It started yesterday. This unsettling feeling. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why at first. I’ve been dealing with labyrinthitis and the past 2 days have been especially bad. It’s hard to focus so I wondered if maybe that’s what it was. I do find it tough to feel like I’m ship shape and in Bristol fashion (hahaha, I’ve been watching a lot of British TV) and that I’m getting everything done and getting it done properly with my mind in a fog. Still, it seemed like although the dizziness and vertigo were easing up a bit, last night was worse in terms of feeling unsettled. Then it hit me. Last night we saw a news report that a high school friend of my daughter’s was missing. And she’s a teacher just like my daughter. Whenever I see such news, I obviously always feel awful about it and I pray, but this. This just feels so close to home. So, what do you do when you feel unsettled?
My first step is prayer.
Turning to God in times of anxiety is always a sure-fire way to calm my heart. You’re heard of “getting things off your chest”. Well, don’t just unload them – hand them over to God. He already knows how you feel but the act of saying it out loud can be powerful. I have a tendency to hold onto things very tightly and bury them deep inside. Maybe you do that too? It’s a band-aid solution at best. You pack them away and then one day, perhaps out of the blue, they bubble back up again. Instead, I release them. Speaking the words lets them go. Speaking them to God increases those feelings of closeness to Him. I know I’m not alone, no matter what is troubling me.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God (Psalm 42:11).
Meditation continues the calming process begun in prayer.
I’ve actively spoken to God. After that, I find some quiet solitude to be very helpful. Think of it this way. Prayer is a two-way conversation with God. You are not simply giving a monologue. So, once I’ve prayed, it’s time for me to shut up. I need to leave some space for God’s answer. It’s important to recognize that sometimes that answer isn’t what you might consider a solution. In other words, you can’t always get what you want. God’s wisdom goes well beyond our understanding but we can trust that He is there with us. He will hold us and comfort us.
“…he will be the stability of your times…” (Isaiah 33:6a).
Finally, I deal with the tension in my body.
Feelings of being unsettled can naturally cause us to go into protection mode. Often, that means that our bodies will be holding onto stress and tension. A warm bath, a heating pad, doing some yoga stretches, or even just going for a walk can help. If you have the time (and it’s in the budget), book a massage. The physical and mental release can be so refreshing.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
If you have the time, my favourite way to accomplish all of this is by heading to the woods or the beach. The great outdoors is the perfect spot for prayer and meditation. Sit and just enjoy the sounds of the birds or the waves and work out the tension by walking for a while. It never fails to erase the worry and make me ready to take on the world again.