“633 – you have an 95% chance of significant health breakdown in the next 2 years,” not the most exciting news to hear on a Tuesday afternoon. That score was not from freecreditscore.com :-), nor was it my blood pressure or sugar level – it was my Holmes & Rahe Stress Score. Just looking at that score made me stressed – AAAAAGGHHHH! How did I get there? It was the fall of 2014 and life events had stacked up in a major way on me. When I looked at the opening line – 95% chance of significant health breakdown – I thought, “Well, I’m going to be the 5%.” And I was, here’s how . . .
Don’t get me wrong, my body was agreeing with the 95% – mouth soars, knot in my throat and chest chronically, heart palpitations, my skin would crawl, I wasn’t even at home in my own thought life – because it was chaotic. The test I took was a wake up call to recognize the symptoms that my body was having in regard to my life events.
- Step 1 – Wake up to realize you’re stressed – it’s how God wired our body to honor His rhythms of work, worship and rest. I didn’t even know myself well enough to realize what was messing with me.
- Step 2 – Rest in God – rest is the absence of striving and it’s born out of delight. God rested on the seventh day not because he was tired (as if He could be), but because “God saw everything He had made and it was very good”(Gen 1:31). God rested from a place of delight, and the only thing He did on the seventh day was bless (Gen 2:3). Truly Blessing others is born out of rest & delight.
- Step 3 – Breathe – “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Gen 2:7). Most of us have never breathed a truly deep/long breath how we’re designed to, where our stomach expands and our shoulders don’t rise. It’s an all-encompassing feeling, just like I’m sure the first miraculous breathe of life that was given to Adam. Your whole body should feel the force of the miracle of life that God has given you – stress melts in that place.
- Step 4 – See His image restored in you. God didn’t have to be reminded who He was, but we certainly do. When stress stacks up we quickly lose sight of the majesty we were created for, and the beauty of the Person we were created to look like (Gen 1:26). Picture yourself in the middle of your day, then ask God, “Show me where you’re going to be with me.” You’ll be surprised and comforted by what He does.
Repeat steps 2 thru 4 daily, and as often as possible. Even when you don’t feel stressed – rest, like God did, for the purpose of delight. Then adventures you and God will go on will begin to breathe life into your entire world. Be the 5%, walk in God’s plan for your rest.