Guard Your Heart…At Work

According to the American Institute of Stress, “sixty-five percent of workers said that workplace stress had caused difficulties and more than 10 percent described these as having major effects.”

According to the American Institute of Stress, “twenty-five percent of workers view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.”

For more stats on workplace stress, click on this link: https://www.stress.org/workplace-stress

Upon prayer requests, it was an eye opener when God exposed one of the root causes of my anxiety was work. Moreover, every time I would enter a particular work site (I have multiple), my body would go on a stress alert, and one time I had an anxiety attack right inside of the classroom (thank God I was alone at the time). My anxiety levels at work/from work have decreased since that awareness and although I still have struggles, I handle the anxiety and stress much better. Life is a process and so is overcoming stress and anxiety. One way I have learned to handle anxiety was after researching I found to just embrace it. Don’t fight it. Let it take its course while of course stopping what you’re doing, like driving if you are. This helped because fighting the anxiety was making my heart pound even more and the walls of my lungs closed in tighter. The fighting didn’t help. The releasing control and allowing myself to feel physically and emotionally helped ease the symptoms and restore me back to calm. I also learned to take deep gut breaths. My anxiety often gave me more stomach issues to the point of having to run to the bathroom. I call it anxiety poop now. The breathing helped greatly to get my breathing and stomach under control. I have watched funny videos and listened to worship music to change my mental channels. There are other ways to manage stress and anxiety but let’s talk about one way that should be supreme. That is to guard your heart.

Work-related stress can get so bad it can result in sickness, mental instability, the inability to be present, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, low morale, poor productivity levels, and even death. I have been a part of numerous work conversations or chatter that lead to one or more of us expressing the effects of stress at work personally and as a whole.

Sometimes stress can be in the everyday routine and demand, or from workplace bullying, or betrayal, gossipping, and backstabbing, unprofessionalism, outside personal issues affecting inside work issues, or from coworkers who are aware or unaware of the unruly pressures they put upon the team due to the pressure put upon them. And nonetheless, these issues may be all spiritual for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).

Since we spend much of our day at work, how do we live our lives where stress no longer controls them or seeps into our hearts and cause infections?

We, as believers, are taught to guard our hearts. Above all else, guard thy heart; for out of it flows the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). But do we keep our hearts guarded even at work? I am not talking about putting a 10-foot wall and threatening all the coworkers you dislike from trying to climb it guard.

Our spiritual heart is composed of our thoughts, will, emotions, and desires. We are to protect it and allow God to transform it. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2). Guarding our hearts is a battle for we sometimes forget much of the war takes place there. And if the enemy can can throw grenades there, he can get you off course with what God believes about you and wants for you.

So, let’s begin to purposely and actively guard our hearts, even at work. Work is not just to earn a paycheck but it is like a second home for many, and it is definitely our mission fields. There are people on our job hurting and need to receive God’s love and presence to envelop them. Walking in consistent stress and anxiety can stifle you from walking in the love and presence of God to impact others. Your mind is clouded; your heart can grow weary. Edited: There are beautiful things that can take place at work. For example: today, I had a moment of break down when I arrived at work and was embraced and comforted. I was embarrassed but little did I know that I wouldn’t be the only one who needed comfort. After our movie and discussion session with the young ladies for Women’s History Month, some of the students expressed their hearts but it was the female staff who poured out their hearts, and I witnessed such love and support surface. Guarding your heart also means allowing vulnerability to surface in your heart to receive the genuine love and care you need. When your heart has grown numb and cold, nothing grows there. I thank my school today for being a safe place for us to share and receive the love necessary. That school knows who they are.

