As we begin this New Year, a certain word has come to my attention…
Recently, I listened to Aaron Rodgers speak on the rough start of the Green Bay Packers’ NFL season. This was recorded in September as they started their season off 1-2, and fans started to question the team’s abilities and resilience.
Looking at the season now, the Packers are 12-4 and are the number 2 seed in the NFC, that also happens to be home to the last year’s Super Bowl champions. The Packers may have had a rough start to their season, but this has been the case for the past two seasons, both of which they also made the playoffs.
Let me explain quickly, I am a Packers’ fan since childhood… it probably had to do with the fact that their fans are Cheeseheads. For some reason, this resonates with me and I am a Packers’ fan through and through.
But as I listened to Rodgers tell the fans to relax, it made me start to ponder some things. Relax means to become less stressed or anxious, but for some of us out there, that is a foreign concept. We tend to put relaxation on a pedestal that is out of our reach. We tend to often dream about relaxing, but cannot ever achieve a state of relaxation.
Sometimes, even the idea of relaxing is stressful! Why is that? How can the mere idea of relaxing be stressful? Because there is not enough time in the day to even begin the process of relaxation. This was illustrated well in the movie, “Mom’s Night Out”. As you begin the movie, all of the mothers are stressed beyond their limits and just need time to relax. Shortly into the movie, you see that their time of relaxation is more stressful than their actual stressors!
Now, I know there is not enough time in the week to find a moment of relaxation, but God did not intend for us to live in a constant state of anxiety and stress. I have often heard people say “Even God took a day off to rest.” He was definitely busier than us, but still, we can see it is important to have a day that you set aside. Coming from a 25-year-old single person, this may not resonate, but as I have searched the scriptures and asked for wisdom in this area many times, I can say stress has to be dealt with in healthy ways. There are three ways to help with relaxation.
The first thing that we must do is to set our priorities. What are your priorities? Do your commitments reflect your priorities? If your commitments do not reflect your priorities, then you need to take a step back and look at why this is. It may mean that you need to back down from some commitments. If you are giving the precious gift of time to something and it is not a top priority in your life, then you may need to learn to say “no”. It is not easy to say no to things, because we often get so programmed to saying “yes” just to please others. Being helpful is great, but if it is taking away from your top priorities and is causing more stress, then it needs to go! I have a scripture to help us out, Luke 12:34 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We have got to learn to say no, to help us prioritize. Let us put our hearts into things that mean something to us. Treasure your priorities, treasure God.
The second thing we must do is schedule some time for relaxation. Ensure that your daily/weekly/monthly schedule allows for time to unwind. Schedule time for you to regain sanity, because honestly who can you help if you cannot even help yourself. Look at your schedule and set apart a specific block of time for you. When you schedule that time for a bit of relaxation think on this set of scripture, Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Find rest and refuge in Jesus!
The final thing is to cherish your daily devotion time. Set apart time with God. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Because, let’s face it, we can’t do this on our own. We can’t handle all that life has in store for us. We need help. We need that time to just sit and meditate on the Word. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” It’s as plain as day… Rest in Jesus. A shirt I have seen says: Know God, Know Peace… or no God, no Peace.
All three of these steps are close together, because it is a pretty specified area. We need to know what is important and make them important, for our sanity. And my final word to you comes from 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” So go on and prioritize Jesus, He’s got your back!