Can I Detox Stress Through Biblical Mindfulness? With Bonnie Gray [Episode 269]

Detox Stress Biblical Mindfulness Bonnie Gray

Why is it so hard to rest and refresh when we’re stressed? Well, today on the 4:13, author and podcaster Bonnie Gray answers that question with both scientific and Scripture-based insights into your body, mind, and soul.

As we talk about her book, Breathe: 21 Days to Stress Less and Transform Chaos to Calm, she’ll teach you what biblical mindfulness is and how it’s the key to breaking free from worry and anxiety. You’ll learn about top stressors, proven countermeasures, and simple ways to stress less, take better care of yourself, and face each day focused on God’s love.

Meet Bonnie

Bonnie Gray is an inspirational speaker and podcast host of Breathe: The Stress Less Podcast. Bonnie touches thousands of lives using storytelling, soul care, and prayer. Her writing has been published and syndicated across a broad online audience. Bonnie lives in California with her husband and two sons.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

Related Resources

Books & Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild

More from Bonnie Gray

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Related Blog Posts

Stay Connected

Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Detox Stress Through Biblical Mindfulness? With Bonnie Gray [Episode 269]

Bonnie Gray: It's interesting that studies tell us that women suffer from burnout more than men. This is a statistical truth because women pour out. So one of the first lies that we encounter as women is that we should not worry. If we worry, then we are sinning. We're displeasing God, we're failing God. Oh, my gosh, I'm worried about this. I can't stop thinking about it. Oh, I'm not following Christ. This is a lie.

Jennifer Rothschild: Why is it so hard to rest and refresh when we're stressed? Well, today on The 4:13, author and podcaster Bonnie Gray will share the answer to that question by giving you scientific and Scriptural-based practices for your body, your mind, and your soul. You are going to learn about top stressors and proven solutions, and you will end up with healthy wellness habits that will relieve stress, give you rest, and renew your soul. So let's get this going.

K.C. Wright: Welcome, welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and Biblical wisdom set you and I up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hey, our friends, glad you're back. It's just me and K.C. here in the podcast closet. Two friends and one topic and zero stress.

K.C. Wright: Zero stress.

Jennifer Rothschild: And my goal is just to help you be and do more than you feel capable of as you are living, along with me and K.C., this "I Can" life of Philippians 4:13. It really is true, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

K.C. Wright: Come on.

Jennifer Rothschild: Now, I got to tell you something. We are coming up on Halloween. And I know not everybody celebrates Halloween. But I have got to tell you something funny that I was just thinking about, K.C., as I realized what time of year we're in. We have two sons, you know. They were born ten years apart. So the little guy was probably 13. I mean -- sorry. The little guy was probably 3, Connor.

K.C. Wright: Okay.

Jennifer Rothschild: And so, of course, he had -- I think it was, oh, maybe one of the -- Optimus Prime, I think that's who it was. It was one of the Transformers. That's who he was dressed up as for Halloween. And I kept saying to our oldest, who was 13, Clayton, "You want to do anything for Halloween?" No, no, no. He's too old. He's too cool, right? So here comes the day of and he's realizing, wait a minute, Connor's about to get all this free candy and I got nothing.

So his friend Wesley was over, and he and Wesley were like, "Mom, we want to dress up." I'm like, "Well, we don't have anything." He goes, "Well, can't we wear some of your bathrobes?" Okay. So these two boys wore two of my oldest bathrobes. They wrapped their hair in a towel like they had just gotten out of the shower, put on just a little lipstick, and then they got Walmart bags and went out and they came home with bank. They got so much candy. It's one of my favorite times. I loved it. That picture was on our fridge for years. And then at Clayton's wedding, I made sure we showed it, because Wesley was in the wedding. Anyway...

So whatever y'all are up to this weekend. I'll tell you something else I am up to this weekend. I am about to hit the road for Fargo, North Dakota.

K.C. Wright: Wow.

Jennifer Rothschild: Gonna to be a little chilly there.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: That is for a Fresh Grounded Faith. And I bet we've got some friends listening in North Dakota. It's not that far from you, so come join us. It's going to be a good event, Fresh Grounded Faith.