Guarding your heart at work takes four things:

1. Taking every thought captive. Catch those thoughts, check those thoughts, and change those thoughts that do not line up with God’s Word about you, others, or your circumstances. “I am not good enough.” “Things will never change.” “My coworker hates me.” Maybe she does or maybe she is coming down hard on you because when she was little they told her she will never be anything so now she demeans everyone to lift herself up. You don’t excuse the behavior at all but seeing them the way God does can ensure you won’t hold a grudge, seek revenge, or internalize their low self-worth and make it yours. You will be able to address them professionally and with love and understanding. Even avoid thoughts, gossips, and opinions from others at work that are causing division, stress, and just plain ungodliness and unprofessionalism. I have not always done this. But sometimes you have to change the subject and give those things no attention.

2. Change your perspective. Seeing things, others, and yourself the way God does. This takes prayer, even fasting, and saturating in the Word of God. I remember upon getting evaluated at work last year by my bosses and one saying they noticed I wasn’t as stressed or sick like I used to be. I told them I still got sick and stressed sometimes but what changed is the fact that I had to change my perspective. I had to see things differently and not take every thing personal.

3. Take a day off to renew. Every now and then you need a day of rest to reset. Some times I had to take off because I was sick and needed rest. I not only rested but I took that time to spend quality time with God. That refreshed me, having unrushed, quality time with the one who created me, loves me unfailingly, is the Source to my resources, and sacrificed greatly for me. I also would find myself able to catch up with something I normally wouldn’t be able to. I also found that rest was needed to be truly productive. I can think straight and function well.

4. Lastly the Word of God is alive and active and it is our sword. Saturate in it, read it and study it, use it as your weapon against the enemy’s lies and threats, and submit it to the Father in prayer. His Word cannot return to Him void.

Be encouraged!!! What other ways can you guard your heart? Are you a source of comfort and truth for others at work? How do you navigate work-life balance?

Advertisements

What Is the Evidence That What I am Doing Is Working?

Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.
Psalms 46:10 TPT
https://bible.com/bible/1849/psa.46.10.TPT

Tears slid down my cheeks as I walked hopelessly to the bus stop. Another day of routine coated in restlessness, another recognizably minor event yet heavy and familiar enough to cause anxiety and allow the enemy to usher in doubt and lies that nothing will change bombarded my morning. Feeling defeated left me in sobs and asking God “what is the evidence of what I am doing that it is actually working”. You may be saying the same thing and looking for evidence that your trying to remain faithful in the things and pursuit of God is not in vain because the world and the enemy are trying to convince you of this lie. You may be striving for things and progress to make something happen that God can make happen in less time if you learn to trust and obey Him. You may be looking for evidence that God sees your pain and barrenness in the midst of your faithfulness and much sowing. And in all of this you may have spiritual relapses and doubt and sin may be creeping in. Thank God for His mercy and forgiveness. He wants your undivided heart, not perfection, which is false and aimed for in our own strength. We can do nothing apart from God and God wants us to instead aim for spiritual maturity.

But as I walked on, the Holy Spirit patted me on the soul and comforted me to the bus stop. It was at work, tears no longer present, heaviness tucked away, and after my morning greetings with “how was your weekend” that God would answer me. Someone asked me if I was familiar with excel sheets and from there as I proceeded to try and help with her document I realized again that God listens and answers, and even moreso He cares. She informed me that as I stood next to her desk she basically said she felt like she was being led by God to encourage me. Some of the things she said was you are not going to please everybody, God wants you to balance and know who you are. And she also told me that I need to stop beating myself up. I teared up as she expressed what I knew what was God answering me through her.

Have you been feeling defeated? Are you having a hard time learning to rest in God? Are you realizing you haven’t been seeing yourself through the eyes of God? Are you beating yourself up and experiencing condemnation?

Know that God is listening to your heart, collecting your tears, and wanting to dialogue with you about everything that doesn’t just concerns His heart but your heart also. Know that there is a Comforter that brings you comfort and healing, guidance and hope. Know that the efficacy of the blood of Jesus still works and is efficient to do all what it was shed to do, and that is to save, protect, and deliver you.

