Plant your feet shoulder-width apart and imagine you are rooted to the floor. Pull your shoulders back and take a deep breath. Let it reach all the way to the bottom of your lungs.
That’s what the happiness coach said to do when dealing with work stress and I’m not sure I’m buying it.
Sure, everyone needs to take a minute every once and a while and just breathe. When the phone won’t stop ringing, you have twenty unread emails in your inbox, and your kid needs help with his science project, it’s way too easy to get snappish. To feel so overwhelmed that you just want to give up and go back to bed.
Stepping away for a few minutes can help you relax and feel a little better. Or if you can’t get away, counting your breaths gives you something steady to concentrate on.
And don’t get me wrong, I support using breathing exercises, stretches, and the like to help with stress. The problem becomes when we see those as the cure-all. When we try to find our “center” in ourselves or our “connection to the earth.”
Imagine you’re on a ship during a storm. You’re trying to keep your footing, to find your center of balance. But the boat is anything but steady. Maybe for a moment you can stand up straight but the next finds you stumbling again.
That’s what it’s like when you try to find your center in yourself.
Face it, we’re all a mess. And we are constantly changing. I’m not the same person I was when I woke up this morning and I’m certainly not the same person I was six years ago.
So, if we can’t find our balance in ourselves, where can we find it?
Perhaps we should make the unchanging God the center of our life.
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
He is the Rock of Ages, the shelter for the righteous (Psalm 46:1-3, 61:2).
There is no shifting shadow of change in Him (James 1:17).
When we are overwhelmed with stress and anxiety, sure, we can step away from the situation and take a deep breath. But we shouldn’t stop there.
We need to recall God to our minds. To remember that He is God and we are not. To put His will at the center of our lives instead of our own. To remember our real priorities. To pray.
If our center of balance is rooted in God, our foundation is secure. Instead of trying to stand up on a rocking boat, we can plant our feet on the immovable Rock.