But next weekend, you can already start making plans right now to come join us -- and K.C. will be there too --

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- in Springfield, Missouri, at Fresh Grounded Faith. And that's going to be on November 3rd and 4th. So I don't want you to miss it. And you know what? These little outings, they just help us refresh. And that's what we're talking about today, detoxing stress. And -- oh, you know what? Actually, I forgot, K.C. You might have smelled this. I brought something to the podcast closet.

K.C. Wright: Well, we've got the chocolate, we've got the hot coffee. But, yes, I did smell a little something.

Jennifer Rothschild: You smelled it?

K.C. Wright: I did.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. This is supposed to be the smell, the fragrance of stress relief. Okay, so here's what we're going to do.

K.C. Wright: Well, I need to put that on my nose.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I will put a link on the Show Notes, right? I think it's called Eden's Garden Stress Relief.

K.C. Wright: Wow.

Jennifer Rothschild: But it is a bottle of essential oil.

K.C. Wright: Okay.

Jennifer Rothschild: And you put just a little on your hands.

K.C. Wright: Just a little.

Jennifer Rothschild: Here, take the bottle.

K.C. Wright: Can I do this? Okay.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, you do it. And then you rub your hands together just a little bit.

K.C. Wright: Oh, I wish this was scratch and sniff podcast.

Jennifer Rothschild: And then, K.C., make a little tent over your face like your own --

K.C. Wright: Oh, word. Word. That is --

Jennifer Rothschild: And then breathe it in.

K.C. Wright: Oh, wow. I went somewhere mentally right there. Oh --

Jennifer Rothschild: Right?

K.C. Wright: -- that's beautiful.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know.

K.C. Wright: That's beautiful.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, here's the lid.

K.C. Wright: I'm impressed.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. So I love these essential oils. I know a lot of you listeners do too. But that one's like some kind of mint and spearmint, and I forgot what else. But like I said, I'll put a link to it on the Show Notes. But it does. You just breathe in and it relaxes you, doesn't it?

K.C. Wright: It kind of got rid of my fog brain. (Singing) I can see clearly now.

Jennifer Rothschild: The fog is gone.

K.C. Wright: (Singing) The fog is gone.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, I'm glad to know that. I hadn't noticed you had a fog brain, but really, I've been kind of dominant. I haven't stopped talking since we started, so -- okay. And I'm about to do that, I'm about to stop talking.

I want you to introduce Bonnie in a second, but I want to remind you guys, if you don't remember this, Bonnie Gray, who is going to be talking with us today, was on the podcast already. She was on Episode 200. And on that one she was talking about making peace with the past. I enjoyed that conversation so much. And I enjoyed this one so much. It is super practical and you are going to love it. So, K.C., would you please breathe in, breathe out, and introduce Bonnie.

K.C. Wright: It would be my honor, but currently I'm on an island in Aruba mentally.

All right, here we go. Bonnie Gray is an inspirational speaker and podcast host of Breathe: The Stress Less Podcast. Bonnie touches thousands of lives using storytelling, soul care, and prayer. Her writing has been published and syndicated across a broad online audience. Bonnie lives in California with her husband and two sons. Now, relax, get comfy. Here we go.

Jennifer Rothschild: Bonnie, I'm so happy I get to have you back again. I enjoyed our last conversation. And so now we're talking about a different book, the book "Breathe." And I read that your goal for this book is to help believers detox stress through soul care, science, Scripture, and prayer. And you do this by coaching us up with what I'm calling Biblical mindfulness. So tell us what Biblical mindfulness is. Because we've heard of mindfulness. So how is what you're doing different from just regular mindfulness?

Bonnie Gray: Well, you know, a lot of us are stressed. We're facing so many pressures. But because we're women of faith, we want to focus on serving others, we want to take care of others. We don't want the spotlight to be on ourselves. And that is a good thing because, you know, we love God with our mind and our heart. But the thing that God wants for us, that I am so happy to have an opportunity to chat with you about today and to encourage everyone listening, is that God cares about how we feel. He cares about how we feel when we're lying awake in bed at night because my mind can't turn off. He cares about how we feel when -- you know, those quiet moments when we're struggling with our stress and overthinking. He cares about how we feel -- it's hard to get up in the morning because we feel just exhausted.

And so Biblical mindfulness is different things we can do during the day to remind us that God cares about us. So even as I say that, how does that make you feel, Jennifer?