While receiving this knowledge through the Word of God, proceed to take one day at a time and pray. Catch, check, and change every thought that does not line up with God’s word about you or your life. Hold on to your faith by the Word of God and the love of Christ. Press forward. And learn to be still at the same time. He says, “be still and know that He is God.” Psalm 46:10 That means recognize who our holy, faithful and sovereign God is. And that means to stop striving and trying to run the universe; you are not qualified to do so mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc. It doesn’t mean to be passive or unproductive, but it does mean to learn to depend on God. Moreover, that also means learn to rest in Him for He will be your power, love, and a sound mind in the midst of busyness, trouble, chaos, distractions, feelings of emerging hopelessnes.

Trust God and Set The Captive Free:

Seasons come and go but God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And He is good and faithful, periodtt.

What question(s) are you asking God today? Have quiet time with God and ask Him. And expect an answer.

Faith it Through

This poem/prayer is dedicated to those who may be suffering from anxiety. I understand how hard it grips you and how as a result you feel hopeless. God sees our tears and He can erase all of our fears. Trust Him. 

Mountain of anxiety be lifted up
And thrown into the sea
And Don’t come back with more fear
To terrorize me.

Body, and mind, and spirit too
Believe that God can deliver you
And Be healed by His stripes
Tired of these attacks
I’m losing my strength to fight.
But I’m not turning back

God, hear me and let my tears fall at Your feet
Anchor my faith in You
And let Your healing wells run deep.

You did not give me a spirit of fear,
But of power, love, and a sound mind
You have not left me, nor forsaken me
You are right here.
And every thing will be fine.

So Lord, I praise You even in the valley
I praise You even though it’s hard
I praise You with the queasiness in my belly
I praise You for what I can’t see naturally
I praise You in advance
For complete healing and the unwavering faith stance

That I will have joy in the morning,
I will rest in You,
I will be delivered from all my fears,
I will continue on with hope and a future penned by You,
And I will survive today and continue to faith it through.

In Jesus’ name, amen.
Love,

Tannika

Tannika’s Free Writing & Flash Fiction: Help

Welcome to my new series where I will be free writing and writing flash fiction to have fun, to regain my discipline as a frequent writer, and to stretch and strengthen my writing skills.

Recently, I had an anxiety attack. But….I’m happy to say I fought it but not without God’s grace and strategies. Alone in a classroom with worn carpet, ununiformed chairs, desks, and tables, I prayed, sang along to worship music, recited God’s Word with as much confidence that could be mustered, took deep breaths, focused in on my breathing, texted my best friend to share my ordeal, and then I tried to face it. But when the Holy Spirit also led me to pick up my pen and grab my notebook, I was able to release it. (A couple of lines were added after the initial writing.)

Help

She could no longer run. She tried to hide but her breathing was as loud and frantic as the rain.

As the rain pranced on the pavement and tapped against her window, she began to pray that the nerves in her stomach would relax. That the hairs on the back of her neck would comfortably rest upon it instead of standing erect in fear. That her breathing focused and grew patient.

That the intruder would be revealed. What did the intruder want from her? How did the intruder find her? She gave no permission for this being to inhabit her space.

Even if she could, she would not scream. She gripped her knees with one arm as she leaned against the wall next to her nightstand. All the while, she kept her eyes fixed on the door that was shutting out the intruder and his intensions. She reached for her pad and pen to scribble for help.

She needed help. There is an intruder but the intruder feels so familiar. She was being dragged towards despair yet frozen in fear. Her thoughts churned, her pen moved, and the rain continued to tap also for her attention. She needed help.

Little did she realize that help was already present. He had arrived when she began to pray. He was devoted towards saving her life. She paused her pen and closed her eyes. She quieted her soul for it had grown loud with fear. She focused on her savior. “I am a present help in the time of trouble,” he said. She could no longer hear the intruder, no longer feel the intruder. Maybe this was a false alarm, but her body and soul had believed it was real.

For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV