At 1:00 yesterday, Matt and I stepped off of an airplane and back into Life. We had enjoyed a lovely visit with friends, in central Oregon, but visits end, and responsibilities jump on you like hungry boys on hot pizza.
Pretty soon I was opening a bottle of ibuprofen and shaking pills into my hand. Where did this headache come from?
From the growing to-do list.
From the thought of work starting on Monday.
From tight shoulders.
I felt cranky, because I wanted the peace of the Lord. Instead there was an unholy knot in my neck, and I was having to work to get a full breath.
“If only coming back from vacation could be like one of those infinity pools,” Matt said. “You could effortlessly flow into it instead of jumping immediately into the deep end.”
My daughter showed me a picture once, of a girl who gets rained on by the words “too much.” The rain turns into a downpour, until she is standing under a mountain of “too much, too much, too much.”
Yes. Exactly how I felt.
Too much, Lord, I said. Too much, too much, too much.
“Yes,” he said. “Too much. For you.”
I can’t do all of this, I said. I can’t, I can’t, can’t.
“That’s right,” he said. “You can’t.”
So I quote the apostle Paul today. I think that very often he must have turned to a buddy and said, “Could you rub right here –this tight place at the base of my neck? Yeah, that’s it. A little harder.”
Paul knew stress. Internal, external.
And he says:
I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses [too much, too much, too much], so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
For Christ’s sake, I delight in my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships [stress!], in persecutions in difficulties [more stress!] For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9b-10 NIV
How to handle stress: Be delighted.
Delighted = the look on my face when I took the first bite of a Krispy Kreme in the airport yesterday morning. *angels singing*
Delighted = the way I feel when an airplane takes off.
Delighted = the way my stomach flips when my husband winks at me from across the room.
So today I am mentally choosing to delight in what the next few weeks hold, because I cannot do them. I just can’t do everything that’s coming my way. Which means Christ power is going to rest on me. I’m going to cry out for help, and he is going to help.
The power of Christ resting on me.
The power of Christ resting on me. Those are massaging words. Yeah, right there. Words that work out the knot.
If you’re stressed out, I recommend a good five minutes of deep-soul therapy with 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Let Paul’s words loosen you up.