Christian Living

Taking the Jack out of the box

Last week was really busy. We had stuff going on every day; ironic that we spent the week talking about calm on our podcast.

Anyway, as I was attempting to find calm in the middle of the craziness, my knee-jerk reaction was to blame my lack of calm on my circumstances. Isn’t that what we do? If the cat wasn’t sick… if I had more energy… if my schedule was less packed… etc., etc. It’s so easy to look at stress and blame circumstances.

There’s a problem with that though: stress is a heart issue. Applying a circumstance change to a heart issue doesn’t solve anything. It’d be like a doctor giving you headache medicine for your cough. Yeah, they’re both medicine, but it’s not really going to help.

Somehow just recognizing that I was applying the wrong remedy to my problem has made a big difference. When I feel myself getting stressed, I can take a second and ask what’s causing the stress. Instead of telling myself that it’s due to something I have no control over (e.g., having a sick cat) and then being doomed to hang out in the stress until the circumstance change, I’ve been looking for a second answer. Maybe I’m actually stressed about something else and the cat is just triggering my stress. Or maybe I had a bad experience with sick cats.

We all carry baggage of some kind. You might hate vanilla scented candles because your grandmother sprayed vanilla perfume on every blessed thing in her house. Our previous experiences with something can cause it to have more emotional weight than what the isolated thing should weigh.

I’m such a huge fan of EFT/Tapping for working through that stuff. Even if you don’t have PTSD, we’ve also had smaller traumas throughout our lives–it’s just the nature of living in a broken world. And all those smaller traumas are often what’s actually causing our stress. About a year ago, I added Tapping to my morning routine and it’s made a world of difference–it’s now my go-to tool any time I feel stressed. Sometimes when I start Tapping, I’ll find myself saying statements that I didn’t realize were connected to my stress. It’s an amazing tool both for figuring out what’s going on in your heart and for dealing with your heart problems. If you’re not familiar with Tapping, you can check out a tutorial at

I’ve been thinking about Ruth and how we need the kind of determination she shows. In Ruth 1, Naomi gives her a couple opportunities to go back to her father’s house. Ruth could have stayed with her family, in her hometown, living with people who were just like her. Instead, she chooses to leave all that to move to a different country where the culture is vastly different. She chooses to take Yahweh as her God.

Dealing with heart problems is hard. It’s not the easy road by any stretch. However, heart problems will just keep coming up every time your circumstances trigger them, until you address them. It’s sort of like a jack in the box–turning the handle may cause the “jack” to jump up, but it doesn’t put him in the box. Take the jack out of the box and you don’t have to dread circumstances.

So, just to recap: stress is a heart problem. A heart problem requires a heart solution–not a circumstances solution. And looking into our hearts, solving the heart problems, that requires some serious determination. I pray God gives you (and me) a dose of the kind of determination Ruth had.

Blog_ Taking the Jack out of the box

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