Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 36: Decompress From Stress

Psalm 91:1
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
What do you do after a long difficult day?  Most of us look to decompress.  We look to shut our minds off and do something to our liking that shifts our focus from the days event to other things.  

Yesterday began a cycle of one of those days. One thing went wrong and offset a domino effect for the rest of the day.   

It was Carlos' birthday so we went to the movies.  Easy enough right? No...I got the time mistaken, so we were there two hours early.  It just didn't make sense to go home because it was too far and gas is too expensive to waste it. The movie he wanted to see was also being shown in 3D and when we went to buy the tickets, that viewing was half hour later. (The things we do for our kids)

So two and a half hours later, the movie finally started!
When we left, the mad rush began. Racing to soccer training, finishing a cake, getting ready for scouts, surviving scouts! When the night ended we were tired! I wanted to decompress.

Today began the same way.  I had so much on my mind that I misplaced the keys and had a frantic family search party to find it. Then, as we were about to leave the house the baby pooped and it was all over the place.  A bath was in order.

When I finally got around to running my errands, things settled down.  I was at Michaels looking for some things for our scouting ceremony when I felt like I was finally decompressing!  It felt really good.  I was by myself and shopping!  What could be better?  Well, actually it would have been better if I were in a clothing store shopping for me, but nonetheless, I was shopping. 
As I put things in my handbasket I liesurely walked the entire store, going up and down aisles I normally would have no interest in.  I was decompressing and in the mood to just buy something.

Now, I haven't had any psychological training but I recognize warning signs real well.  I was making myself feel better by buying things to make up for the last two days of craziness.  This was my method of decompressing today.  When I noticed my basket full of nice things that I didn't need, I put the basket down and without turning around and changing my mind, I walked out of the store, emptyhanded.

I was trying to fill my void of feeling out of control with something that made me feel good.

Do you ever do that?
Sometimes we use food (for me its potato chips).
Sometimes its TV 'til the wee hours in the morning or the computerWe all usually have a way to "decompress," although I think God would call our ways distractions.

Distractions from Him. 

I think God understands decompression.  Isn't that why he gave us the Sabbath?  But what about daily? I think he knew that daily we would need to unwind as well. 
Thats why he put things around us that are beautiful in sight and relaxing in its own nature.  The rivers, the stars, the trees. Think about a trip to the beach or the mountains.  He created it all for our pleasure so that we might remember Him and turn to Him during those times.

Yet usually, instead of turning to the source of true rest we turn to the things that bring on more stress.
Staying up late watching TV means we'll be tired tomorrow.
Eating half the chocolate cake means more pounds added.
Shopping carelessly means spending unnecessarily, or worse, debt.

God is there waiting for us to come to him and let him take our daily burdens.  In Him we can find peace and comfort, love and joy. In Him we're where we should be, and He's all we need.

Where are you turning to decompress from the daily burdens of life?
Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.