I calmly walked to my departure gate and after a short wait boarded, took my seat, and began to reflect and write about my airport moment. I typically buried myself in work during flights, but this time I shelved anything that didn’t nourish me. I disappeared into a world that muted my mind-chatter and lifted me.
“I long for a quiet walk with the one I love, beautiful scenery, nothing to distract me, a silent mind and nothing to do”. Still waters. Green pastures. It felt good to put words to my state of mind, the last of my writing that evening before deplaning. My spirit was elevated.
I had stopped, breathed, prayed, reflected, and did devotion of sorts on the plane. God interrupted my frenzy to share a taste of His clear presence and rest. The contrast was unreal. I fed the machine.
And so as weeks passed I powered on, mindful of the sharp contrast before and after A-23, paring back where I thought I could. Then, in a quick and painful turn of events, I was laid off over appetizers at a local restaurant. We were floating a sizable business startup and a few college degrees for starters, so the implications were substantial.
I wouldn’t have chosen this route and it hit hard. Fear seeped through my mind daily as my stress elevated to a persistent anxiety. I entered the crucible, waking panicked in the middle of the night, praying with intensity and reading relevant scripture.
It was painful, but I clearly felt God’s deep love and presence as He directed me through dark days. He steadily fed me. The power of prayer and devotion in our lives is incalculable, and a bedrock of finding peace amidst the storm.
Stopping to rest and pray was hard at first, but if Jesus needed it I needed it too. Jesus retreated for deliberate downtime, sending crowds away, and going up on the mountain by Himself to find rest and to pray. He went to the Garden, and so did I.
God transforms our most difficult seasons into spiritual Springs and enables us to emerge in peace before the storm subsides.
Side note: regular physical activity, uplifting social interaction, sufficient sleep, and healthy eating are also crucial steps to reducing stress.
What areas of your life most need additional time and nourishment? What consumes your time and stands in the way?
Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Psalm 118:5-6 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
Jeremiah 17:7 But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. they will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Mark 6:30-31 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”