How do we Handle Stress?

Recently I mentioned starting a “gratitude journal.” It’s been two weeks now, and I looked back today to see some of the items I noted.

I’ve dealt with insomnia for at least a year. I’ve tried different remedies, some of which helped for 3-4 nights and then stopped. During the last two weeks there were only two nights when I was awake ’til the wee hours. Some of my best friends are also dealing with this issue so I’m not sure if it’s age, stress, or what, but I’m so grateful to be sleeping more regularly–a repeated thanks in my journal!

Some of my other entries:

  • A wonderful hubby who loves me unconditionally, cares for our yard and does a great deal to help me around the house
  • A delicious dinner and meaningful outdoor visit with a nephew and niece
  • Phone calls with Arn and Carol, a brother and sister-in-law; and with a niece in New York
  • Dinner with friends at social distancing
  • Encouraging, challenging online sermons
  • Beautiful, sunshiny days
  • Naps!
  • Making edits on the novel I’m writing
  • Several good walks in our neighborhood

And one morning as I drove, I sang (in my scratchy, breathless voice) “I love you Lord and I lift my hands … to worship you, O my soul rejoice.” I turned on a favorite Christian music station and … they were singing the same song, almost at the same point I’d been at when I turned on the radio. That was like a kiss from my Father. He put that song in my heart–and affirmed it through the radio.

I’ve found that focusing on those things for which I’m grateful is helping me deal with the stress of Shelter in Place, of the bad news that abounds in our media, of isolation.

I’m also encouraged by the example of godly men and women. I see pastors finding new ways to serve their churches, through online services, drive-through communions, outdoor and/or drive-in services. Mount Hermon, a Christian conference center near us, has produced four wonderful online concerts through July’s four Saturday evenings.

Museums are offering virtual tours. Grocery store clerks work hard to pack and deliver online orders.

In the midst of this awful pandemic, good is still happening. Too often we (I) focus on the negatives. I get discouraged and disheartened. But God is still good–all the time. No matter what we go through, what challenges we face, He is with us. He loves us as our caring Father. The prayer Jesus used to teach the disciples to pray was addressed to “Our Father.”

Some have not have good fathers. Some have had horrible fathers. I’m reading a memoir now about such a father and it’s heartbreaking. But if we had a good father, as I had, we need only think of Our Father to know He wants to care for us, walk with us through life, and take us to eternal joy in His presence when we pass from this earth.

So let’s be people of thanksgiving, of praise to the God who will never leave nor forsake us.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

4 Responses

  1. Susan Jones says:

    More praises during Covid: farmers markets! Sharing in the bounty from my neighbor’s Garden as I watched over that and their indoor plants while they vacationed ( eating tomatoes and cucumbers with lemon olive oil and fresh lemon juice) … inviting neighbors and visiting family for afternoon swims in my pool, Christian girl friends who start each day with words and songs of worship texts, walks with friends around a local lake, feeding cotton tail bunnies in my yard and watching them enjoy the bowl of water which is under a Japanese Maple and sharing it with birds, my beautiful yard and flowers and a home that is one of God’s
    Special gifts!!! And that’s just for starters!!!
    Love you both,
    Susan
    PS, pray for successful cataract surgery tomorrow and another 2 weeks later!

    • carolnl says:

      Love how you’ve added to my list Susan. These are terrific praises. And we will pray for your successful cataract surgery tomorrow and again in two weeks! Keep us posted please. Love you back.

  2. Karen O'Connor says:

    Thank you, Carol, for your reminder to focus on gratitude. That has been a hallmark of my life over the past twenty years as I began to realize all of my blessings–many of which came disguised as challenges.

    • carolnl says:

      As long as I’ve known you, Karen, you have been an example of living a life of gratitude. Thank you for that, and for the truth that many blessings come disguised as challenges. So true!

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