Jennifer Rothschild: I know, it's interesting. Because you're right, it is one of the furthest thoughts on our mind during the day. Like, I -- that is not one of my guiding principles during the day, is God cares for me, God cares for me. So it's interesting that that's where you've headed with this, because I can see where that healthy mindset, because it is a truthful mindset, can really change so many things about what we're experiencing.

Bonnie Gray: Oh, my gosh. For those of us who have had a love letter sent to us before at one time or another in our lives, you remember that feeling when you get a love letter, whether it's an email or if it's a small little note -- your whole day changes.

Jennifer Rothschild: Mm-hmm.

Bonnie Gray: You can go into a meeting where people are not happy with you, you might get some kind of email where somebody's just -- you know, would have stressed you out. But once you got that little love note, somebody said to you -- it could be a girlfriend who said, Hey, I dropped something off at your doorstep when you get home later today. I saw this cute thing and I left it on your doorstep just to surprise you. Your whole day changes --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Right.

Bonnie Gray: -- because you know you're loved, you're thought of, you're remembered. And so this is a treasure that we had when we first met God, Jesus, that moment. And yet for some odd reason when we're stressed, it's the last thing we think of, and yet that's the very thing that can energize us and give us that energy in our spirit.

So that Biblical mindfulness is actually a love letter from God to each of us in the terrible situations we find ourselves in. There might be situations where we didn't even choose -- right? -- like our health, losing our job or a child that's gone wayward, and yet, like you said, it's the last thing on our minds that God cares for us. So it's so important to have these little tools and techniques to help us through the day.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. So, Bonnie, this is what I was really looking forward to about this conversation, because I want you to help us understand some of these tools. Because, you know, that concept is so attractive, but it feels unattainable because stress is so loud often, and uncertainty and busyness, all the things. Okay. So before we even get to those tools, though, let's talk about why we need this. Okay? So I can think of a big reason, anxiety. I see it everywhere, more than I've ever seen it before. Okay? And in your book, I know that you share three lies that trigger anxiety. So I'd love for you to share with us -- let's kind of get this understanding, what are some of those lies that trigger anxiety, and then even give us some truths that could squash those lies.

Bonnie Gray: Well, see, this is why it's so wonderful to be here with you. I get to be invited to share about these powerful lies that I once believed in and then the truths God helped me to replace them. And they're common to every woman. I'm a soul care coach, I work with women in all walks of life, all ages, so we're not alone in this. These are common to everybody. It's interesting that studies tell us that women suffer from burnout more than men. This is a statistical truth because women pour out.

So one of the first lies that we encounter as women is that we should not worry. If we worry, then we are sinning. We're displeasing God, we're failing God. Oh, my gosh, I'm worried about this. I can't stop thinking about it. Oh, I'm not following Christ. This is a lie. This is a lie. When Jesus said in Matthew 6:25, Don't worry. Look at the birds. They don't toil, and look how God cares for them. Look at the flowers. They only last a few days. They're thrown in the fire after a few days, and yet look how God clothes them with beauty. When Jesus told us not to worry, it's an encouragement not to worry. So we're to respond to our worry. We're not to feel shamed for worrying. Jesus knows that we worry because this life is full of trials and hardships. So the truth is that Jesus wants us to respond to worry.

And there's a powerful Biblical principle in that passage. Jesus says, Look at the flowers, look at the birds. So nature is one of the healing tools that God gives us. And studies back this up, that when we look at nature -- studies show us when we look at trees, our body lowers the stress hormone cortisol. This cortisol hormone is what kicks our mind into overthinking. So a lot of us, we are very hard on ourselves. We're so harsh. We're like, "What's your problem?" Okay, this is how I talk to myself. I never talk to anybody like this.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, yeah, I get you. Same, same, same. Yeah.

Bonnie Gray: Yeah. I'll say -- again, sorry if this seems blunt, but this is how I talk to myself. I say, "Suck it up, Bonnie. Stop complaining. Just get it done."

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Yeah, I gotcha. I totally relate to that, yes. I say things to myself I would never say to even someone I didn't like.

Bonnie Gray: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Even to our worst critics we wouldn't even say it.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right, right.

