We begin our Building Resilience journey by taking stock of the pressure in our lives, the things we experience as threats to our well-being.
All this week, begin by slowing yourself in mind and body. Slowing helps to invite awareness of both God and yourself. If it helps you to move while you pray and reflect, consider a slow walk.
Intentional, deep breathing is especially helpful to slow us, and combining your breath with one of the names for God as a simple prayer (Jesus, Shepherd, Healer,...) helps to open a conscious connection with God. (If you’d like to know a bit more about what you’re doing here and how others practice it, you might enjoy this article: Take Time for Breath Prayer | WomenLeaders.com)
Begin with 2 minutes (setting a timer is helpful) of deep, slow breaths with your prayer word. Feel free to go longer as time and desire permits.
As you finish your “breath prayers,” spend another (at least) 2 minutes noticing yourself today. Notice anything you notice, but, in particular: What do you notice in your body today? Do you find pain?...tension?...peace?...energy?
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.
1 Kings 19:1-3
Elijah had poured out his energy in battle only to find himself again under serious threat. Jezebel had vowed to kill him! It’s not at all surprising that he was afraid and running for his life.
Pressure and threat always sap resilience. So, we begin our Building Resilience journey by taking stock of the pressure in our lives, the things we experience as threats to our well-being. Some things are universally stressful. A person of power vowing revenge on you is objectively stressful! Other things are stressful to us because of our unique history or temperament. We may be tempted to judge these things or ourselves because others don’t experience them in the same way. As best you can, take a non-judgmental posture as you reflect today on how you personally are experiencing pressure or threat these days.
- Spend some time naming the ways you feel challenged -- even “under threat” in some way -- in this season.
- How weighty are these challenges for you?
- How do you recognize that weight in your life (e.g. escapist thoughts, unhealthy coping mechanisms, tension in your body, strain in your relationships...)?
Close your reflection in prayer. Talk with God as you would to a friend about the challenges you’re encountering and how you feel about them. Pause before finishing for any sense you might have of God responding to you. That could be a mental picture you have...a feeling you experience...words that come across your mind...a scripture reference. Consider writing your prayer as a way to capture your thoughts and any awareness of God that you receive.
Scripture wisely instructs us to make the spiritual journey with others for the help and support of companionship. As you invest time in personal reflection, invest also in communal connection. Join our 12 PM Zoom Challenge Gathering today (and everyday, Monday - Friday) and/or with your household, your small group, a friend,...
- Tell someone about the challenges you are experiencing. Refrain from qualifying or discounting them as compared to others’ suffering. Let the weight you feel be named.
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