What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Help! I'm Stressed Out!

Okay friends, I have to admit something to you.  The smiling face you always see on my Blog Profile or my Facebook Page isn't always accurate. It might even be a bit retouched.

I didn't take this picture...a friend did...and I think her camera had some special app to whiten teeth and remove wrinkles. I wish I had that app in real life. But that's another issue.

What you are seeing is a person who has gotten very good at smiling on the outside, but who may not be showing you the true inside picture.  It may even be something like an iceberg...you know...the "tip" of the iceberg? What you are seeing on the surface is only the very tip top of the iceberg...and it looks like you could easily go around it.  But remember the "Titanic"?  What was just under the surface was dangerously concealed from view...and it cost many people their lives.

Oh don't worry, I'm not going to "go postal" or anything like that.  At least I don't think I will. It would not be in my nature to do anything like that. But I have realized something about myself lately...I may not do anything overtly to hurt anyone else, but I may inadvertently be doing my own self a lot of harm. Why?  Because I am not letting go of the stresses that are overwhelming me.  Oh, I say a lot of good things and I believe that God is here with me and that He is carrying me through the storms of this life. I KNOW He is, or else I would be an even bigger basket case just about now. But I am harboring some rather insidious fears and anxieties.  I am smiling on the outside and saying I'm okay, but inside I am becoming a boiling inferno of stresses that I don't know how to control.  And it is taking its toll on my body. I am starting to come apart at the seams, or so it seems. Physical maladies are starting to mount up...and I am beginning to crumble under the weight.

I asked our Pastoral and Administrative staff at the church where I work today how I should handle this stress.  One suggestion was that I should just go outside somewhere and let it out...scream, cry, yell, let it go.  Another suggestion was that since I am a writer, I should write it out.  But I said I always try to write positive things for others to read. I was told to write out the negative feelings or heartaches and then destroy them.  Put it down on paper, and then burn it.  I thought those were good suggestions...and I am actually attempting to write more honestly what I am feeling...so bear with me.

Now don't get nervous or excited about what I am going through.  But I would ask you to pray. Pray that I will practice what I preach when it comes to my own self. Pray that I would allow myself some time to unwind and rest and let go.  Pray that I would not feel guilty or less than "perfect" if I can't handle everything the way I think I should. Pray that I would be honest and real and true to myself...and to my Lord. After all, He never said that I should carry these burdens on my own.  He never expected me to be perfect. As a matter of fact, He knew that I couldn't manage alone...and that is why He came to save me in the first place.  That's why He came to love me so much...because He knew that I could never love myself the way I should.

Actually, Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30:

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,
For I am gentle and lowly in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and 
My burden is light."

There is an old hymn that I absolutely love, and have sung it many many times in my life. But only recently did I acknowledge that I wasn't truly living this message...or maybe I was...the negative phrases of the song definitely apply to me:

"What A Friend We Have in Jesus"....(sound familiar?  Sing along with me)

"What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!"

"Have we trials and temptations? 
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged--
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness--
Take it to the Lord in prayer."

"Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge--
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He'll take and shield thee;
Thou wilt find a solace there."

By: Joseph m. Scriven, 1819-1886

I know I think I take all my burdens to the Lord in prayer...but the evidence is mounting up that tells me differently. I may be carrying my burdens to the Lord in prayer, but I am not leaving them there. I am picking them back up and taking them back home with me. And that has to stop. Or I am not going to survive. It's as simple as that...and as serious as that.

Now I do feel some better. Writing is therapy for me.  Talking it out on paper helps me put things in perspective.  Also doing something physically active and somewhat mindless helps too...here's an example of me really getting into my therapeutic work:  

Note the amount of paint on me is almost equal to the amount of paint on the cabinet I am trying to paint. But that is good.  I feel so much better now.  Thank you for listening...and praying.

"In His arms He'll take and shield thee; 
Thou wilt find a solace there"

Click here for a link to some helpful "de-stressing" ideas  written during another time when I was feeling overwhelmed.  You'd think I'd learn.


  1. "In His arms He'll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there." You sound like you are doing some good things for yourself, including prayer and also painting therapy. Being in the garden helps me or taking walks. Your writing helps you and others too and I hope it all works out for you.

    1. Thank you Terra. I am trying...and I am trying especially to quit trying so hard. I need to allow myself room to breathe, to grieve, and to let go. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. Knowing that others care is a big help.

  2. Dear Pamela, I am so glad you did write this all out. It doesn't seem like such a simple thing as a blog post can help, but it really is helpful two-fold. For you, the writer and us, the reader. We want to help you carry your stuff in prayer, that's why we are friends. To rejoice in the good and pray or commiserate in the bad. We got you covered Hun. Susie

    1. I know you, of all people, understand this...the writing it out, and the feelings of having to always be "perky" and "perfect" before the eyes of the world. You have actually helped me to see that it is okay to just be me and let down the pretenses and barriers that are hindering my healthy growth. Thank you for being that kind of special friend. I'm so glad we found each other.

