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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My attitude directly influences my altitude

Trouble and distress have overtaken me, but Your commandments bring me great joy. (Psalm 119:143 VOICE)
There is more to "keeping a positive view" than just thinking positively. Trouble abounds - but we don't have to be under the weight of it. Distress comes in bushel baskets - but we don't have to succumb to it. We might feel "overtaken", but when we really understand the meaning of that word, we might feel differently. Overtaken is made up of two words - "Over" and "Taken". When we allow feelings to guide our thoughts, getting us engaged with all the chaos around us, and causing us to be fearful or angered by the situation at hand, we are likely to feel like there is something which has "come over us". It envelops us in the strangling tentacles of the chaos and seems to have us squarely in the shadow of the oppression of the moment. To be taken, one must be "available" - that which is watched closely and guarded with tenacity has a much lesser likelihood of ever being taken!
Some preach we only need to change our way of thinking in order to be free of that which is oppressing us, but I think it might just be a little more than that which truthfully sets us free. Oppression is a "sense" of being weighed down in our minds. It is this "sense" that engages our bodies in the "feelings" of the oppressive weight which comes upon us, until we are "under" that weight - as though something had come "over" us. Our "sensing" might begin in the mind, but it is made up of all manner of emotion, as well. The idea of "sensing" something carries the meaning of experiencing it in your mind and your body. To just change our way of thinking may begin to make our bodies feel better, but until we take some other course of action, the real freedom from the weight isn't realized. To stop sensing pain when touching the hot curling iron, one needs to remove the curling iron from their ear! It doesn't come because I think my ear is cool and without pain - relief comes when I remove the thing causing the pain, or remove myself from it!
Distress isn't handled by some magical "de-stressing moment" at the spa. It might not hurt to get a massage, or even pamper yourself a little with a pedicure and hot rock massage, but the stress we are under is only masked until we deal with the condition which placed us in such physical or emotional need in the first place. We might think we can escape it for a while, but it won't change the fact it is still there when we leave the spa! To be free of it, we need to change our relationship with it - we stop focusing ourselves on that object of our stress and focus instead on the object of our peace - Christ! The object of our stress may be a bad relationship, or financial troubles, but if all we see is the oppressive weight of either of these, we will never think we can move out from under them. The moment we put our eyes on Jesus, the weight may not immediately feel like it is gone, but the way out from under those things is in the works!
Some of us might want to believe we can "deal with" those objects of our stress, affliction, and oppression on our own, but I'd have to ask, "How's that been working for you?" If we are entirely honest, it probably hasn't been a lasting change of scenery! The moment we stop making ourselves available to the oppressive weight of the circumstances, the misery of the relationship mess we have entangled ourselves in, or the burden of misplaced steps down a path we knew better than to take, the less likely it is that we will be "taken" on that oppressive and stressful ride again! We might not control it by our mind's thoughts, but when we change our focus - where it is we are looking for our help and deliverance - we might just see the scenery we have been observing while under that weight changes a little. The first step out is a change of focus - a redirecting of our heart - leading to a redirecting of our mind - and ending up with a clarifying of our emotions. In turn, we take the subsequent steps to be free of the weight - simply because we see it as possible to be less "available to be taken". We don't change our minds - we change our focus. In turn, it changes our attitude and our attitude will directly influence our altitude! Just sayin!