Spring always brings to mind growth and renewal. For us here in Minnesota, spring is slow in coming which is why we are growing romaine lettuce indoors. The weather has been cold, snowy, rainy and very dreary. My enthusiasm for growth and renewal has been cold, snowy, rainy and very dreary. This spring has been very busy and stressful. The weather alone could make one stressed and I may have taken on one too many projects. For me the line between perfectly busy and overload is fine. It is easy for me to fall on the overload side.
In my busyness, I get very focused on getting things done. I come home from work and work. My weekends are focused on work. My husband begins to complain that I’m married to my electronics. My anxiety level slowly starts to rise and I become a little “short” with the kids. My sleep becomes disrupted and I start to crave sugar. This downward spiral continues until I hit bottom or the to do list lightens up. Does this happen to you?
Stress has a pile of negative consequences in the body that have been documented by research. A quick search through Pub Med (a government listing of over 23 billion biomedical research studies) will bring up link after link between stress and disease. This includes heart disease, depression and many other inflammatory ailments.
One of the things this research has also shown is that prayer reduces stress. Yes, that is correct. It is not a misprint. Prayer reduces stress. It lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases the feel good hormones in the body. It is no surprise that scripture instructs us to pray.
Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Taking time with God is what keeps us centered and our blood pressure down. Daily taking time to refocus and prioritize allows us to stay centered on God’s will for our lives. It reminds us whose we are and that we should be about spreading God’s love, grace and mercy.
When I am spending regular time with God, I stay focused on others and my anxiety stays low no matter how long the to do list has become. God has designed us to spend time with Him. Our bodies literally react positively when we do.
Okay, so the last couple of months, I have fallen off the “regular” train. I shouldn’t be surprised that my anxiety level started to rise. I had turned off my internal stress reducing system. I is no wonder that life is easier when I am spending regular time in prayer. It is time to restart my once daily habit. Will you join me? Trying it certainly can’t hurt. Maybe you are already have a well-developed habit. Share it here so it can help all of us. If not, what are your struggles with consistent prayer time? Share those as well and we can help each other.