  3. You've truthfully expressed feelings I find myself dealing with, and I've not spent the time I should to be honest with myself about what my stresses are doing to me, or that I too, take them to the Lord...but don't leave them there. Praying for you, your family....and especially Matt. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Sometimes the most difficult part of this is acknowledging that we just can't do it all...that we really do need help! That's always been hard for me. I like to think I'm in control of myself (if I can't be in control of everyone/thing else, at least let me take care of me!) and then I realize that I'm not doing such a great job, and I need to let go and let God. Praying for you and your family as well. So thankful that our Lord has such big shoulders!

  4. Oh sweet sweet Pam. (((hugs))) I love you for your honesty...I love you for your courage...and I love you for taking steps to help yourself! I love your therapeutic work! We paint alike! ;) Our bodies eventually tell on us if we keep trying to carry a heavy load. I speak from experience. I've been at a point before that I had to work to relax...that is crazy. My therapeutic work now that the weather has warmed up is to get outside and work in my flowers. While I'm on my knees working there in the flowers I will be remembering you in prayer and asking the Lord to help you learn to relax! I know that has to be hard with all that Matt is going through, but He will show you the way. I love you!

    1. Thank you Dianna. It is such a comfort to me to know that there are so many dear ones out there who don't even know me face to face and yet know me heart to heart and can take the time to say a prayer for me. I am remembering you as well, and thanking the Lord for you and your sweet friendship. Enjoy your flowers. That is another area that I like to "de-stress", but I don't get enough down time to do that as much as I'd like. There again is where I need to take it to the Lord in prayer. Blessings to you today. Thank you.

  5. This IS why we write, Pam. To be honest about where we are and to write our way toward light. It doesn't happen in a single journal entry or blog post, but I'm glad you took up your pen (or keyboard) and gave it a go. It always helps. God is in laments as much as He's in the Psalms of praise. He'll use it. AND, just so you know, I've always been a proponent of an occasional scream. My dear daddy used to get in his car and scream when his job as dean at a university became too much. I learned it from him and have found it highly therapeutic. Somehow, once that tension is released from my body, I'm able to get 'down and dirty' with God, so to speak. And in the meantime, I'm with all these others, praying for you.

    1. Dear Carolyn, Thank you for taking the time to share these thoughts with me. I have been out of touch the last couple of days, having a colonscopy and also preparing for our trip back to Maine to be with Matthew one last time. Everyone's words of comfort and encouragement and hope have been a tremendous help to me. I am so blessed to have friends such as you and all these other dear ones.

  6. Hi Pam! Focusing on something else like writing and painting is such a great idea. It's hard to wake up every day with the same ideas floating around and making us feel helpless and sad. I am so glad that you found a 'fix'. The Lord gives us everything, even a way to release our tension...so we can trust again.
    I enjoy walking. That really gets me away from my worries, maybe it's the endorphins too? Gardening, going out to lunch with friends, those also help me.
    I am so proud of you for 'writing it out' and sharing your feelings here. That can't be easy to do. (That image of the iceberg is a fantastic example by the way.) You never know who you are helping just by sharing your trouble and how you were able to overcome it, if even for a little while.
    Blessings to you!

    1. Yes, , I am thankful for the outlets that God gives us to work through our troubles. Writing, creating, photography of nature, and friends like you. I am blessed beyond measure. Thank you.

  7. Dear Pam: Susie, Ceil,and JeskMom all say what is in my heart. Here is my prayer for you and yours,

    Dear Lord God: Please wrap Your arms of love around Pam and her family right now. Draw them closer to You. Whisper words of love, healing, and comfort in their ears. We will give You the praise, I ask this out of Your grace for Pam and her family. In the name of Jesus,I pray. AMEN

    1. Your prayers mean so much to me. I needed that right now. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Love, Pam

  8. Dear Pam, praying for you and your family daily.I know what a difficult time it is for you and I am so sorry you have to go through this.

    1. Thank you Nancy. Please keep us in your prayers this week...today especially. We are with our son at Hospice House, and we will have to say our "good-byes" to him today as we head back home tomorrow. We know the Lord is with him, and that even at this moment He may be sending His angels forth to carry Him "home" to glory. Your prayers and those of many others are carrying us through this time. Thank you for being there...and for understanding exactly what we are going through. (((hugs)))) to you today sweet friend.

  9. Hello Pam. I'm new to your blog but love it already. And you. We are sisters in Christ even though we have never met. I'm a writer too, found many years ago, at age 10 that it helps me cope better. And like another one of your friends I love to walk, though because of my ill health these days am unable to do much of that. I'm so glad you shared a little of your feelings. I've been blogging for a long time now, can remember how hesitant I was at first, to share anything but positive things. I finally realized, after talking to the Lord about it, that there were probably other people like me, people who are fearful of sharing what is really going on with them. Once I began sharing I received so much mail thanking me, telling me how much it helped - knowing they were not alone with their fears, doubts, worried, problems. Your family has been added to my prayer list.
    My prayer for you is that every day you may always experience the honor of the Lord's presence, the warmth of His love, and the tightness of His embrace.
    Have an amazing day.

    1. Hello Barb, I just discovered your comment here...thank you so much for sharing this with me. This week has been rather difficult for me, as we are with our son at hospice, expecting him to enter the gates of heaven at any time. And yes, we are experiencing the "honor of the Lord's presence, the warmth of His love,and the tightness of His embrace" every moment. Wonderful picture words of what God is doing right now as we speak. Thank you for sharing this with me. Blessings to you today.


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