These podcasts are my attempts to think through how to have a deeper walk with God. To enjoy more satisfying and meaningful times of quiet with him. As I explore topics on these recordings I hope they help you, and that you can reflect back what you are learning so that we can all grow and learn together.
We continue our series today based on the book, “Unloading the Overload: Stress management for Christians” by Chris Powell and Graham Barker.
Today we explore the issue of learning to relax.
The Bible does not teach directly about “relaxing”. But, we are urged to “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Easier to say than to do. The key phrase is, “because he cares for you”. It requires some deliberate focus to be reminded of this and convinced of it. If we can learn how to do this (to relax), it will have a profound impact on at times of quiet with God.
Here are some Scriptures which, if meditated upon, will help us to “relax”:
- “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” Romans 8:35.
- “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10.
- “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.
Consider the example of Eliza’s servants (2 Kings 6:8-23). He needed to “relax” to be able to see the reality that was otherwise hidden from him, that God’s army was greater than that of the enemy. Certainly Jesus seemed to be able to relax – consider his attitude asleep in the boat whilst the storm raged (Luke 8.23).
Sure, the Christian life is not easy. We carry a cross (Luke 9:23). And Paul spoke of struggling for people on God’s behalf (Colossians 1:29). The key is that it is God’s energy which empowers us. How do we access this power?
How do we become aware of it and our need for it? It’s got something to do with relaxing.
Spiritual relaxing is a skill which can be learned. I have grown in this area by utilising the resources mentioned below. I won’t go into them in detail now, but bear in mind that awareness can be cultivated and learned. I would encourage you to have a look at the apps and resources below and to experiment with them to see what might help you.
To quote from the book:
“While the Bible does not directly say anything about relaxation, it does encourage us, at a number of points, to learn to “let go”. We are to let go of anxieties; we are to let go of activity and noise, in order to know that God is present; and we are to let go of the sense of carrying the Holyoke ourselves, and take on the yoga that is shared with Jesus-a yoke that is easy, involving a burden that is light. All of these injunctions have a relationship with the concept of relaxing and trusting in God’s faithful presence in our lives.” p86
What have you done which helps you to ‘spiritually relax’? Please report back if you try any of the resources mentioned below.
Resources mentioned in the podcast: Christian Mindfulness; Mind and Soul; Shaun Lambert; Headspace; Feeling Good.
Scriptures referred to, or that you might find useful: Luke 8.23; 1 Peter 5.7; Romans 8.35;Matthew 11.28-30; 2 Kings 6.8-23; Luke 9.23; Colossians 1.29.
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God bless, Malcolm
PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John