When All Else Fails, Throw Flour
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33 ESV
I’d been having a really bad day. You know, the kind of day where everything that possibly can go wrong does. My toddler had thrown one too many fits, my baby needed a little too much of my attention, lunch was burning on the stove, and my house looked like a toy bomb had gone off . . . After a while little things seemed huge, and I started feeling really stressed and frustrated. My blood started to boil. I wanted to blow my top. I wanted to yell at my family. I wanted to curl up on the couch and feel sorry for myself. I wanted to wallow in the notion that God didn’t give a hoot. But I didn’t. I threw flour instead.
Let me explain.
When we are feeling stressed and stretched to the max, there are lots of destructive ways we can respond. We can lash out at our husbands and children. We can medicate ourselves with food or shopping or the Internet. We can look to our human relationships to soothe us. We can turn to substances like drugs or alcohol, looking for a high to counteract our lows. We can vent. We can bail. We can sink into despair. Or we can cling to God’s truth and find a way to keep on going.
When my day got uber-stressful, I felt myself starting to believe the lies of the enemy. My problems seemed insurmountable. My stress felt unmanageable. My family felt like the enemy. Instead of lashing out or losing control, I found a way to get a grip. I grabbed the huge bucket of flour I was using to cook with, hauled it outside, and called for my husband and son. We took turns lobbing flour at each other, and before long we were laughing so hard, the stress we were facing just melted away.
When it was all said and done (it took us an hour to sweep up all the flour), I was reminded that living out God’s truth is a choice. Stress is part of life. Bad days will come. Defeat and despair will always knock at the doors of our hearts. We can react in ways that hurt ourselves or our families, or we can find a way to keep going and cling to the hope God offers us in His Word.
You don’t have to throw flour to get through your own stress. You can take a walk, call up a friend, go pick flowers, knit, draw, sing, dance . . . the possibilities are endless. The point is to do something constructive that allows you to take a breath and get some fresh perspective.
What are some constructive ways you like to de-stress?
Action Step: Create an anti-stress jar.
On slips of paper, write down alternatives to unhealthy ways to cope with stress. Include several passages of Scripture that comfort and calm you, one-sentence prayers to pray when the stress level rises, and simple activities that can take your mind off of your troubles. Examples might include blowing bubbles, going for a walk, cranking up some worship music, or whipping up your favorite recipe. Then throw some in there that you are unlikely to do under normal circumstances like rolling down a hill, having a pool party in the bathtub, or singing karaoke in the living room.
The next time your pressure valve nears the max due to stress, pull out a slip and choose to respond with grace, kindness, and serenity.
A Mom’s Prayer: Jesus, You warned me that my days would have troubles, and yet it always surprises me when things don’t go my way. Help me to choose to press in to the peace that You promise me instead of acting in ways that do not glorify You.