There’s a saying going around that there are 365 “fear nots” in the Bible. I haven’t counted so I can’t verify the truth of that statement, but I do know it’s in there enough to qualify as the most repeated command in the Good Book. Oh, and yes, “fear not” is a command.
It seems God has built into my body a stress detection system. When fear, worries and pressures start getting to me, the muscles in my lower neck and upper shoulders tighten up into a snarl of strained sinew. I call it my “Fear Knot” and it’s my own personal alarm telling me it’s time to step back and do these things:
1. Breath. Up until recently, I wasn’t aware that I haven’t been breathing correctly. Shallow breaths let in the bare minimum of oxygen, causing my cells to practically suffocate. So I’m learning to take deep, belly breaths — just like my vocal music professor instructed me years ago. Singing requires good, cleansing breath — so does living. I knew that — I just forgot.
2. Sit up straight. Confession time: I’m a sloucher. It’s a bad habit. Shoulders back, chin up, ten-hut.
3. Enlist PB to give me a rub down. I sit on the floor in front of him and he works my shoulders like a pro. I have to join him in watching “Duck Dynasty” but that’s even worth it. He tends to like the idea of me sitting at his feet anyway.
4. Take a walk at the lake. Being out in nature reminds me there is a world beyond my office. And a magnificent one, at that. (A kayak ride around the lake with friends is even better!)
5. Pray. I pull out my go-to list of stress-busting Bible verses. I say them out loud in order to get my mind to listen to my heart.
Where do your “fear knots” tend to show up? How do you loosen the ligaments, tame the tendons, and stomp out the stress?