It’s all been so serious lately hasn’t it? For my fellow Canadians, we are adjusting to Justin and his new politics, for my American friends, Trump has either your admiration or your exasperation and all around the world ; crisis looms. Israel, Syria, Manchester , India…
For me at home it’s been less global, but still grim faced. I’m not the mother of just one child, as special as that one child may be. I have eight and they have each faced issues in the last months that made us all feel as if we have been fighting a long and drawn out battle. No rest in between skirmishes, no time to shore up the holes and prepare for the next onslaught. My oldest daughter sent me a text last week that just said “I’m so done mom” and I didn’t doubt she meant it. Personally I’m being pushed beyond myself. I’m dancing around with the medical aspects of my life and my disease and trying to find a balance between faith and function.
What do you do when it all seems huge and endless and exhausting? Because lets be honest, it does, or will, or has and there really is no getting around it. And what we do – how we handle it ,will often shape the landscape of our lives and determine how we weather the next storm, and the next and the next. Are you an avoider? Do you tuck your head into your pillow and practice the ancient Egyptian art of DeNile? Are you a fighter? An aggressively proactive and micro managing sargent, so that you maintain a controlled iron grip on possibility? And as such you burn out faster and harder than those around you who seem to be effortlessly floating thru circumstance?
Fight or flight? Medical books tell us that those are the two main responses the body takes in times of physical or emotional crisis.
Fight. Or flight.
My oldest daughter is a fighter. Stress shows up and she takes it to the mattresses. No quarter given, she is shoot first ask questions later. I’m breaking a kind of confidence when I tell you , that while that may sound tough and victorious… she struggles with the times she shouldn’t have come out, guns blazing and blown away the people she cares about. She has come and confessed not knowing how to repair the damage done by her “take the beach” approach. Fight has its benefits, and its draw backs. She’s perceived as tough, infallible, unbreakable. When the truth is quite the opposite. She is tender and scared. Her world has been torn apart and blown up time and time again and her drive to right every wrong comes from fear. Fear of being out of control and hurt. If you picture a wounded cornered animal, you’ll see my baby girl there. Fight is fierce… but it comes at a price.
For me, I’m a flighter. I run. First sign of trouble I’ve got shoes on and I’m gone. I don’t even take time to tie those shoes. I give up so easy, it’s as if I was never in the fight to begin with!
Avoid , Avoid, Avoid. It’s a mantra my heart and head have on repeat. And it’s the reason my health suffers, my house suffers, my relationships suffer, my spirit suffers. Not looking at the issue doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Whats the answer??!! If these are the two responses most people choose how are we to get it right?
This week in church we are studying the 20th chapter of 1st Samuel. David is in trouble BIG. His King and friend and mentor, Saul, is after him with plans to kill him. Makes sense if you’re crazy Saul and realize that David is coming for your throne, but all David knows is… he was doing the thing he was told to do.. watching the sheep and then some dude poured oil on him and now his world is upside down. David runs, he lies, he steals and he humiliates himself. He does it all in his own strength and wisdom… which gets him nowhere. But when we read the account through his eyes in psalms 34 & 56 we see his heart. David gives God credit for his deliverance. He acknowledges that his deliverance is undeserved. He is filled with thanksgiving for God’s grace. He learns that God uses even human means to bring about deliverance and that God can do the seemingly impossible. David is humbled but fixes his eyes on the eternal deliverance and not the temporal. As human and as flawed as David is, He has this beautiful heart that longs for God’s way, and it serves him well. Jesus mentions it later in Matthew when those jerks the pharisees are on him because his disciples pick and eat some grain. He talks about the heart that David had and says ” I desire compassion and not a sacrifice”
And that’s where I think the answer lies.
Look. Maybe you’re a fighter. Maybe you’re a runner. Maybe you avoid or maybe you freak out. Maybe you’ve been humbled, maybe you’ve lost everything and you’re ready to lie cheat and steal to get it back… Maybe you’re at the end of your road.
God wants compassion. He has compassion for you… why can’t you? Why do we think sacrificing ourselves on the altar of personal beratement is in anyway helpful/ appropriate/ holy? You can dance around any tree you want and offer up all the spiritual prayers you like and try to sound like the pope if that’s what you think will impress the people around you, but it doesn’t move the heart of God.
So today I’m taking a deep breath in and extending myself some compassion. I’m looking at the people around me with some grace. I’m imagining that Jesus might just love Justin too, and that He saw Trump coming before you or I did, and He’s in control and loving us all. And in doing so, the serious starts to lift a little. I can hear music in the background and the sun is a little brighter.
Give it a shot. Why so downcast oh my soul? put your HOPE in God.
I bet you think I’m ridiculous. You made eternity and everything in it and I have a hard time making a bed. You see the end from the beginning and I can’t see to the end of the day, and yet I act like what happens in my day is so crazy important and worth getting riled about. Bring me up short when I need it Jesus, please. Remind me to relax and take it easy on others and myself. Help me see the beauty in everything, and to rest in you. L
Oh and… thanks for music. I’m dancing around today…