7 July Stress Busters

Since July finds many of us overheated by extreme summer temps and over-stressed by demands of life that take no vacation, let’s refresh ourselves today with the next in my year-long month-appropriate Stress Busters blog series.

This July installment is the next-to-last in the series I began last September. I hope you’ve found it helpful in seeing you through the various stresses that have tried to bring you down or keep you in knots over the past several months. Stress is ever-present in our lives so we need to be ever-alert to reducing it where we can.

So here you are, friends—7 July Stress Busters designed to cool you off and refresh your spirits. Be blessed by them!

7 July Stress Busters

  1. Take in a fireworks display on the 4th. Whether a city-wide display in a stadium or a park or your own personal fireworks extravaganza with family and friends, blowing up fireworks is such a fun and exciting way to blow off the steam of life’s stresses. The beauty, the thrill, and the fun of sharing it with others all work together to reenergize your spirit.
  2. Moderate the heat of outdoor activities—and the heat of unwanted stress—with some ice-cold watermelon. Watermelon is tasty any time of year, but add the heat of summer to the mix and its cool and refreshing sweetness makes a body go yum! And as you relish the taste and experience, you’ll relax and forget your worries for a bit.
  3. If at all possible, go on a vacation. Time away from work or just the normal routines of life can help you unwind both physically and mentally as you focus on other things—family fun, the great outdoors, new foods and experiences, relaxing with a good book, or any number of other things you love to do when you’re away from your regular responsibilities. Say goodbye to stress and hello to fun!
  4. Go to the movies. When the sizzling temps of July make it next to impossible to de-stress with time outdoors, enjoy some air-conditioned relaxation in your local movie theater. Seeing a movie on the big screen is a treat in itself, but go ahead and splurge on snacks too. Get away from it all and enjoy the adventure.
  5. Browse the shelves at your local library or favorite bookstore. Give yourself permission to do this leisurely as you savor the quiet atmosphere. Set stress aside and explore all that the room has to offer. Take joy in your new discoveries.
  6. Take a swim or play in the sprinklers. No better time than July to jump in the pool—or pond or river or ocean—and let the water wash your cares away. Or if you’re like me and swimming is not your thing, cool off in the sprinklers. That’s right, become a kid again—and yes, grab one or two or ten while you’re at it—and enjoy dashing through the sprinklers. Don’t forget to open your mouth wide and grab a drink too. Remember, fun equals refreshment.
  7. Stir up some homemade ice cream. Ah, the delight of homemade ice cream during the heat of July. Definitely hard to beat. Add your favorite topping, cake, or pie and you take the delight up to a whole new level. Simply divine. And the simple pleasure it brings will provide just the soothing touch your frazzled spirit needs.

May these stress busters help you chill out in more ways than one, my friends. And as you do, lift your eyes to the heavens and offer thanks to God for the joys of life. They are all around!

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.” Psalm 92:4 NIV

*Which of these stress busters most appeal to you right now?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out August 1st. One lucky subscriber will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.) 

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by yllek, Creative Commons License

Sowing in Tears

13153221935_58034d137e_z“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6

What does it mean to sow in tears? I’m sure there’s more than one way to interpret these verses, but one thing I think of as I read them is prayer.

We sow seed as we pray for those who have never come to faith in Christ. We sow as we pray for those who have drifted away from God and as we pray for the needs of our churches. But how earnestly do we intercede for these deep needs?

When was the last time our tears flowed or we experienced internal anguish as we prayed for a family member, a friend, or someone else’s loved one to give his or her heart to the Lord? When was the last time we wept over a people group deluded by a false religion? When was the last time we sowed in tears?

If we’re not careful, our prayers can be half-hearted or superficial. To sow in tears we must take time to care. We must open our hearts and love people. If we do this, their separation from God for eternity will surely drive us to our knees — and to tears.

So yes, we will feel sorrow, but the Word tells us we will also “reap with songs of joy.” And when it comes to the salvation of a soul, one song of joy will be worth a thousand tears.

“I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers . . .” Romans 9:2-3

*Have you had the blessing of reaping with songs of joy after sowing in tears for someone?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out next week. Sign-up is free and to the right. Also have added the option to receive my blog posts by email as well as RSS feed now. See right sidebar.

*Update: Due to an unexpected family situation, I didn’t get to go on the Beautiful Feet Mission Trip I told you about in my last post.

*Flickr photo by MarLeah Joy, Creative Commons License