Relaxing Into Stress

I’ve been thinking about the difference it makes to stop resisting feelings of stress, anxiety, and any kind of discomfort. I know it’s strange to think of relaxing into that feeling that you’re trying so hard to eliminate, but–at least in my experience–doing so changes the power and influence of the distressing feeling. 

It’s like when you fight the inevitable waves on the shore. Instead, you receive each one and the unique and often astonishing gift each delivers to your life. We stop by the beach as we travel to my sister’s house. I walk all morning as each wave crashes. 

Jellyfish, sea plants, shells, sea glass, crabs, and one time, a pair of sunglasses arrive at my feet. (The sunglasses washed up as I considered the bright sun and wished I hadn’t forgotten my sunglasses. I stood there in awe, like God knew and sent a gift via the sea.) 

I examine each present with wonder and think of the story each creature or object could tell of where it’s been. 

A crash of water and a gift: you can’t stop the waves, but you can receive what they bring you. And sometimes, the distressing thing intends to deliver something of God to your feet.

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