Take a Break
Do you ever feel anxious? Over-worked? Stressed out? For many of us, it has sadly become our physical and emotional ‘normal’ to exist in this state. Whether prompted by career expectations, family demands or self-imposed ideals, running in the red zone is not optimal for our physical, emotional or relational health. We all need space to get away.
No, I do not carry any earned degree of expertise in this area other than just life.
We could talk about all the things which cause anxiety and stress, but in truth, those things look different for all of us. What pushes my buttons may just roll off your back, and vise-versa. Instead of pointing to the culprits, I’d love to share with you my top response which helps me to lower my anxiety and return to a more healthy – physical, emotional and spiritual – place.
“But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”
Luke 5:15-16 ESV
Literally. Step away from the conversation. Get up from your desk. Tell them you will need to call them back. Turn off your computer. Put down your phone. Go outside. Walk down the hall. Do laps in the kitchen. Do what it takes to get away.
Working in a corporate environment, stepping away was my ‘go-to’ response to anxiety long before I ever connected this activity to Jesus’ example. Even now, working from home, my daily walks are something I have come to depend on.
I would like to say that I spend all this walking time in deep prayer, although sometimes that ‘prayer time’ probably looks more like venting. But who better to vent to than God, as he already knows what is in our hearts. This is the beautiful part of being in a relationship with God, taking our concerns, hurts, and emotional needs to him. He always helps to bring clarity to any conflict.
Other times, my prayer walk offers me the benefit of removing the distractions of my desk and provides an opportunity of undisturbed time with God to discuss an area which requires a decision. After a couple of laps the Holy Spirit helps to settle my soul and bring clarity to the situation.
I know friends whose homes sit adjacent to parks and walking trails, and I’m a bit jealous. Our home does not, however, the neighborhood is secluded and the circular layout makes our street a great place for all the neighbors to walk.
Maybe your work or home environment doesn’t provide you with an obvious opportunity to step away and walk. Here are some additional suggestions which you might be able to incorporate:
At the office:
Take an extra lap around the floor when making a trip to the ladies room, getting a coffee refill or visiting the water fountain.
Take the stairs when needing to visit another floor in your office building. This offers a few minutes of cardio as well as some alone time.
Take the long way to reach your vehicle in the parking garage after work. Trade in the convenience of a straight line for the stress relief of walking a bit farther to reach your destination.
My all time favorite when I worked in an office tower, was to visit the local mall at lunch and walk 2-3 laps inside sheltered from the weather. Let’s face it, walking outside in the Texas summer heat is not all that refreshing!
Clear a space by taking the clothes off the stationary bike or treadmill so it can be used for it’s actual purpose. Ok, maybe that’s just me.
Make a path through the house from room to room. I’ve walked many miles around our kitchen island! And my mom has a path through several areas of our home which she treks with her walker each day.
Find a local park or school with a track. Many neighborhoods have walking trails and paved walking or biking paths, or even ponds with designated walkways. Often schools have their tracks open to the public after school lets out.
Physical activity is a wonderful way to burn off the stress and anxiety. When we combine activities like walking with conversation with God, it offers him our undivided attention and opens the door for him to bring divine healing and rejuvenation to our anxious heart, spirit and body. It’s the perfect activity to get away.
One Last Thing
Let me leave you with this last thought from C.H. Spurgeon, “Just when there were such grand opportunities of doing good, just when everybody sought him, does he get right away from them into the wilderness to pray? Yes, because he felt what we ought to feel but often do not, that he needed fresh power, that as the servant of God he must wait upon God for fresh power for his great life work: “He withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed.” No doubt it was the constant habit of Christ to pray, but there were certain special times when he retired into lonely places, and his prayer was peculiarly fervent and prolonged.”
Blessings and remember to get away,
Lord, thank you for meeting us right in the middle of our mess. When feelings are raw, anxiety is high and circumstances have gotten on our last nerve, you are there. Always there, just waiting for us to call out, reach out and step away to spend time with you. Help the woman reading this today to remember this, help her to realize how much she is loved and how much you care about every detail of her life. Thank you for being our calm harbor in all of life’s storms. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Jana Kennedy-Spicer, Founder of Sweet To The Soul Ministries, is a wife, mom and Nana. She is a born and raised Texas girl who loves boots, sunflowers and sweet tea. She has a heart for studying God’s Word and is passionate about encouraging women to do the same. After a 30 year corporate career, God called her to share her art and love of Bible Study with others. Her favorite part of ministry is where her faith and art collide! This is the sweet spot where souls become inspired. She is the author of Let Your Light Shine: Being a Light in a Dark World; Praying For Revival; Inspiring Women: Who They Are and How To Be One and Gracious Words: Speaking with Kindness and Mercy; and the illustrator of the scripture based Garden of Life Coloring Book and Coloring the Scriptures.