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Friday, February 13, 2015

Robbed of sleep? Try this...

If you have ever laid awake at night just ruminating over the state of something which really bugged you that day, or made you a little concerned, you know what it is like to be robbed of a good night's sleep!  It might be the steady little drip you hear up in the attic, not really sure where it is coming from, but you know you have some type of problem with the roof.  You could be rehearsing recent conversations with a peer which really didn't go as planned, dreading the next time you encounter them because you know it will have caused a little bit of a wrinkle in your relationship.  Or maybe you are just adding up the bills and trying hard to figure out how to make ends meet in a really "tight" month.  It doesn't make any difference what robs us of our sleep, it is the fact we are robbed in the first place which we need to focus on.  You see, when we allow those things we cannot control to ruin our peace, we are being robbed.  We are being "violated" in our thoughts - for robbery is really a violation of something we hold dear.  Isn't it a shame just how frequently things get "inside" our heads and we cannot shut them off?  It is like a constant ping-pong effect - one thought leads to another and then another, until we find ourselves swamped by the onslaught.  In the sense of "mind control", these things we give access soon take over and we find ourselves out of control!

Day and night I went without sleep, trying to understand what goes on in this world. I saw everything God does, and I realized that no one can really understand what happens. We may be very wise, but no matter how much we try or how much we claim to know, we cannot understand it all. (Ecclesiastes 8:16-17 CEV)

One of the hardest things to admit is that we don't understand everything. There are just some things in this world - in your daily life - which you will NEVER understand!  They are outside of your realm of control and they are not worth you being robbed of your peace over them.  The sooner we learn this lesson, the sooner we will let go of things we cannot control and which are truthfully "well above our pay grade"!  There are indeed things we can each control in our realm of influence - such as how we respond to another individual when approached in hostility.  We "can" hold back, refuse to give access to their hurtful words, and release them from that place deep within which like to hold grudges.  Or we "can" choose to strike out, letting their words cut deep, and building up animosity and resentment.  It isn't that we "control" them, but we learn to not allow ourselves to be controlled by anyone or anything else except God himself!

God may just give us some insight into life's challenges we didn't possess on our own, but more frequently than not, we have to trust him with the big stuff and just work on the stuff we "can" understand and control.  Ruminating on the stuff we cannot control is like changing a baby's diaper while it is still pooping - just plain messy and futile!  If we are the kind of individuals who take on life's problems - even those which don't really "belong" to us - we find ourselves in the midst of a mess more often than we can count.  Life's messes aren't all our responsibility!  God is in control of the clean-up, not us!  Until we realize this, we will continue to step in to figure out an angle for each of the issues in our own reasoning.  Let me assure you - whatever "angle" we manage to create as the solution to the problem, it will fall way short of whatever God would do if we just turned it over to him in the first place!

This becomes especially important as we consider human relationships.  The more we try to figure out all the angles by which we can "manage" human relationships, the more confused we get about how many "angles" there really are!  I have tried it both ways - managing these relationships myself, and giving them over to God for him to take care of.  Guess which worked best?  You probably don't expect to hear that it was my creative means of salvaging those relationship disasters, do you?  You would be right - because each effort I put forth was met with an equal or greater effort on the other person's part to keep the relationship issues going!  We humans don't get this stuff called "relating" very well a whole lot of the time!  We need divine intervention more than we might readily admit.  One of the silliest exercises in futility we can engage in is the rumination over relationship faux-paus which just get us all "twitter-pated". Own your part, then leave the rest to God.  He will handle the "rest" much better than you ever could!

I listen to an occasional newscast where they rehearse some decision made by a legislative body, the President, or a high court somewhere.  The newscasters just pick it apart from every angle and then analyze how it could impact this group or that.  In turn, they are planting all manner of thought into the minds of people everywhere with the huge roots of the "what if's" of the issue at hand. I don't know about you, but when the economy tanks and the price of things skyrocket, the last thing I want to hear from anyone else is that we are all headed for disaster!  I want to hear that it will turn around, just trust God and he will navigate us through this present challenge as he always does and always will.  Not many newscasters would have a national following if they delivered the message that way, would they?  Why?  We want "frenzy", "worry", and "unrest" more than we cherish "peace", "hope", and "trust"!  It is definitely a change in the way we conduct our daily affairs when we choose the latter!  For in choosing the latter, we are choosing a different focus - and in choosing a different focus, we stand apart from those in the masses.  It is an uncomfortable place to stand, but trust me on this - you NEVER stand alone!  Christ is right there, standing not behind you, but beside you and having gone before you into what others say is the "unknown".  Nothing robs us of peace more than misplaced trust. Nothing restores our peace more than "replaced" trust!  Just sayin!