When I am raw, I take cover. I try to avoid people who typically “push my buttons,” in other words, have that uncanny ability to make me react negatively. I shut out Debbie Downers. Shut off the doom-and-gloom news of the day. Slam the doors to energy zappers. Exit out as gracefully as possible, at least temporarily.
So how exactly do I do this? I throw on my gray sweats. From the outside, they are worn down cotton, sprinkled with lint and bleach spots, but my itchy insides associate them with great comfort and safety, probably because they show their imperfections without judgment. Then I blast the radio; crank up the heat in the winter; AC in the summer because it always feels so good to let loose with harmless extremes. And I then I read myself silly. Silly blogs, silly songs, funny stories. Nothing heavy, nothing thick. Though my children are grown, a children’s book or story works wonders too. Then I turn to self-help/how-to stuff.
“How to pump up your lips with lipstick without collagen injections”
“How to find the one in three easy steps”
“A 30-day program to make one million dollars”
When I read about these kind of things, it teases me. I am like a mad scientist looking for the secret, unattainable formula for….something that is really so unattainable. But the process tricks me into believing that I have the ultimate control over things that I really have limited, if any, control over.
So in essence, as I read these self-help things, even though I will likely not find a secret formula or magic of any kind, I will FEEL like I will and that sought-after feeling of control is just what the doctor within ordered.
I get the most comfort, however, from reading scripture. I will not get self-help as far as worldly terms go, and find out, for instance, how to fill my emptiness in “10 easy steps.” Instead, I will get comfort from God’s word as far as I can remove myself from my self-centered nature and my own obsession with controlling things, and, instead, focus, and meditate on His desire, His will for me.
I cannot say that every time I read scripture, I have a spiritual awakening. However, reading and meditating on scripture does help me unburden my heavy lot and lessen my worries. Letting go in this manner actually, paradoxically, helps build me up. In a solid frame of mind, I am more apt to go back into the boxing ring of life and give it my best (and better!) shot. In reality, life, regardless of the circumstances, is not about taking cover forever, it’s about meeting it head on and accepting the slaps, punches as well as the embraces; sometimes whittling down the pride and stepping deeper into the grace.
Stay tuned!…until next time…faith forward