In a society where everyone seems to constantly be on the go, on their phones, heading to sporting events, concerts, out with friends, anything to keep from feeling what we need to feel… Rest almost seems like the bad four letter word.
I still struggle daily with being able to rest. I have to start my day with God and asking Him what He would have me to do that day and for Him to guide it. I usually start my day thinking of all kinds of things that I want to get done but God has His own ideas and plans. What I have found, is that when I follow His plans the day goes much smoother.
What I get frustrated with, is that His plans often include rest that I had not planned on. Like yesterday, which was a Saturday, I planned to do some writing and get all kinds of things done, and during my time with God in the morning I felt Him tell me I needed to rest.
Rest is extremely hard as a trauma survivor because we live in a constant state of stress and anxiety, and if we are going all the time we don’t have to stop and feel the uncomfortable feelings. When we rest we can begin to notice what our body feels like, the emotional feelings that go with it, and sometimes the memories that go with it.
No one wants to be aware of horrible and uncomfortable feelings, but I can tell you after years of avoiding it, when I do choose to deal with it, now it brings freedom.
So, what does it look like to rest, and what do you do when you try to rest and you have anxious, fearful, uncomfortable feelings?
- If you are trying to relax and rest and your body is extra tense and anxious and uncomfortable, and you just want to get up and move or eat……sit and ask God to help you see why. Then, talk to God either silently or out loud or journal to Him what you’re feeling and why you think you might be feeling it. Next time you’re at a counseling session talk to your therapist about it and how you can process it.
- Then, ask God to help you set aside what’s causing those feelings-I like to picture a safe in my mind that’s guarded by God, and I place whatever memory is coming up into the safe to be dealt with during counseling. I lock it away and ask God to help calm me down.
- Next, I begin to breathe in and breathe out until I can feel my nervous system slow down and I began to feel somewhat relaxed.
- I find a good wholesome movie or show to watch or a good book (don’t choose the thriller even if you like them because that will increase your stress!) I like to do this cuddled with my cat because petting her also helps to relax my nervous system.
- Be aware of mindlessly eating while you’re trying to rest because every time you eat your body has to expend energy to process that food and that’s going to make you more tired.
I get this does not sound fun or comfortable to get to the resting point, but it is so worth it. God rested on the seventh day letting us know how important He feels it is for us to rest. He obviously didn’t need to rest because He’s God, but He was setting an example that He knew as a human being we would need rest.
A couple other things that I have found helpful in dealing with needing to rest is getting a massage regularly and keeping regularly scheduled chiropractic appointments. This helps detox your body, increase blood flow, decrease inflammation, keep your body working the way God intended, and begin to help you be comfortable in your body again after trauma.
That too is a process, and the first few times may not feel comfortable, but stick with the process when you find someone you’re comfortable with, and it will begin to help. I don’t see these as luxuries anymore, but it’s part of staying healthy so that I can do all God has called me to do.
So, today I encourage you to find a time to rest. Maybe you need to start out with five minutes and work your way to 10. Don’t feel like a failure when it doesn’t come easily because I promise you it won’t. Not just because of our society, but because your body is used to living in fight or flight.
I can promise you though, it will help you deal with what your mind needs to process, and it will begin to bring freedom and healing. Again, I can’t stress how important Christian counseling is to help you process the trauma.
Stay strong my friends and follow Jesus allowing Him to be your strength, and know that with Him you are not alone. You can do this!
Now go rest! 😊
© 2022 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.