Bonnie Gray: But we say it to ourselves. But yet Jesus is so kind. He says, Look at the flowers, look at the birds. And I love this practice that I love to give. I know we're going to go into it later, but since we're talking about it. Did you know that women who buy flowers for themselves and put it in the kitchen, studies have shown those who have morning blahs -- I'm raising my hand. I'm not a morning person. If you put flowers in your kitchen, first thing in the morning that's the first thing you see, it shows that the stress level cortisol is lower and the mood is boosted throughout the day.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow. Okay, that's so practical. It's so practical.

Bonnie Gray: Yeah. Something about the way God created our eyes and flowers, when we look at them, our bodies literally relax.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that's so practical. So I'm with you, girl. Okay, so worry, overthinking, however you want to call it, that is a lie that we're failing God because of it. And what a great remedy, to just look to nature. Because God is even using nature as this correlation, because, see, this is a reflection of my care for you, which is so beautiful.

Bonnie Gray: Yes. I like how you put it, it's the correlation, exactly, that beauty's important. That's kind of the one thing we throw out as women when we're stressed, is, you know, I don't need beauty, I don't need joy. Those are just extra.

And that gets into the second myth. The second lie is that if I don't have peace or joy, it must be I'm not trusting God enough. We trust God by coming to him with our negative emotions. So Jesus says, "Come to me, those who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." And it's interesting Jesus didn't say come to me cheerful, come to me with a plan, come to me positive.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Bonnie Gray: No. It's the opposite. So this is an invitation we forget. And this is part of that Biblical mindfulness, that mindset, is during the day when we're stressed out, that's when we feel so alone. We feel trapped. That causes anxiety. Okay? But once we're in that spot of anxiety, research shows simply naming our negative emotion will lower stress and release something called serotonin. This is the counterbalancing chemical our brain -- so our mind releases when you name what stresses you.

Jennifer Rothschild: So an example of that, during the day you would -- you suddenly feel this swell of emotion. How do you name your emotion at that point?

Bonnie Gray: Yeah. Oh, thanks for asking. So I want to quote the study from UCLA so people understand this is not just Bonnie's advice. UCLA did a brain imaging study where they had participants look at images of people having negative emotions: sadness, fear, anger. And simply looking at people experiencing negative emotions, their bodies -- they hooked them up with biometrics. Blood pressure went up, heart rate went up, pupils were being dilated, and the stress hormone cortisol is being released from your body, your brain.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow.

Bonnie Gray: Okay. How many of us -- okay, as women, why do we suffer burnout? We're constantly the shock absorbers.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, exactly. And "absorb" is the word. We absorb it. We don't just watch, we absorb.

Bonnie Gray: Yes. And as godly women, we don't want to respond unkind, right? So we have to keep calm. But guess what? Those emotions don't disappear. They're being absorbed into our nervous system. And in the Bible, it's called the heart. The Bible isn't like a medical manual, but it describes our emotional response as our heart, right?

So what happens is they had the participants watch the same set of images, except the second time they just asked them to name the emotion they were looking at. And guess what? Their bodies went back to a place of calm. Blood pressure went back down, heart rate started settling down, and their body started releasing serotonin, which is that calming hormone.

Jennifer Rothschild: Interesting.

Bonnie Gray: So during the day when I'm stressed -- okay? This is behind the scenes. Nobody knows, right? But I know. Okay, get the email or my son comes home grumpy and grouchy. Okay? Inside I'm like, I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I literally feel like crying, right? And that's my prayer. Breathe in, "Jesus," breathe out, "I don't know what to do." Or I'll say, breathe in, "Jesus, I'm so upset." Okay. A lot of times we talk to ourselves. But we want to bring it into a prayer. That's called a breath prayer. And so it activates two things. When you breathe in and breathe out, inhale and exhale, your body activates a rest and relaxation response. So just like your body goes into that stress fight or flight mode --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Right.

Bonnie Gray: -- we can activate our body's rest and relaxation response, which lowers the cortisol and releases serotonin.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. So give us -- very practical then, is it just like a breathe in, breathe out, or is it for a sustained amount of time?

