Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Coping 101

In my job, my co-workers and I each have our own "class" which we teach to our patients. It just so happens that the class I teach every single month is Stress Management.
I begin each session by reminding my patients that the info I will share with them is not new and it is not rocket science.
"Hearing a message repeatedly is an effective way to change our behavior", I tell them.
"It's the reason we go to church every week" I say. No matter how good the sermon, it is normal to have heard the content before.

So. Several time a day, every month, I get to tell people how to handle the hard things in life.
Does God have a sense of humor or what?

For most of my adult life, stress management had always been something I gave lip service to, but never felt as if I really needed to implement. However, in the past 4 years, I have learned a great deal about stress and how it affects me.
My very own crash course in "Coping 101".

Lesson #1:
You can fool your brain with positive self-talk, but you can not fool your body.
This chick's physical frame has taken a beating. I will spare the details of what worry does to this little ol body, but it is pitiful.

Lesson #2:
The things that are stressful are often not important.
Really? I just learned that in the past 4 years?
I am positive I was told that in kindergarten.
Slow learner I guess.

Lesson #3:
Keep a pen and paper near the bed.
When I wake up in the middle of the night, I can make a "hit-list" of things to do the next day.
If I tell Ralph that I didn't sleep well the night before, he usually will ask: "Is there anything I can do"?
He knows about my "hit lists", and tries to to help me get things marked off!
Bless his heart. I love that man.

Lesson #4:
Night-time is my enemy when I am under stress.
I have learned that this is the time when I am the weakest physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have always needed a lot of sleep, and when I experience a sleepless night, my fuse is short the next day as well.

In the recent hours and days, in II Corinthians 20:5, the phrase ...."taking every thought captive"....kept coming to my mind. As I looked it up, the passage spoke of spiritual warfare, not necessarily about worry. However, are they not one and the same?

Psalm 16:7 tells me that "even at night my heart instructs me". Oh how I love that verse! In fact, I even wrote in my Bible margin "Me too"!
I have learned that when there is a scripture on my mind, especially in the middle of the night, it is God Himself talking to me. To anyone looking, I may appear asleep, but God Himself sees directly into my raging heart. My head may be unmoving on the pillow, but God knows it holds a mind tumbling out of control. He penetrates through the darkness of my bedroom and gives me His words.

Lesson #5:
In spite of the #1 lesson, I still must focus on the positive.
The King of the Universe will give me peace when I let Him.
He never takes His eyes, ears and voice off of me.
All things here are temporal.
I am not of this world.
Heaven awaits.

Gotta go.
I have a hit list of things to attend to.

No comments: