Changing old habits
When I first came back to Christ, I was a stressed, worried mess. I worried about everything I had no control over, (which is everything) making myself physically sick. It may even have been the cause of me losing one of my twins in my last pregnancy. I would go over scenarios over and over again in my mind, making things worse each time. Then, after speaking with an excellent friend and mentor about my constant anxiety; She suggested a “God Box.” A “God box” is to place all my worries. First, I would write down my issues, pray, and then deposit it in the box. Anytime I began to worry, or what she likes to call “mentally masturbate” (that’s why I love her so) I would look at my box and acknowledge that I had already given it to God.
Matthew 6:34 (NIV) 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
This small gesture brought me great peace. At the time it was hard for me to trust completely in the Lord. I still sometimes struggle with this. In the world, you are so used to leaning on yourself for solutions when problems arise. In Christ, He will carry your burdens (Who does that? Not your fellow man!) which are something I am not used too. Breaking old habits is hard. Being a child of God, is just that, a child where you must learn new skills.
Matthew 11:28 (NIV) “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Pumping My Muscles
Faith, Grace, and Mercy seem to be a like a muscle you need to grow; You must continually exercise it to see results. My friend’s suggestion of a “God Box”, which I now call my “prayer box” was exactly what I needed to increase my faith and truly understand God’s grace. Constructing my first box was simple. I took a tissue box covered it in shimmery paper and cut a hole in the top. All my worries were placed in it. I would still worry; it wasn’t an instant fix, but instead of continually going over the scenarios the box reminded me to pray.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
Eventually, my stomach subsided, things began to get better, prayers were being answered, and I wasn’t worrying. Months went by, and I continued to exercise my new coping mechanism. One day, in the midst of prayer, God told me to open the box. First, I didn’t realize how much stuff I worried about. Secondly, I didn’t know how many prayers God had answered in less than three months. His grace and mercy brought to fruition in my life. Rewind two years later, prayer (and of course God) has changed my life, health, and stress. I still break out the box when I need to release my burdens. I also use it to praise Him when I open it up to see all the things that he has done for me. If only I knew of His sovereignty sooner (not just in theory but actual application) in my adult life.
How do you handle your stress? How do you strengthen your faith?