Bonnie Gray: Yes, that's a great question. So there's 21 ways, different type of breaths, that I outlined in my book "Breathe: 21 Days to Stress Less and Transform Chaos to Calm," and I connect it with a different promise from Scripture. One of the -- the most powerful one I use and I also teach my kids -- I have two teenagers, Josh and Caleb. We live in Santa Clara County in California, which is the first region that the CDC started an investigation into suicide among high schoolers. The reason why I mention this is because we are practically in a very highly stressed-out environment. So the things I'm telling and sharing with all of you are things that truly work. And my children use this because there's so much stress in test taking.

So it's called the pursed lip breathing technique. And I used it when I -- during a season in my life, I had panic attacks. I don't have them anymore. But this was my go-to breathing technique. Think of it as blowing out candles. So you breathe in through your nose and then you breathe out through pursed lips like you're blowing out candles.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay.

Bonnie Gray: That forces your whole body to breathe out, and it releases tension. It oxygenates your brain and it activates that breath and relaxation response.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's funny, I was doing it while you were explaining it -- and I have a feeling our listeners were too -- and you can, you can feel a difference. I just did the difference between the pursed lip exhale and just an open mouth exhale, and it is a very different feeling.

Bonnie Gray: Yes. It's the same practice that you used in Lamaze class when you do child -- when you bear a child, when you give birth. So it's the same practice. And I used it when I had panic attacks, because my whole -- anybody who has had anxiety attack knows this. Your whole body, without your consent, goes into this -- just like when you're in labor. It just grips you and your muscles hurt. There's so much tension. So this pursed lip breathing actually helps force your body to activate that breathing response.

And it's interesting in the Scripture, there are 1,000 references to the word "breathe" and "breath," and that's what motivated me, inspired me to write this book. Because as I was looking for ways to deal with my anxiety -- and I always hear about breath work in yoga and transcendental meditation. Those are secular solutions towards relieving stress. I said, well, God, what do you have to say about breathing and breath?

And so there's four different areas that these references to breathe and breath fall under: emotional wellness, spiritual wellness, physical wellness, and social wellness. So this is when I created the Soul Care Quiz. You can take this quiz at You can find out which area of wellness you're missing the most.

It's so important because sometimes we're in survival mode, the last thing you're thinking about how well you're doing. But, you know, we can use our superpower as women. We're so resourceful once you know you have an area of need. It's amazing as I work with my soul care coaching clients, we get really innovative about how we can put Project Jennifer or Project Bonnie, or whatever project is our wellness. Then the creativity starts to flow and then we can say, ah, okay, I can deal with one area of need.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. So, Bonnie, my mind, it's gone so many places with everything you've shared, so I want to try to unpack some of this because there's so much here and I don't want us to miss it. All right. So let me circle back just for a moment to the breathing in, breathing out. Okay? So this is this rhythm that helps us manage stress and to literally calm and bring that rest response. Okay, I get all that. And I think in your book, you actually call it a three-part rhythm?

Bonnie Gray: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: You breathe in, breathe out, and then take action. So unpack that part.

Bonnie Gray: This is very, very important. Because we, as women who are really studious to study God's word, we will try to think our way out of stress. When we're stressed or anxious or worried, our body's not feeling well, we're like, okay, there's something I need to think correctly. There's some way I got to figure out how to deal with this. But studies show that it's when we take action. So the Scripture says -- in Romans 12:1-2, it tells us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, as an act of worship, spiritual act of worship. And verse 2 says we're not to be conformed to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

Now, our mind actually has two parts. There's the left brain and the right brain. So the left brain is the thinking part. Which is important, we need to know the truth, we need to figure out how to problem solve the logistics of our day and our time and how to solve problems, what to say. But the right brain is the emotional center of our nervous system, our body. Our right brain, that's emotional. These are the five senses. Now, guess which area of the brain creates anxiety and increases it?

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, so I would -- yeah, I would guess the right brain, just because it seems like anxiety is an emotion. But I have a feeling you're going to turn that upside down.

Bonnie Gray: Yes. And that's what was my aha moment, because that shocked me. It's the left brain.

Jennifer Rothschild: Interesting.

Bonnie Gray: The more we think, the more anxiety there's going to be. That decision tree, kind of like all the different things, it just starts, like, exploding in our minds. Okay? And then it creates more worries, more anxieties, more things to think about. But which part of the brain lowers anxiety?

Jennifer Rothschild: Is that the right brain then?

Bonnie Gray: It's the right brain.

Jennifer Rothschild: Interesting.

