiles.com
Day 6: Today’s theme of refreshment is a not a foreign concept to me. In the world of social work, especially working in domestic violence, we talk A LOT about “self-care.” It’s meant to refresh you, recharge you, prevent burnout. But the things that we do (manicures, bubble baths, journaling, exercise, etc) are only a temporary fix. Jesus is the only way to have true refreshment. I have used a lot of stress relief methods — some healthy, some not. None of them gave me true peace, they simply took my mind off of my troubles or worries for a bit. Finding true refreshment is in our relationship with Jesus.
My goals: more time in prayer, more time reading my Bible, better church attendance, and true surrender. My physical pick me up? Today it’s Christmas worship music. My absolute fave!!
Day 7: Forgiveness. Such an amazing concept. There are a lot of really good books and songs out there too. Check out Matthew West’s song and the story behind it. Today was a great reminder. Forgiveness (the real stuff) is COMPLETELY letting it go. It’s gone. No more hurt. no more resentment or anger. And it’s not for them, it’s really for you. It’s such a beautiful concept and although it can be one of the hardest things that you will do, it’s worth it.
While thinking of some of the ways that I have been hurt in the past, I realized that I truly have forgiven that person. I am however hanging on to other things and I didn’t even realize that I was doing it. Resentment can be sneaky like that. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that they were right or that you were not hurt. it’s letting the anger and resentment out of us though. The beautiful thing is…I can say anything to God, vent, get it off my chest, so that I can move on. He can give me the strength to move past the hurt, to the healing.
Day 8: When we spend our time and energy focusing on what stresses us, instead of on Christ — we lose sight of the big picture. While sometimes we do need to deal with our stressors and work to eliminate them (or get through them), we can clearly focus on Christ while doing it. Using His strength to get us through. Instead of worrying or adding stress by simply focusing on the problem we are facing. Realizing what is actually causing you stress or making you feel hopeless is the first step. Asking God to give you guidance and help you to see things through His eyes is the next.
I have been unemployed for the last eight months and the situation gets a bit desperate at times. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I am cranky and irritable. But when I remember the promises of God’s Word — that He will provide for me and realize how He has repeatedly done that over the last few months, I can rest in that. And it works. I have to do my part, applying for jobs and whatever, but I can trust that He will be with me every step of the way. Holding my hand — sometimes it’s carrying me completely. But He doesn’t ever let me down or leave me.
Day 9: Today was fantastic. We can choose to be a victim. We may not have chosen our circumstances, but we do not have to become victims of them. (Sometimes we do “choose” our circumstances, maybe not intentionally but we made poor choices that have landed us here.) We can stand with Christ and be victors over our circumstances. What power! What joy! It’s not easy, but it’s possible. We have to make a committed CHOICE to be a victor and not a victim. This does not happen naturally. We can’t do it without God. We must stand firm in Him. We can choose to be joyful in all things or we can allow others to take that from us. We hold the power.
I have a picture in my bedroom that reminds me of this. It says, “Today I choose joy.” Because each and every day I have to choose whether to keep or give my joy away. And I choose joy.
Day 10: Real, true happiness is a choice. Money can’t buy it. No one can give it to you. No one can “take” it from you. You choose to be happy or not. Life is going to be stressful, there are going to be challenges. And we might not feel happy 100% of the time, but overall true, abiding happiness is within our reach. And it comes from a relationship with Jesus and daily walking with Him through our struggles. We will still have them, but how we face them is the key. (I would highly recommend the documentary Happy. It’s pretty amazing.)
So, I am going to crank up the radio and get to work on my huge list. But I am also going to take time to recharge — go to bed early, chat with Fiona, and spend some time with God. I can’t think of a better evening. ♥