Friday, July 15, 2011

Pump Those Brakes, Baby: Part 2

I give you: Part 2
(Previously entitled "Pump Those Breaks"--yet another sign it's time to slow down. And work on spelling.)

5. Some of us have the thousand-white-rabbits-running-wildly-and-reproducing-rapidly-in-our-heads syndrome that kicks in without fail when we crawl into bed each night. When this happens we are overwhelmed by our rabbit-like thoughts and often spend hours chasing them, trying to corral them into some sort of cage before we can peacefully fall asleep.

Enter: journaling. Your journal is your rabbit cage. It corrals and preserves your unruly thoughts, helping you to process them now, and making them available to process further at a later time. I've found that it's helpful to journal at least an hour before bedtime each night so that your mind is cleared from the day's events and burdens sufficiently in advance.

If your rabbit-thoughts come in the form of thinking through (and worrying about) the next day's events, start a to-do list around dinner and add to it throughout the evening. I've heard these planners work wonders as we try to spill our messy thoughts onto a sheet of paper.

6. Go on a 20-30-minute walk each day. Walking is another sure-fire endorphin releaser. So strap on your walking shoes and go tackle that massive hill down street. Better yet, play the "Ha-ha-ha" while walking up the hill. Your body will be relaxed and invigorated, soaring in a sea of endorphins.

I've been battling a number of health problems this year that leave me absolutely exhausted each day, and my daily brisk walks are the only thing that make me feel temporarily rested.

I've also been doing some research lately on the role of walking in health, and have discovered that it can prevent chronic fatigue, in addition to heart disease. A rested body is a healthy body.

7. Take time at night to lie down, close your eyes, and listen to this song.

8. Ease the day's tension out of your body with a 15-minute stretch. If your muscles are beyond the help of normal stretching, get a foam roller. When in use these things are borderline torture weapons, but they work better than a deep tissue massage.

A tip: the black rollers are the firmest, so they loosen you up the best and hurt the worst. Trust me, it’s worth the pain.

When you're done stretching, take a soak in Epson salts. The magnesium in the salts will help your muscles relax (A fun fact: calcium makes them contract).

9. Finally, “forget not his benefits” (Psalm 103—Go read it). Our bodies can only be as rested as our souls. If you’re like me, your schedule is often packed to the max because you’re striving to get. things. done. And if you’re like me, it’s natural to blaze through your day meditating on the difficult, discouraging, or potentially disastrous things in your life. Neither of these patterns gives rest to our souls. And no amount of practical activities can undo the frenzied toll they take on our souls.

True rest is only found in Jesus. Our souls can spread out and rest because he is good. That’s it.That’s the secret to a rested soul, and eventually a rested body. Truly believing and meditating on God’s goodness.

Of course rest is a choice—we can’t maintain our crazy lifestyles and expect to evade the consequences. So we sometimes say “no” to create margin; we reorder our cram-packed days to allow for stillness; we take care of our bodies; we divert ourselves daily; we take a weekly Sabbath and an annual vacation.

But first we remember the good things God has done. We record them by journaling, writing, and composing so we can regularly look back on God’s history of faithful, good provision. Then we meditate on them instead of our worries, burdens, and the unknown future.

This meditation almost always turns into praise.
We praise God for being good, powerful, with us and in us.
We praise him for his sovereignty that swallows up our frantic striving.
And this praise is the consummation of our rest.

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