Bonnie Gray: It's called avoidance anxiety. So the more we avoid our feelings, we think, okay, if I don't think how stressed I am or how upsetting this conversation is, or whatever problem that's in front of me, if I don't feel it, then I'll be okay. In fact, it creates and generates more anxiety. So the response, the reason why it's a three-part rhythm and breathe is breathe in God's promises -- right? -- breathe out our worries. We need to take action. We need to do something to lower the stress and also activate the right brain. Okay, the right brain -- and I'm going to give one. And if we have time, and depending what interests you, we can talk about it. But one of the top ways to activate your right brain is by doing something with your hands --

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, okay.

Bonnie Gray: -- that uses any of your five senses. So, for instance, gardening. Or something like making a cup of tea, it activates your five senses. Or playing a musical instrument. Knitting, crocheting, painting, drawing, baking. Okay, cooking doesn't count because a lot of times we just do it as a chore.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Because we have to.

Bonnie Gray: Exactly. So I always don't list that. But these are all the things -- the first thing that falls off our plate when we're stressed are exactly these types of things that activate your emotional part of who you are.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that's really good, Bonnie. And I'm grateful you said that. And I do want to know some other examples for taking action, because, honestly, when I read your three-step rhythm, I thought, okay, breathe in promises, breathe out worries, take action. Okay, now fix your problem is what I thought that was going to be. So I think this is super liberating. So one of the ways to take action to activate that right brain is to use your hands. Okay, give us another example of another way we could take action.

Bonnie Gray: Okay. I do want to mention one note about the using your hands. A lot of women lose touch with what gave them joy once. A lot of women, when they do come to me stressed -- and by the way, the first symptom for somebody like a super, quote/unquote, encourager -- you may be like me. I didn't even know I'm stressed until my hair starts falling out. You know?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, I understand.

Bonnie Gray: I'm like, oh, I'm taking a shower. Why is there so much hair swirling down the drain? Or, you know, you have fibromyalgia, which is -- you know, feels like it's worsening. You know, our bodies, that's the last line of defense. So for many of us, we need to explore what those things are. We might have not done them in ages. So I just wanted to throw that out that it's important that we be curious. And we should always do things when we're not in the mood. Because we often wait until we're in the mood. Like, oh, I'm just too tired or I'm just in a grouchy mood, I don't feel like anything joyful. Well, we need to take action because that's -- when you do those activities, then your brain releases -- your mind releases those happy hormones, that's how our mood changes.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's good. So good.

Bonnie Gray: Yeah. So that's really important that we understand that concept.

And so my son is the same way. He'll come home, he'll be like, "Mom, I don't feel like going out for a walk." I go, "I know. Yeah, I don't either. Let's just put on our shoes. I don't feel like it either." He's like, "Oh, okay," you know. Like, he doesn't expect that -- right? -- for me to say, "I know, I don't feel like it either." Okay, let's not feel like it together. Here, put on this jacket, you know. I just kind of like walk him down as I tell him, Yeah, I know, it's rotten. I hate this weather. Come on. Here, put this on. So we were walking out the door, you know, and ten minutes later we're back, and he's like, "Oh, that felt good. Thanks, Mom," you know.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's true.

Bonnie Gray: So we need -- go ahead.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, it's true. I always need -- I ask the Lord, when I have the good feeling after the thing I didn't want to do, "Help me remember this feeling," so that it can help motivate me the next time.

My brother actually is a therapist. And you'll like this, Bonnie. He even says always consider your opposite impulse, because usually that's what you need to respond to. And that's what you're saying, you know, if you don't feel like doing it, it probably means that's when you need to do it. So that's super good.

Bonnie Gray: And that also gets into, like, bad messages we've carried on from either, you know, a bad childhood, a bad experience in college or in a job or in ministry. Like, where did we pick that message up from that we have to earn our joy? We have to deserve it or it has to be trouble free before we can enjoy something we want.

So what are some of the things you like to do? I'm curious. That will help us with this conversation. What do you like to do to relax or, you know --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. When I'm stressed or when I feel that...

Bonnie Gray: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know this sounds silly, but I like to clean something. I like to do laundry, I like to organize a drawer, I like to wash the dishes. I like to clean something.

