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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Not just a weekend

One of my Facebook friends posted a cute thing the other day:  "Chocolate is to women what duct tape is to men - it fixes everything" (a quote advertising Cafe Escapes).  It kind of caught my attention and immediately made me chuckle, simply because all of us women know this is so true!  Some weeks we just need a little more "duct tape" in our lives than others!  If you study the effects of chocolate on the human brain, you will find it releases some type of chemical akin to the one which makes us feel "good".  Some think this is caused by a release of "endorphin-stimulating" ingredient which causes our brain's receptors to just "perk up" and release the "feel-good" chemicals in our system.  I don't know what receptors chocolate reaches in your brain, but it works this way for me!  Maybe this is why we turn to chocolate when we are not feeling "good" for some reason - either because the stress of the day is building, or we just don't have enough positive affirmation to help keep our spirits up.  One of the benefits of this release of "feel-good" chemicals into our system is this sense of being able to just relax.  It isn't the sugar high which is causing you to relax, it is this release of chemicals.  I think there is "divine chocolate" we need to turn to maybe a little more frequently than our favorite dark or milk variety, though! 

I must calm down and turn to God; only he can rescue me.  He is my Rock, the only one who can save me.  He is my high place of safety, where no army can defeat me. (Psalm 62:1-2 ERV)

We all have those moments when we just need to "calm down" - those times when we are spinning out of control for one reason or another.  The pressures may be external to us, exerting forces against us which make us work harder, do more than we were comfortable committing to, etc.  There may also be internal pressures adding to that sense of discomfort, such as our desire to succeed, a deep sense of feeling we are "alone" in the matter, etc.  Put all of these together and we have a recipe for physical, emotional, and mental disaster.  These moments of craziness are often defined by what is "happening" in the day. We didn't intend to get out of control, nor did we have some of the control to stop what has ended up spinning so wildly out of control - it is just what it is and we are not dealing with it all too well.  We turn to what makes us "feel good" in the moment - hoping for some immediate release.  Well, there is something scientific behind that response, as we have discussed, but there is something even more beneficial to us if we will choose a little differently in that moment.  We can tap into the most calming peace if we just "tap into" some time with Jesus.

Looking at what our psalmist says, he recognizes when he is spinning out of control (for whatever reason it might be), he has to bring himself under control. This is often the only thing we can do in the circumstance.  We can control nothing more than ourselves - try as we might, the circumstances and people involved in our muddle are just not going to do it for us.  So, if we want to change the moment, we must control what we can control in the moment - our response.  You have probably heard me say it more than once - we cannot control things out of our own realm of influence - change begins with us, not the other guy!  It is when we "right" ourselves, changing our focus, that we begin to see the issues at hand differently.  David is reminding us to do just that - calm ourselves down and then turn to the one who can sort things out.

I cannot tell you how many times I feel myself beginning to spin out of control and I just step away from whatever it is that is putting that pressure on me at the moment.  It is in the simple act of stepping away that I recenter my attention.  You know it is true - you get a different perspective once your change your own perspective of the situation.  David simply states we need to stop focusing on the issues which are getting us all riled up and turn our attention toward the one who not only brings peace, but who is peace.

Another friend posted a picture of a rather frazzled looking "minion" and the caption read:  It has been a rough week, but on a positive note...I didn't need any bail money and I didn't have to hide any bodies!"  Now, we probably all chuckled at that one because we ALL have had weeks when we imagined ourselves just doing something crazy or strangling the life out of someone! Why? It is usually because our peace had been disturbed to the point we had a really hard time "re-centering" on what really mattered.  I think this is why God may have given us the Sabbath - that seventh day in the week when we are to just bring or give rest to our bodies.  It may not be just the day to worship him (although this is definitely important), but it may also be the day we get to renew and find our peace again.  Not a bad thing when you stop to consider it - but you do have to stop to appreciate the Sabbath if you are ever to get any benefit from it!  Just sayin!