Stress-Free Living–Is It Possible?

Sometimes I am overwhelmed when I look at my responsibilities, writing obligations, and travel schedule. Reviewing the next three months of my life on my personal calendar caused my heart to sink this morning–so many miles to cover and suitcases to pack, plus the daily grind of administration never ends… And this doesn’t even include ministry which is the icing on the cake for me, but I am afraid it has all become unattractive. I am just too busy and too stressed.

Later, I was talking to my husband about the pressure and stress I felt, and I said almost thoughtlessly, “I don’t know what to do but keep going… just keep pressing on. But my body and mind want to stop, to get off the ever-rotating wheel.”

A few hours later, I was having a little quiet time and stumbled on this passage from Isaiah 26. It is in “The Message” translation:

At that time, this song will be sung in the country of Judah:
We have a strong city, Salvation City,
built and fortified with salvation.
Throw wide the gates
so good and true people can enter.
People with their minds set on you,
you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
because they keep at it and don’t quit.
Depend on God and keep at it
because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.

Those who lived high and mighty
he knocked off their high horse.
He used the city built on the hill
as fill for the marshes.
All the exploited and outcast peoples
build their lives on the reclaimed land.

I read this words over and over.

People with their minds set on you,
you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
because they keep at it and don’t quit.
Depend on God and keep at it
because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.

“They keep at it and don’t quit… depending on God.” They are “steady on their feet.” These words encouraged me like a dose of good medicine. “People with their minds set on God.”

Pausing to meditate on God’s Word has vast benefits–not just for the spiritual life but physical as well. Here are few stats.

According to reports, there have been over 1500 separate studies since 1930. All were related to meditation and its effects on the practitioners. Some statistics on people who meditate include results like:

  • Heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and oxygen consumption are all decreased.
  • Meditators are less anxious and nervous.
  • Meditators were more independent and self-confident
  • People who deliberated daily were less fearful of death.
  • 75% of insomniacs who started a daily meditation program were able to fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed.
  • Production of the stress hormone Cortisol is greatly decreased, thus making it possible for those people to deal with stress better when it occurs.
  • Women with PMS showed symptom improvements after 5 months of steady daily rumination and reflection.
  • Thickness of the artery walls decreased which effectively lowers the risk of heart attack or stroke by 8% to 15%.
  • Relaxation therapy was helpful in chronic pain patients.
  • 60% of anxiety prone people showed marked improvements in anxiety levels after 6-9 months.

The famous Dr. Oz from the Oprah show and beyond emphasizes meditation as a stress reliever and an anti-aging agent. I read several articles by him on the subject, and I am convinced my own stress has been out of control partly because I don’t take time to meditate on the goodness and saving power of our Lord–to let His Word and promises wash over me, cleanse me, and uplift me. I just don’t take the time. I read my Bible and pray, but actual meditation has been very little.

Anyway, this brief meditation today has brightened my world and challenged me to broader vistas of a less stressful life…

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You
. ~ Isaiah 26:3

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Syble says:

    Wow!! Bonnie, what a word to me this morning!! You’re right, reading our Bible and praying is just the beginning. God is good………….think on it!!

  2. Bonnie says:

    Syb, great to hear from you. I miss you so much.

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