And the other thing I've started to do lately, that I've never given myself permission to do, is take a nap. Now, just 20 minutes. But I literally will just -- I'll put my earbuds in and I will listen to a fiction book. I call it my fiction vacation, and I call it -- you know, I tell my husband, it's like this little joke now, happy nappy time. And that just means I'm out of here for 30 minutes. And I don't even really sleep, sleep, I just kind of listen to my book. And to me, that feels like a luxury, but it has been a very good stress management technique for me. Because I've experienced more anxiety this year than I ever have in my life, and I have given myself permission to do the nap thing. So maybe for someone else that's not a big deal. For me, that was a big deal.

But those are some actions that I take. Now, I don't know how they line up with what you're describing, but those work for me.

Bonnie Gray: I like your prompt, "I gave myself permission." I think that would be very interesting if we were able to meet all our listeners and be in a little circle with some warm tea in our hands, what would you want to do if you gave yourself permission to do it?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, right?

Bonnie Gray: And you talk about that audiobook and napping. Actually, it activates your right brain because it's like that tactile comfort of your warm bed and the nice comforter and your pillow, and that's a tactile experience of being hugged. And actually, it releases oxytocin when you're snuggled in.

And the other thing about listening to an audiobook -- what kind of audiobook do you listen to?

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, I love mystery thrillers. Like, I literally call them my fiction vacations, because I love all my characters that I know well, because I read series, and I just get immersed in their stories.

Bonnie Gray: Okay. So I'm going to do a little self-care coaching here. So when you were a little girl, did you like reading in bed?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. Yes, I did.

Bonnie Gray: Ahh. So there you go. You see, it's a re-visiting. It's re-parenting ourselves. And I love how you're being vulnerable to say, I'm more anxious this year than I was previously. And if we were to spend more time together, you probably would be able to share with me a story of how you have been strong. You have been carrying a lot on your shoulders, absorbing a lot of being strong, being the encourager, being the one that, you know, shoulders a lot. And so your body -- I'm really glad to hear you're listening to your body, you're giving yourself that permission to be able to now nurture yourself.

And I'm not surprised that it was something you enjoyed as a little girl. And that's one thing that we did, is we do an exercise -- when I do speak at retreats or do anything, we do an exercise. We do something called a little girl mosaic. And we put together kind of like an inspiration board where the spotlight is you as God's little girl.

Jennifer Rothschild: Interesting. Yeah.

Bonnie Gray: Scripture says that we're adopted. Okay? So anybody that knows somebody that's adopted a child -- I have a friend, she adopted. I've never adopted. But I was so moved one night, Jennifer, when she called me. It was late. She's like, Bonnie, Bonnie, oh, my gosh, so and so, she finally cried. I'm so happy. And, oh, my gosh, it moved me so much because here is the mom who was so happy her child cried, because in the orphanage, they never cry.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

Bonnie Gray: Because nobody picks them up. And so here is a mom that -- she was so happy, she called me, that she heard her child cry. And right away God spoke to me through that love. Like, Bonnie, your tears are very precious. Where would your tears lead you? What would give you comfort? And so it's kind of like the whole re-parenting that little child enough and -- where in Scripture does it say once we become a certain age, we're no longer God's little girl?

Jennifer Rothschild: Right?

Bonnie Gray: Where does it say, you know, once you become a mom or a grandma or an empty nester, then, you know, forget joy, forget being delighted in? Scripture says Jesus -- not Jesus. God says, "No longer will you be called 'Forsaken,' but you will be called 'My Delight,' because my delight is in her.

And I started looking at my day, like, how much is there delight? No, there's none. And whose daughter am I? Am I really the daughter of the King who says, "My delight is in you"? And to be honest, there was no delight. There's a lot of functioning, a lot of getting things done, and everybody seems to be happy. But as far as my identity, how much am I taking action and living as God's delight?

Jennifer Rothschild: You know, I know a lot of women are hearing this right now and really relating, because as you mentioned earlier, we deal with so many of the same things. And I just cannot recommend your book highly enough. Well, all your books, but especially this "Breathe" book. I just love the practicality of it. And one of the things that you do in the book, too, is you use four R's, four of the letter R, to help us kind of move from these moments of chaos to a little more calm. So can you give us those four R's.

