(And why they won’t quite do the trick)

The following are some of the basic stress-coping strategies you’ve probably heard over the last few weeks.

1. Eat healthy.

This means choosing food that is fuel to your body- lots of healthy proteins and fresh vegetables.

I’ve never eaten so healthy in my life… from hemp seeds to kale to protein shakes 🤮

2. Exercise regularly.

Exercise helps clear the stress hormone cortisol from your body, and infuses you with happy endorphins for your brain.

I’m getting in 5 workouts per week- my treadmill’s gears are glowing red.

3. Form a routine.

Routines bring comfort and make life feel a bit more predictable.

My routine is set in stone and rarely varies by more than 15 minutes.

4. Include social support.

This may mean using video chat, phone calls, social media, etc. to stay in touch with your support system.

I’m getting in more social time than I normally do in real life.

5. Laugh often.

The funny and sarcastic memes on social media have made me laugh out loud and snort coffee.

6. Think positive.

This quarantine won’t last forever. And God will bring goodness out of the suffering.

✅ Yes! Right? Yes!

7. Engage in self-care. 

Make time for any activities that naturally bring you joy.

For me that’s taking a nap, bubble baths, hot chocolate, and reality T.V.

8. Pray/meditate

God’s been hearing a lot of disorganized chatter from me these last few weeks..

 

So what happens if you get to the end of the list and you are STILL STRESSED out?  

Stress will make you physically sick, you’ll miss that once in a lifetime opportunity to write a novel, and you will probably summon the murder hornets directly to your house.

Or…

You’ll be diagnosed with that rare and severe form of stress non-resiliency called-

Being human.

It’s a terrible condition.  Even professional counselors, pastors, celebrities, reporters, and politicians are afflicted.  This unsightly illness means that even if you know all the very best coping methods, have extra money, and lots of wisdom and power- you are probably still going to get stressed out.

No one is immune. In God’s eyes, we are little children who need a father to hold our hand. We require the freedom to throw a tantrum, feel scared, and ugly cry. And ask questions. And get angry. And be confused. And need some coddling from time to time.

This week, I’m stressed out. And I know all the rules for un-stressing myself out. But the rules don’t cut it, because I can’t unhuman myself. So today- I’m going to allow myself to be a fragile little human, who is both

~ made in the divine image of her Father- infused with His powerful spirit

but also

~ suffering from a condition where I can’t go three days without water, or three minutes without air. Fragile. Dependent. Easily threatened. Needy.

Today, it’s safe to open our hearts to the unconditional love of a Father who completely understands what it’s like to be a human. He spent 33 years in the same condition! And He is full of compassion and unconditional love and He totally gets the nuances.

That is the essence of grace in action during quarantine. It’s a weird mix of being weak and strong and thoroughly loved all at the same time. Perfectly human.

(By the way, it really helped me this week to take a big heaping load of self-pressure off. If you are like me, you may have approached this quarantine time thinking- I need to be operating at 150% capacity! The world needs extra love- so I’m going to throw love around like a bird seed!

Then I realized I need extra love too- and I’m actually operating at about 75% capacity. Wah wah.

God has a funny way of using the weakest of humans for His purpose. Even those operating at 75% or less. What a relief!)


Today’s core belief: I am just a human, susceptible to stress, and that's O.K.
Today’s action of faith: Feel what you need to feel- grief, anger, sadness, loss. Acknowledge it. Make room for it.  One vital element of receiving God's grace is just acknowledging how much we need it.


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