The “Shut Down” is what I term our defence and protective mechanism when life gets too much, and we find ourselves fighting to “keep our heads above water”. It’s much like a turtle when it goes inside its shell, as we withdraw emotionally, mentally and even physically.
“The Shut Down” happens because there is a small part of our brain called the amygdala that thinks there is something it needs to protect us from. It switches on when it believes we are in danger, similar to a personal bodyguard for our brain. It’s there to protect us. If our brain thinks there’s trouble, it will immediately give our body what it needs to be strong, fast and powerful, flooding our body with oxygen, hormones and adrenaline that we can use as fuel to power our muscles to run away or fight.
When we stay in this place of heightened awareness other parts of who we are mentally and emotionally start to shut down to enable us to cope.
This “shut down” enables us to keep “functioning to some degree but it’s not ever who we truly are, but rather our necessary response to difficult situations.
Unfortunately, people can be shut down for so long they forget what it feels like to be different and end up never coming out of their shell as they remain in a continual heightened and tense state.
But we can do something about being locked up and shut down inside because God’s best for us is that we don’t live in this constant place of threat. He wants us to live balanced, burden-free lives where we have fun and enjoy all that He has given us. He says, “Don’t be anxious, “Don’t be always shutting down to protect yourself or in fear. With me, you can overcome this.”
God promises us, “that He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29)
Even if you are physically in a shutdown, where the world around you is in lockdown right now, you can still take steps to prevent all your life only operating in that mode.
1. Self-awareness and dealing with stressors in our lives is a helpful first step in staying out of the “shut down mode”. It means taking note of how we feel and acknowledging when we’re over-stressed or anxious and taking action to limit these things from taking over in our lives.
Take some time to deal with any concerns today as you cast all your cares upon Jesus. Choose to hold onto the promises in God’s Word and build your faith rather than your fears.
2. Prosper your soul by doing something that makes you feel better about the day. Call a friend, do some exercise, watch your favourite show, read a book, listen to some uplifting music, find something to laugh about. Cook or order something yummy to eat, start a project, be creative in some way, try something new.
Lift up your head, God is still on the throne, and He promises to work all things together for your good.
3. Strengthen yourself in the Lord by focusing on Jesus and gaining some perspective of how powerful He is. No storm is too big for him to calm and no problem too difficult for Him to handle.
4. List some ways you can move towards fulfilling some of your goals and dreams and then schedule at least 20 mins of your day and make a start.
The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you”. (Psalm 32:8 NLT)
“The Lord always keeps his promises, he is gracious in all he does. The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.” (Psalm 145:13-14 NLT)
“He calmed the storm with a whisper and stilled the waves.” (Psalm 107:28)
Prayer: Lord, please help me to deal with those things that cause me anxiety and stress and that I will strengthen myself in your Word, in time spent with you and in doing those things that prosper my soul today. I’m coming out of shut down. In Jesus name Amen.