How to Keep Your Head in the Midst of Chaos

frodo, sam, chaos, mt doom

As a confession, I am a huge nerd.  

Life is not going to be a tiptoe through the tulips all the time.  Frodo had to walk through a lot of hardship to reach his destination.  Even Jesus said, quite bluntly in fact, “in this world, you will have trouble” (John 16:33 NIV).  Period.  Not maybe.  You will have trouble.  I don’t know why I am surprised when things don’t go according to plan.  Or when things spiral into absolute chaos.  Case in point:  last night my 6 month old son was tossing and turning due to a fever from his vaccines.  He tossed and turned himself right out of my arms, out of the bed, and then onto the floor.  Needless to say, I didn’t sleep the rest of the night.  But, I managed to make it through with becoming completely neurotic.  How did I do that?  Read on, my young hobbits.

Understand How Stress Affects You

Stress has become a really nasty word in recent times.  The idea that seems to permeate the interwebs is that the idyllic life is a life of no stress.  It’s as if everyone wants to live in Rivendell forever.  

rivendell, no stress

And can you blame them?  Though it isn’t true, it feels like today’s society is under a lot of stress all the time.  A lot of us probably need a break from stress.  But, stress is simply our bodies way of coping with change.  Small changes happen, and that stress can actually be helpful.  This is what helps us meet deadlines at work and solve problems at home.  The bigger the issue, or chaos, the more cortisol and adrenaline that our bodies secrete, especially in moments of danger.  This actually causes sensory input to bypass the front, and more developed, parts of our brain that is in charge of reasoning, inhibition, and forethought.  This just leaves us with our primitive, instinctual brain that reacts with fight or flight – meaning we react without thinking.  

Add to this that your heart rate will increase and blood pressure will go up, and your breathing will speed up.  Your muscles will feel tense, ready to spring into action.  And you will feel very alert and focused.  

Reacting to Chaos

So, while this response can get you out trouble quickly, it is not the time to make long term decisions.  So, when chaos hits, it’s important to work with your body’s response and ride out those stress hormones.  Some keys during the initial stress response stage:

  1. Don’t make any big, longterm, or permanent decisions.  Example:  I can’t decide to never sleep again to ensure my son does not roll out of the bed.
  2. Take 3 good, big, deep breaths.  This helps slow your breathing and helps your mind relax, among other things.  
  3. Tale time to calm down.  Whether its a bite of chocolate, a snuggle with a loved one, or some exercise, take the time to help those stress hormones break down in your body.
  4. Let your body recover, which includes getting a good night’s sleep after the chaotic event.  Sleep does amazing things to repair ourselves.

Conclusion

After the insanity of my own chaos, the above steps helped me not overreact and come up with a game plan so that this form of chaos does not happen again.  Do you have chaos going on in your life?  How are you coping?  Let me know!

 

Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman

proverbs 31 woman

This week, I have been pondering the next verse in the Proverbs 31 passage. It says:

She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it].

– Proverbs 31:13 AMP

 source

 This seems so matter-of-fact.  It seems to refer simply to her household duties, and her diligence to her position as homemaker.  But on the other hand, especially reading the entire passage, you begin to wonder if you could ever live up to this ideal.  I can spin wool.  I use drop spindles, but it can take a long time and has always gotten a bit tedious after a while (which is why I am still trying to spin the only roving I’ve bought for the last 5 years).  But I don’t think the true meaning lies in only this surface reading.  I decided to do some research into some commentaries.  This woman is not setting a ridiculous expectation for other women.  In truth, she “sought all opportunities of doing good works externally, as believers do; and sought after the kingdom of God, inward godliness, which lies in peace, righteousness, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”  This reminds me of when James admonishes believers 

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead

– James 2:17 NIV

 Wow.  Not that our works can save us, but I find myself constantly having an attitude about everything.  Motherhood, being a wife, helping others.  It’s like I say, “Well, if I really have to, ok.  But I would much rather be doing ____________ so let’s get this done as quickly as we can so I can get on with my life.”  Not very nice.  How many people will be honest?  Because I know I can’t be alone.  I am not mindful of my thoughts and spend most of my days thinking of only myself.

So, this week, I am going to focus on what my attitude is as I go through my day.  It won’t be easy, but I know that it will bring maturity to an area of my life.  What are your thoughts on this?

Motherhood: A Heart Wrapped by Tiny Fingers

baby, motherhood,

Life has it’s ups and downs.  Adventures followed by the mundane.  But, through it all, there are those moments that seem to capture your heart.  I admit, motherhood has been a bit of let down at times.  It is hard to pour your entire being into a little person, drop by golden drop, and they look at you blankly or cry.  To feel that your all is not good enough, and can’t measure up.  Then, add to that the competitive society that exists between American mothers, trying to live up to Angelina or Kim and our neighbors and friends.  It can be too much.

But, as time has went on, this motherhood thing has gotten a little easier.  I still have those moments or bad dreams that cause me to question myself.  And yet, I feel that my heart has become wrapped by these tiny little fingers that pull me to try and be the best mom that I can.  He smiles at me now while he nurses, reaching up to touch my face.  He is starting to reach for me when he sees me, grinning.  And for those who would say, motherhood is not about what you get out of it, stop lying.  Yes, motherhood is selfless and, quite often, thankless.  I would posit, however, that we human beings still crave a bit of appreciation for our hard work.  If we didn’t, the Nobel Prize would not be so coveted.  Even mothers want to see a smile or hear an “I love you” for all that we do.  In relation, it isn’t much, but we’ll take it.  

So, as I sit and work, watching my little boy sleep and dream on me, realize that not all days will be like this.  He is his own person, and I know there are days that I won’t like him and he will not like me.  As long as we still love each other, though, then it will ok.