Taking the First Steps to Freedom
When change hits us unexpectedly, it is almost like a direct blow into our gut. We are momentarily winded, unable to breathe. Our minds are numb, unable to focus. Our thoughts are frozen, unable to think coherently. Our limbs are weak, unable to stand or to walk or to act.
Yet, we have to take stock of what just happened. This might take a few days or weeks or months, sometimes years. Psalm 46:9-11 encourages us thus:
[Psalm 46:9-11 NKJV]
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Meditate on this scripture: [Psalm 46:10 NIV] “Be still, and know that I am God”, says the Lord God Almighty.
God is a place of rest and peace, strength and comfort for those who rest in Him.
Work on deliberate relaxation techniques that do not use idolatry.
Breathe deeply. Take 10 deep breaths. Breathe with your stomach.
Find a space on the floor or a bed on which you can lie down flat on your back. Don’t fidget. Just concentrate on your belly button and your breathing. Breathe with your stomach and feel your belly button rise and fall. Take 10 deep breaths. Repeat. And repeat again until you feel comfortable doing this. Allow the tension to leave your body. Let go …
While still lying flat on your back and breathing deeply, work from the top of your head to the soles of your feet, step-by-step tense and relax each muscle. Start with your scalp, then your neck, then your shoulders, then your upper arms, then your lower arms, then your fingers. Go back to your shoulders, then in between your shoulder blades, then your lower back, then your thighs, then your calves, then your feet.
Repeat and repeat until you feel human again. Do it daily.
Realize that you can’t cope with everything that hits you. Relax and let go. Problems today will still be problems tomorrow. We don’t have to hang on to them. Realize that it is not your job to know everything there is to know. There is a finite limit to what we are able to cope with as normal human beings, and, if you can, release all your problems and your burdens to God.
[Psalm 55:22 NKJV]
22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
Trust in the LORD that He is more than able to guide you into everything that you will need.
[Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV]
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Another way to approach stressful change and situations is to increase the amount of physical exercise that we do. A brisk walk or run if you are able often does wonders for our demeanor and state of mind. Start very small, say walk for 30 minutes, and build up to one or two hours, three times a week. Pastor Bobbie Houston started getting us into walk and prayer times early in the mornings, which is an imaginative way to keep our walks interesting.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Thank You, Abba Father, Lord Jesus Christ.