I’ve had butterflies in my tummy. You know, those little waves of nervousness that you get when you are anticipating something. The Art of Faith is Saturday, and, yes, I still get nervous when I speak. This time around, not only am I presenting, I am hosting the event along with Brent Bill. Thus, the butterflies.
Today, at lunch, for some reason they were especially fluttery. I made a turkey sandwich but could only a little bit. I’m the type that when I’m anxious, I can’t eat. So, I gave up after a few bites.
Food and butterflies don’t mix well. That’s because our whole body has to cooperate when we eat. When our stomach is churning, it knots up and we lose our appetite. Without an appetite, we are no longer interested in eating, even if it tastes good.
I wonder how anxiety affects our spiritual appetite. While it seems that stress might drive us toward God, some times I notice the opposite. The thought of slowing down, attending to our spiritual lives makes us more anxious. All the stress and anxiety keep us distracted from noticing the longing in our souls.
Sometimes we have to deal with the anxiety, before we can attend to our spiritual needs. Why not try a few of these exercises and see if they help you shoo the butterflies away:
1. When you notice you are anxious or something upsets you, stop what you are doing and begin to pay attention to your breathing, slowing it down until you can control your breaths.
2. As you slow your breathing, begin to relax your body, starting with your feet and moving upward until you reach your face and head.
3. With each inhale and exhale, say a simple prayer, like “I can do all things (inhale), through Christ who strengthens me (exhale).”
4. Continue until the butterflies have flown away. Then rest in God and bring to him whatever is own your mind.