I have been trying to learn new ways of coping with stress since God freed me from food addiction over 3 years ago. Overeating was a major way I dealt with stress and difficult emotions. While being freed was amazing, it has taken much longer to learn new ways of dealing with those things. Learning to deal with difficult emotions in a new and more healthy way is a part of my journey to freedom. But praise God because even under extreme stress I am not bingeing. Once I am full I stop eating and it is wonderful that this is the case even under such stress.
My work has been particularly stressful over the last few weeks. Even people who are normally very relaxed and calm are overwrought (it is a temporary thing that will calm down again). I wasn't coping at all a few weeks ago. Then a couple of weekends ago I watched a DVD I have of Jackie Pullinger and her work in Hong Kong. In it she describes the amazing work she has been doing there with addicts.
One of the things she did quite early on was to start each day by praying in tongues for 15 minutes and it helped her to do the work to which God had called her. I thought if this way of praying helps those addicts maybe it will help this former addict. So I started to pray in tongues for 15 minutes every morning. I pray like this while I am getting ready for work in the morning, while I am in the shower and getting dressed. I am amazed at how much better I am coping with the extremes of stress that are going on at work.
Now I realise that not everyone has the gift of speaking in tongues so another way of praying would be to find a verse of Scripture, or a worship song that looks outward to God. Examples would be,
"Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name" (Ps 103:1)
or perhaps the chorus of Matt Redman's 10,000 reasons, 'Bless the Lord Oh my soul'.
Speak the verse or song out loud over and over again. I find by praying in a way that by-passes my mind in this manner I am turning away from my own needs and thoughts and simply seeking Him with all my being. My spirit connects with God's Holy Spirit. It takes an act of the will to do it but the results are worth it for He will help us with whatever we need.
One of the unexpected side effects of this way of praying for me has been that I have been getting back down to my writing again. I had been experiencing something of a block but it is now gradually going and my excitement and ability to write is once more increasing. Once I stopped praying about my writing and simply sought God, to praise him and worship Him he removed the block as a natural by-product of my turning to Him more often in praise and worship.
So may I encourage you to seek God, to praise Him and look to him. Spend some time seeking Him not answers to prayer. Seek God Himself and He will bless you.
Lynda Alsford is a sea loving, cat loving GP receptionist and writes in her spare time. She has written two books. He Never Let Go describes her journey through a major crisis of faith whilst working as an evangelist at a lively Church in Chiswick, West London. Being Known describes how God set her free from food addiction. Both books are available in paperback and on kindle on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. She writes a newsletter, Seeking the Healer, in which she shares the spiritual insights she has gained on her journey. Sign up for this at her website, www.lyndaalsford.com. Lynda blogs at www.patch-work-blog.blogspot.co.uk