Through my struggle I have learned a lot about how diet, exercise and hormones play a big roll in our body’s ability to process stress. When we are partaking of a poor diet (high in sugar, processed foods, empty carbs, etc.) and when we are not guarding our thoughts (continuously thinking on things that stress us out or get us worked up) we are stressing our body. When we are on high alert from something like walking across the parking lot at night, our body is stressed. The thing is that all three of those stresses are different, but our adrenal glands do not know the difference. The response is the same. Our body was not meant to be in a constant state of stress.
So which of these stresses can we control?
Can we control the high alert stress that we experience while walking across the parking lot at night? That stress response is instinctive. It is a healthy, natural, normal stress response; this is a stress response that helps to keep us safe by making us more alert to our surroundings and ready to flee if needed. Therefore, no control is needed. What about the stress done to our body by the food that we eat? Can we control that kind of stress? Yes, we can absolutely control that kind of stress. Can we control the stress responses we have from the things that we think about? Yes, we can control what we spend time thinking about and that in turn will affect our stress response. That is two out of three things that we can control.
Can we control our body’s adrenal glands—making them function adequately? The answer is yes and no. The reason it is both is because it takes time to recover the adrenals when they are worn out. If they are even recoverable, you might need medication to help you get there. You need help when your body does not respond when you are trying to control the two stress responses that you can control: what you eat and what you think about. So, if you are working on your diet, exercise, and controlling your thoughts but you still have no relief, then, you need help; you may have adrenal fatigue.
How many body’s do you have to wear out?
You only have one body. If you do not take care of this body you will wear it out too fast and then you will not be able to enjoy all that God has in store for you to enjoy. Sometimes we are just simply burning our candle at both ends. We need to get some rest.
Rest. God’s Word has a lot to say about rest. He even included in the ten commandments that we should set aside one day a week to rest. Outside of a Sabbath rest, are you even getting the adequate amount of rest each night for your body to recover? So many people are not.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. [1Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV]
My husband is guilty of working on a project that he just can’t put away. Sleep eludes him. That catches up to him, though. It usually comes in a bad attitude and short temper, sickness, or a day that he just can’t function and has to sleep. He is affected by stress more easily when he is not getting an adequate amount of rest.
To Rest or Not to Rest?
Take time to rest so that your body can be refreshed. When you’re body is refreshed then your soul is better able to receive from the Lord the refreshing that you need. You might need help with getting an adequate amount of sleep. Speak to your physician about your options.
Besides sleeping, resting is also a time to rest from our usual things and spending time with God. This is time to restore our souls; it is a time that inspires us and re-energizes us. Sabbath rest. It doesn’t have to be on Sunday. It could be any day of the week that you set aside for God; a time that you set aside to completely unwind and rest and relax.
On the flip side, I must tell you that too much rest and/or sleep is just as bad for you as not getting enough. Balance is so important when it comes to the health of your body. Getting too much sleep could be a sign of depression; having difficulty sleeping (insomnia), when you are trying to go to sleep, could also be a side effect of anxiety, depression, and adrenal fatigue.
Did you know that God wants you to enjoy life?
Have you every thought that God was a kill joy? When I was in one of my younger seasons of life that was my impression. I am so glad that season was a short one. As I studied the Word I found out that God indeed wants us to enjoy life. That is why we have the Bible so that we can know how to live abundantly. He teaches us how to live a life that brings peace, joy, love, and blessing upon blessing. If we walk in obedience we can enjoy life to its fullest.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have [it] abundantly.” [John 10:10 NASB]
Walking in obedience comes from studying the Word of God and applying it to our lives. We prayerfully listen for His promptings and obey them. In Matthew 11:29-30 Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon ourselves. His yoke is wholesome and His burden is light and easy to carry. When we walk in obedience we are taking His yoke upon ourselves. It is when we walk in disobedience and do not heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit that disappointment and dissatisfaction takes over. Only when we are walking in obedience to His Word and promptings are we walking in the anointing of the Lord; outside of that, His anointing leaves and we are left frustrated trying to work in our own power, and our own strength.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. [Pro 3:5-6 NASB]
To wrap these thoughts up, remember that eating life giving foods and exercising can do great things for the mind as well as the body. We only have one body so feed it well. Exercise it to keep it strong and able to enjoy this beautiful life that God has given us, and to be able to do the things that God calls us to do. We must rest our bodies by giving them the adequate amount of sleep that they need. We must rest our minds by making time for God. If we keep pushing ourselves without doing these things then the quality of the work that we do will suffer and we will not be able to enjoy our life to the fullest.