Dr. Di’s Prescription For Tension Heart Head Aches
Lead me in the right path, O LORD,
Or my enemies will conquer me.
Tell me clearly what to do,
And show me which way to turn.
I got there again this week:
… stressed out of my mind,
… needing to tackle piles looming like Mt. Everest,
… wanting to curl up and hide.
What is my problem? Why can’t I get this right? Will I ever learn?
Coming off the high of a staff retreat with Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs, I crashed just as soon as I walked in the door and stared at the pile on my desk. Just where I left it.
All week my soul responded to Sarah’s words… rest, soul-space, pace yourself.
And all week I wondered how.
Am I really too busy? Or am I simply thinking wrongly about how God views me and how I should see myself?
Should I work harder, stay up later, stuff the angst deeper, blame somebody?
Of course not. But that’s exactly the way I’ve been doing.
And so today I just asked God for wisdom. Again.
And He gave it. Again.
Here’s what I heard, dear friends of mine. And I have a suspicion that this is not just for me, so I swept the piles aside and wrote it down just in case you need it too.
1. Do beauty
A woman’s soul craves beauty. And my soul was shriveling up, feeling dry and… ugly. So I went out and cut some flowers. Peonies, roses, Jacob’s Ladder, trailing ivy, a sprig of boxwood. Beauty. For me.
2. Stop being so mean to yourself
I am my own worst enemy. I critique and criticize and berate myself endlessly. No wonder I fall apart if anyone so much as suggests I didn’t get it right! I know this… now I must discipline my thoughts and stop scolding myself. Geez.
3. Have fun
Here’s my version of fun- curl up with a steaming pot of Marco Polo tea. Tuck a furry blanket around myself. Read something delicious… poetry, or Ann Voskamp or Wangerin or something that just makes me delight in God. Or a story.
If that sounds boring to you, do what you love. Shop, play, dip your toes in water, go to an art museum.
4. Delve deep
Shake out that other side of my brain that loves to learn and dig just for the fun of it. Get lost in something interesting.
5. Be quiet
Stop talking- to your girlfriend, to your mom, even to yourself. Shh!! Just listen. When I’m stressed I can’t hear His voice because I’m fussing so loud.
6. Get real
Stop pretending that you’re fine. Be honest. Be transparent. Allow someone into your secret unhappiness. She’s probably been there before and might just whisk you off to an afternoon of rest that you’d never do alone.
7. Go running
I am just amazed at how energizing to my brain a good short run is. And when I say run, I really mean jog. Get out in the fresh air and feel the stress slide off your shoulders. Everything just seems to fall into place- keep running until it does.
Give someone else a taste of hope. A word or a hug or an “I believe in you, you’re terrific” sort of email. Really, this one is like medicine to my soul. Maybe because its not all about me?!
9. Make friends with a lefty
Today I am having coffee with one of the most organized, efficient, left brained women I know. She posted on her blog not long ago about her system of keeping all the balls rolling. I couldn’t understand a word she said but I caught a glimpse of something that sounded hopeful. If she can lasso all my right-brained messy creative thoughts into a coherent can-do accomplishment- well, here’s to hope.
10. Get up early
Think these tasks through while I’m fresh and no one is calling or texting or Face booking or emailing or commenting or saying, “Hey mom, would you…”
A grin on my face means I’m giving thanks. So simple. So right and godly and good. MUCH better than all these crazy ways we self-medicate!
Hug, caress, hold, embrace, cuddle, rock. Be a woman with all the passion and affection that brings us alive. If I’m stiff and cold it’s because I’ve died. And I don’t want to be dead.
I look back at my words and am a little embarrassed. Shouldn’t I throw something incredibly profound in here? I mean really— smile? Pick peonies?
And what about my piles?
You know, they just don’t look so awfully high now. In fact after my tea and a few pages of a good book I think I might just go for it.
From my much more rested heart,
So my friends- how about you?
How are you managing all the things you’re supposed to be doing right now?
Have you figured out ways to simplify your life? Will you share those ideas with us?
I could use some really clear left-brained-organized ideas… as well as some reminders of what’s important and what just isn’t.