The temporary disruption to most of our lives that began in March of 2020 has now become a way of life. Although many of us believed things would get better, they’ve actually, for the most part, stayed the same. In fact, in some cases, things have only gotten worse. People are divided on masks and vaccinations as well as other world issues. For church leaders, daily life has become extremely difficult and exhausting because so many are divided on how the church should be structured and operated.
Lately, I’ve come to realize that there’s a deep sense of emotional exhaustion and physical fatigue felt among everyone as we began to realize there's not a present end in sight to our current circumstances. Pressure and anxiety are high for everyone. This session is part two of a practical solution guide that will help you handle the current chaos. I encourage you to read until the end so that you can learn how to hit the release valve on the pressure in your life.
I was filling my gas cans for my generator a few weeks ago to get ready for a hurricane that was headed toward Louisiana. I grabbed one of the cans out of my garage that had a little bit of gas in the bottom. The whole can was swollen like a balloon from the heat. When I hit the button on the top of the can to open the lid, a big burst of air came out, acting as a release valve for the pressure that had been building in the can.
When a person has so much going on that they barely have time to breathe, that person can tend to eliminate the very things that will actually bring the greatest relief to their circumstances. Their stress builds. This stress then turns into anxiety and emotional exhaustion. The person finally reaches their limit, and the anxiety and emotional fatigue begin to manifest through behaviors that look like moodiness, passive-aggressiveness, cynicism,
detachment, or host of other negative actions.
When you're under prolonged or constant stress and experiencing continual discouragement, the unhealthy parts of you will begin to manifest in multiple areas of your life. Your spouse and kids as well as those closest to you will see the effects of this constant stress the most, but others that you work with on a routine basis may get a glimpse of the negative behavior as well. You may even be able to control the negative behavior to some extent. Perhaps the first several people you come in contact with during the day will experience the gracious side of you; but if you're not careful, you may lose your composure with others you encounter throughout your day. It’s hard for us to always avoid losing control. If you find yourself close to the point of losing your composure, you have to know how to hit the release valve and try to respond to the situation instead of reacting to it.
Of course, this is much easier said than done. However, you have to remember that when you become triggered by outside circumstances, you deteriorate or erode the very relationships that you need in your life to keep you moving forward through those chaotic times. If you allow yourself to be triggered, you destroy your influence with the most important people in your life. I know those are tough words to process, but it’s really that serious and
I want you to take a minute to consider these next questions. What can you do that’s not abrasive to the people around you to decrease your anxiety when it’s at the highest point? What’s your healthy release valve? What takes the pressure off of you in a healthy way?
I’ll give you a few really practical examples.
1. Release the stress. Step back, and breathe deeply and slowly until you feel the anxiety decrease. You may need to take a short break from people. Don’t detach, don’t disappear; but take a break, and then come back a little later and work through the problem.
2. Use key relationships in your life. Maybe you have a person or a few people who can help you process things, someone that can help you gain a different perspective. It’s amazing how someone we trust can give us an entirely different viewpoint on a situation.
3. Read scripture. Scripture can work wonders at diffusing tension and anxiety. Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” It’s incredible what scripture can do for us. Make a list of go-to scriptures that you can refer to quickly, and put them in your phone or somewhere you can grab them when you need them.
4. Take time to pray. This is actually the best and most important thing you can do to relieve stress and anxiety. Prayer will allow you to free yourself of the inner turmoil, effectively releasing the pressure built up inside so that you can receive the peace of God.
There are many things you can do to help decrease your anxiety and stress, but here is the key, you can't wait until the pressure is high to implement those release valves in your life. It’s too late at that point. You must prepare ahead of time. If you are losing control on a regular basis, perhaps you need to consider working on making breathing room or space in your life. Try working on your daily routines, looking at your work-life balance, examining your vision, and planning your weeks out a little better.
When the pressure becomes high and starts to impact your key relationships, learn to hit the healthy release valve. Remember, you have to know what those release valves are prior to finding yourself in the middle of the stress and anxiety. If you’ll work on this ahead of time, I promise it will make a huge difference in your life.
Copyright © 2021 Ryan Franklin. All rights reserved.