Choices, choices…

Some decisions we make are relatively easy.

Eat the chocolate or the fruit? No worries. I’ll have both, thank you.

Have a coffee? Yes please….though preferably before lunch or it will have to be decaffeinated.

We can do a Joyce Meyer and 
‘Eat the Cookie… buy the Shoes’

Other decisions rightly take a great deal of thought and time to make – new job, further study, career change, moving house, getting married, starting a family etc.

They can be literally life-changing.

When I read Holley’s God-sized dream task for this week I hesitated, struggled, paused, prayed and decided I couldn’t really do as it suggested.

Here’s the task:‘Decide what you will decrease in your life so your God-sized dream has more room to increase. What do you need to say “no” to or “not now” or “not so much” to so your dream can thrive?’ The idea was to choose one thing that fitted this criteria.

I had a heart-sink moment. My life has been pretty constrained for many years due to chronic health problems. I want to add to and increase what I do, not take away from an already limited life-style. Though, with Lent approaching, giving up something might be feasible and achievable.

Then, as I continued praying for guidance, I sensed there was something that has been such an intrinsic part of my life for years that I’d taken it for granted as normal. 

Right from earliest childhood, as my parents waged verbal war against one another, as I experienced rejection, emotional neglect and abuse, it has been my tendency to absorb it all like a sponge. 

I am a natural peacemaker, conciliator, arbitrator. But it has left me with an unwanted legacy. I’m also a permanently coiled spring and an adrenaline-saturated junkie by default.

My whole frame sinks under the weight of unrelieved, deep-seated tension from many years spent waiting with wearied expectation for the next disappointment, problem or disaster to strike, as it inevitably did and still does – such is life

Frequently, even in slumber as a foetal-curved comma, I am roused into wakefulness by the awareness of shoulder-hunched, jaw-clenched tightness turning me into an exclamation mark of pain suffused with waves of heat and adrenaline pouring over me.

Anticipation of ‘fire-fighting’ continual difficulties, years of swallowing down anxiety and fear while persuading myself I am dealing with it, processing things enough to keep going but not sufficient to overcome properly – all of this has become a recipe for tension to a degree that has been my undoing and urgently needs to be addressed.

Even as Christian believers, we can fool ourselves into thinking we are doing fine.

So accustomed had I become to keeping a Tight Grip on myself, that I’ve been totally unaware of the cause of it, blaming  my chronic health and sleep problems on the constant muscle and joint pain I experience on a daily basis. The answer went deeper.

I’d forgotten how to fully do the natural and necessary things:Breathe. Let go. Relax. Rest. Sleep.

Such appalling bad habits have taken years to develop and may take a long time to undo.

The one thing I seek to decrease, to say “No”, “Not now” and “Not so much” to, is this all-consuming tension that is slowly consuming me.

I must decrease it. It’s gradually destroying me from the inside out and adding greatly to the aches and pains of the medical conditions I suffer from, never mind the insomnia.

God doesn’t intend us to live tense, stressed-out, anxiety-ridden lives. He desires to drop His still dews of quietness and peace into the overwhelming oceans and sinking seas of our trials and tribulations.

“Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give you and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled].” ~ John 14:27 – (Amplified Bible)

Yes, even now, snowed under by a fresh avalanche of problems large and small, I can learn a better way to react, a different method of responding to life’s trials. Problems are a fact of life and solutions have to be found in dealing with them satisfactorily.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have (perfect) peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer (take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted)! For I have overcome the world (I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you).” ~ John 16:33 – (Amplified Bible) 

I accept there is no quick-fix solution. Lasting change takes time. Various medical and alternative therapies have already been tried to varying effect. More can be explored.

This a period where I am seeking to make wise choices in every area of my life, to embrace God’s best and learn to leave behind what isn’t working for me anymore.

And such is His grace. He doesn’t want any of us to live our lives imprisoned by tension, fear, anxiety or anything else.

Jesus died to set us free from those things that are detrimental to our complete mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health and well-being.

New choices to help me live a less tension-fuelled and filled life:

I choose to express this problem publicly in the hope of just one other person being helped by it.

I choose to pursue a pathway of peace and tranquillity, no matter how long it takes.

I choose to seek further medical help and support if necessary.

I choose life-enhancing activities to relax and refresh me.

I choose to let go and let God.

I choose to live a Holy Spirit fuelled and filled life.

Over to you:

How are you dealing with unresolved stress and tension in your life?
Please feel free to share what is helping you to relax and be at peace.

In this post I am linking up with Holley Gerth and the God-sized dream team as we seek to discover God’s best for our lives this year.

You can keep up to date with the progress of my personal journey of faith by signing up to receive these posts by e-mail, or connect with me by Google Friend Connect,  Facebook or Twitter.

I really value your companionship on the journey. Together we are stronger!