Easter is over and my children have returned to school and what I saw in their eyes last night and this morning was stress. Anxiety for a new day of school. The transition from a school break back to school isn’t easy on any of them. My oldest who is very much a perfectionist had a panic moment this morning when she realized her laptop had not been charging during break. My middle struggled over outfits to wear last night and my youngest clung to me as I woke him up this morning. And I totally get all of it. As a long-time sufferer of the results of stress I totally understood how each of them felt.
I never had anyone show me how to deal with the stress in my life until I went to counseling as an adult. For my kids I tried to make myself available to talk to. I tried to help where I could. I told them I loved them and everything would be ok. But unfortunately the battle with stress is always in the mind. You need to find healthy ways to reduce and deal with the stressful situations in life or it can dramatically affect your health. It has mine.
Before my back injury I had a number of surgeries and I was always getting sick. I had my appendix and my gallbladder removed as well as a number of d and c’s for endometriosis. I had migraines-aweful horrible migraines that despite the medicine I took would send me to the ER at least once or twice a year. My stomach always hurt. I popped Advil daily for the migraines. I had panic attacks and outbursts. And now I believe most if not all of it was because of the stressful life I lead.
I was always busy, I’d pile too many things on my plate then collapse under the strain. When something didn’t go as planned it was my fault, not the universes and my expectations of everyone, including myself were way too high. It’s no wonder my body was breaking down underneath me. I didn’t give it a chance to breathe.
So what’s different now. Having the back injury taught me the importance of rest. It showed me that not everything I took on needed to be taken on by me. I learned to make plans but not to put all my expectations in them. Life happens, things change and its ok to go with the flow. I learned to let go of disappointment and that “I can do all things through Christ,” does not mean I can do all things through Kelly or that I should do all things. I pray a lot now about what I’m meant to do and what someone else is meant to do so that I’m only doing what I’m supposed to.
I’ve started exercising again and that greatly reduces my stress. Writing reduces my stress. The techniques I’ve learned in therapy to breathe and slow down has reduced my stress. I’m still struggling. I eat when I’m stressed and I am currently trying to overcome that obstacle. I’m struggling but I’m leaps and bound from where I was. Migraines hardly happen. My stomach is better than its been in years. I avoided another endometriosis surgery with prayer and a better diet and medicine.
But ultimately for me learning to pray and go to Jesus when stress happens has helped me the most. Reminding myself daily that He is in control and has a good plan for me has helped me calm down and face whatever I’m struggling with. He is on your side and He wants to help you navigate through your day. The bad parts and the good parts. Paul said he had learned to be content in any situation. (Philippians 4:12) For me the key word is he learned. It’s a learning process to live in a stressful situation and be content. I’m not there yet but I pray someday I will be.
I hope this helps someone see that God is a relational God. If you want the transformation in your life that was talked about Easter Sunday, yesterday, you need to have a real relationship with Jesus. This morning I prayed for my kids. I brought there day to God. I am hopeful for the day when they do that themselves. I invite you today whatever is causing you stress in your life. Bring it to God and watch it change for the better.