The thing is that we are complex people. When our emotions are engaged, or traumatized from the past, our natural response is to try to escape from the stress instead of face it. Escapism feels good in the moment, but doesn’t actually help.
When my kids were little, at about 3pm, I’d find myself in the kitchen, having eaten several handfuls of chips – without even realizing it. Why? My brain was trying to self-soothe. My life was crazy, every afternoon the shriek-factor in my house seemed impossible (no one would sleep, so craziness prevailed at about 3pm).
My brain wanted out, so it tried to get more energy instead of taking the time and energy required to actually solve the problem (putting everyone to bed whether they wanted to or not). I was trying to fix the emotions by running away from them.
Do you have crazy ways of running from stress? What would happen if you stopped running and took it to God? What would happen if you dropped it in God’s lap and waited for His answer?
Here is an imaginative prayer that might help (I’ve been doing quite a bit of contemplative work, so if this is freaky for you, just give it a try. You might be surprised.):
- Picture the stress that is drying you crazy.
- Can you see it in your hands? Now walk into the throne room of Heaven.
- Can you see God sitting on the throne?
- Is Jesus by his side?
- What does the throne room look like?
- Hold your hand out in front of you with your stress in it.
- Hand it to God. You might lay it at Jesus’ feet, or you might hand it to God.
- Give your stress situation to God and wait to see what He does with it.
What would it look like to let God into the real depth of your frustrations? Not the results, not the part where you say I just need a bit more of this or that, but the root issue.
Here is an application – when I found myself eating chips like they were tranquilizers, I didn’t need peace. I didn’t need space. I needed control. I had no control, I had a house full of ADHD toddlers. I needed a God answer. I couldn’t find a God answer until I stopped trying to stuff the stress and faced it.
Do you need a God answer? Use the comment section below – I’ll love to pray with you.