Bonnie Gray: Yes. These four R's are very related to what we've all been talking about. The first is refresh your spirit. Refresh your spirit with God's words of affirmation. Now, we don't want to just read Scripture for knowledge. We want to read it as God's beloved daughter. So this means what word arms you? Again, the focus on Biblical mindfulness is God cares for you. Hey, what is the Scripture that reminds you that you are important to God? That is a whole set of different verses than, okay, what is God trying to teach me?

Jennifer Rothschild: Right. What do I need to do or -- mm-hmm.

Bonnie Gray: Yes. Yeah, exactly.

Second is release. Release your stress with using that breath prayer that we talked about, naming what's threatening you.

Third is restore. So you refresh your mind, release your stress, then restore. You got to fill in with peace and joy. That's the active part we've been talking about. You need to do different things that help you relax.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay.

Bonnie Gray: I want to give one more point on the relax, just because as women, this is just not part of our vocabulary. No one's going to give us --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. We need all the help we can get.

Bonnie Gray: Yeah. No one's going to give us permission, right?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, right.

Bonnie Gray: No one's going to say, You know what, Jennifer, you look like you could use a bouquet of flowers. You look like I want to just get you some peppermint tea. Here, sit down, let me pour you a hot cup of tea. So I really want to double click and reinforce this concept.

In Psalm 46:10, we're often told, "Be still and know that God is God." But unfortunately, although well intentioned, people use it as a way to tell us, Stop stressing.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

Bonnie Gray: Why are you worried? Trust God. Just be still.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right.

Bonnie Gray: The original root word for "Be still" is "loosen your grip." It literally means relax. So those of you who are into Bible study, I want you after this podcast is over, go over to your laptop and go to your online concordance, go to Psalm 46:10. Double click on the Strong's number for "Be still," and you will see it says relax -- okay? -- and know that God is God. That "know" is not a head knowledge "no." That word is yada. It is an experience. You need to experience God's peace and joy. So don't just stop at knowing with your mind. I have God. He's my joy, he's my peace. True. Okay, now take action. Restore the joy and the peace.

So if you think of yourself like a flower -- which for sure Jesus said how much more valuable are you than a flower? Would any of us grab a bouquet of flowers out of a vase of water and throw it on the ground? No.

Jennifer Rothschild: Of course not.

Bonnie Gray: In fact, if you -- once I bought some flowers, I forgot I had them in my shopping bag. And I was busy cooking dinner and, you know, doing the dishes and I realized, oh, no, I left the flowers -- you know, the last thing -- I forgot to put them in water. They were wilted. But I quickly googled it. It said if you snip the stems and put them in warm water, the leaves will become -- I'm sorry -- the petals will become refreshed. So dear beloved sisters, we can relax. Everything that you're experiencing, the stress, anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, whatever feelings of depression, you can ease it by relaxing, doing things to restore. Replenish the water. You need to fill your soul with water, nurturing, fertilizers, soul care food packets. I mean, if we take so much care with our flowers, how much more do we need care? So that's the restore piece.

Jennifer Rothschild: We can help each other. We are in this together 4:13'ers, so breathe in, breathe out. Take action. We got this 4:13'ers. Let's live with Biblical mindfulness and find rest from Jesus.

K.C. Wright: Seriously, I love Bonnie. I love her heart, and her wisdom is so strong right there. I love how practical she is. Get her book. Did you hear me? Get her book. She's spot on. All right? And we will have a link to her book simply titled, "Breathe: 21 Days to Stress Less and Transform Chaos to Calm" right now on the Show Notes at And, of course, as always, there will be a full transcript of this incredible conversation from Jennifer and Bonnie right there for you to go back and look over things. Check out the Show Notes. Again,

All right, our friends, we love you, and we mean it. Breathe in, breathe out, and take action. All right? You can because of this truth: you and I can do all things through Christ who gives us supernatural, dunamis strength. I can.

Jennifer Rothschild: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

K.C. Wright: Now the entire podcast booth smells like that oil.

Jennifer Rothschild: It smells like a spa.

K.C. Wright: I know.

Jennifer Rothschild: See?

K.C. Wright: Wow.

Jennifer Rothschild: I should go get you one of my old bathrobes and you could just sit in here like you're in a spa.

K.C. Wright: Amazing.


Go deeper into this week's question in my Bible Study Bistro Facebook group. There's a community of 4:13ers waiting for you!