Yeah, we could say tensions are really running high these days.
With good reasons, I suppose.
And exactly how are we feeling?
Fear and Anxiety keep knocking at the doors of our minds and hearts as well, so the recipe seems ripe to ruffle a few feathers.
Divisiveness is racking our country, from hate-filled racism to the mask debate. Our dear "neighbor" is at wit's end, too, and it doesn't take much to set them off.
Whether we're on the offensive or defensive end of the shortened fuse, there are a few things you we can do to help ourselves calm down just a bit.
In general, my anger "meter" is a good indicator of my internal condition. Often if I find myself rattled at the smallest thing, I know that it's time for me to slow down and come to grips with what's churning inside.
Perhaps God's trying to get my attention. Maybe He'd like me to see an issue from a different perspective. Or it could be my Father is calling me to mature in wisdom and to understand what it means to operate with the mind of Christ. Is now the time I learn how to lay down my "rights," hold my tongue, avoid a quick retort, and choose humility and patience instead?
Putting aside anger doesn't always come naturally or feel easy, but having peace inside my heart and mind are pretty much priceless in my book.
Have you noticed heightened anger these days, too? Leave me a comment here or shoot me a DM at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to chat a bit more. I'd love to hear from you!
But everyone must be quick to hear,
I just read a fascinating Bible verse from Hebrews 12:1: "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...."
I found this so captivating because some translate to "run with patience." I thought to myself: "say wha?!" How does someone patiently run?
I'm quite certain that all you long distance runners out there are probably raising your hands: "I know, I know, I know!!!"
And you're right! When I looked up the Greek, the meaning was right there: hypomonē:
But for me, sometimes I forget that the race is long. It's not a sprint to the finish line. This race lasts my lifetime here on earth. I must be trained for the long haul.
During this race, we will face both "encumbrances" and "sin."
Encumbrances represent any weight or burden that might be bending us over while we are trying to run. It might be the cares of this world, worries, toxic thinking.
Sin in this context means missing the mark, to be mistaken, to wander from the path of uprightness and honor -- to do or go wrong. In this race, sin detours us away from the foot path God has designed for us.
Both encumbrances and sin can take a drastic toll on us mentally, spiritually, and even physically. If we are not careful to ditch the weight and if we are not determined to stay on the right path, we may find ourselves lost.
And feeling "buckled under" or "lost" can be a really scary place to be.
When we Christians find ourselves burdened or disoriented (from our own choices and waywardness), we can pause for a moment and regroup.
I am so grateful for grace and mercy in my time of need.
I need to remind myself that this is a long journey we're on. When we trip or fall or wander off course, let's not give up; let's dust ourselves off. Let's be very, very, very kind to ourselves.
Indeed, it might be time to practice new training methods. We may need to dig deeply into what tempts us. Analyze our thought life and emotions. Are we believing any lies? Not trusting God? Are there wounds in our heart we have never addressed? Do we need to surround ourselves with a community of "runners" who will cheer us on?
Personal growth and maturation my seem overwhelming, but we can simply start with one baby step in the right direction. I truly hope you enjoy your race and run patiently (!) to win!
For more "life lessons" and encouragement, click on a category on the right that interests you! You'll also find some freebies on the website (top task bar) to help you take thoughts captive and be more grateful in the day to day of it all. Feel free to print the worksheets. I'd love to know if they make any difference in your thought life and the day-to-day of it all for you! Shoot me an email to let me know :)
May God abundantly bless you on your journey.
Do you know what a pinion is? Pinions are the outer wing feathers of a bird that allow it to fly.
This word in Hebrew is associated with the word for patience. When we demonstrate patience, we are slow to anger. Sometimes showing patience means we will suffer--maybe even for a long time. These particular feathers on a bird are quite long in comparison to the others, and herein lies the connection with patience: the word long as in long-suffering.
Yesterday I lost my patience with my sons. These men have different internal thermostats than I. Basically, they run hot and I run cold.
These cooler nights in Kentucky have tempted them to open their bedroom window so they can enjoy the refreshing and delicious cold while they sleep in their air-conditioned, icy heaven. Then there is me, wrapped up like an Eskimo, blazing with everything wool, sandwiched in my electric blanket on HIGH, and with Rico (who is blessed with my cold nature) serving as a little hot water bottle beside me--all the while my centralized heating unit is trying to warm the house.
All this to say, I lost patience with them yesterday and vented a lot of hot air (believe me, I had it!) about this issue of opening their window at night when the heat is turned on in the house. [sigh]
But I also surprised myself yesterday with a victory in my quest to show patience. A friend wanted me to tell her how to use the reminder function on her phone. Listen: 28 back-and-forth texts and 1 hour and 19 minutes later, she got it. Several times during this exchange, I felt my frustration starting to rumble (and, yes, I was starting to look like the image above).
I wanted to use lift (exalt myself) and thrust (arrogance) to fly far above and away from her. It's no wonder that one Biblical opposite of patience is haughtiness (Ecc 7:8).
Instead of shutting her down, however, I chose to trim my pinions so I could not take flight and rise above her in this situation. I elected momentary, near agonizing (just google it for crying out loud!), long-suffering at her side (coupled with a few hundred "God, please help me here" prayers) because patience is, after all, what we are wired for and what we hope to be offered when we are in need.
Something miraculous happened when I trimmed my pinions.
After the texting subsided, my freshly severed pinions morphed into the longest and most beautiful flight feathers. Finally, Lord, we had a victory together!
That desire to fly by either making myself taller so my friend would look smaller or by hoisting myself up while putting her down was in that moment grounded.
And guess what? Then I could soar, but this time it was God who was lifting me up! His Spirit became my lift and thrust.
I have given you scenarios that pale in comparison with the bigger life issues like dealing with really stubborn or wandering children, facing a boss day in and day out who's after your head, helping your spouse through a hideous addiction, or mustering the courage to watch a dearly beloved one slowly exit this world. Even showing patience with yourself takes tremendous effort. These scenarios are riddled with strife, heartache, a gazillion changing emotions, and you may be pushed to the very limits of your soul.
Still, I want to encourage you to hold steady. Don't give up. Try trimming your pinions. Try to stay grounded, and let God do the heavy lifting. If we can learn to trim our pinions with the little scenarios, then we will become better equipped to handle trimming them for these bigger life issues.
And remember to always start with a grateful heart--I think it makes pinion trimming a whole lot easier!
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
All content © Victoria D. Walker, 2013-2020.
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