Caring for our Bodies

Learn to Relax

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:29-31

Through my late teens and almost my entire 20’s, I didn’t stop. I pushed, pulled, willed, and made myself, go. Part of my wanting to go, go, go, was because I was highly motivated to get stuff done. I didn’t mind working hard, and most of the time I had an “I’ll do it myself”, attitude. Even when I would go to bed at night I would have a running list of things I should, could, or needed to be doing. I, once, had someone gift me a coupon for a massage, which was good for a year, and I never used it.

I was waiting. Waiting until I had earned it, until I deserved it. This was the other part of my “go”. I needed to earn rest and relaxation. I needed to make-up for my past and fix things, by doing everything I possibly could. I wouldn’t and couldn’t stop doing, or thinking about doing.

Until, I physically couldn’t. My body stopped. My mind was further behind. Much further behind. I needed to rest and relax and I had no idea how to do it. I did not know how to relax. And when I would try, my mind and my body would feel painfully agitated. It took me a while, but I eventually learned how to rest and relax.

I had been trying to earn something that I could not earn, and that was peace. The peace that comes from knowing Christ.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

As I have learned to trust and lean on Jesus, I have been able to relax more fully. I cannot earn peace, but I can receive it.

Recently (right before Christmas), we (my husband and younger son) went shopping in Pittsburgh, and by the time we got to the mall I was tired, wired and agitated. The guys went off to do their own thing, so I was left to my own devices. I decided to get a massage (yes, at the mall), and that’s exactly what I did. It was one of the best choices that I’ve made 😉 and I did manage a little shopping too. I would have never done that in my 20’s, but now (dangerously close to my 40’s 😉 ) I know what is important. I work, and when it’s time to rest and relax, I rest and relax.

You don’t have to get a massage to relax (although it does help). There are many ways I relax like: reading, drinking hot tea, watching a movie, sitting outside (when it’s warm), taking a bath (or foot bath, which I prefer), looking at pictures, watching birds out of the window, stretching, and even lighting a candle or having fresh flowers around (especially in the winter). Do you know how to relax? What are some ways that you relax or some things that you find relaxing?

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

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