Oy! What a mishigas!! Work was rough, I got yelled at by the boss, my spouse is in a bad mood and wants to tell me about it. I want to listen but have been hearing complaints all day long from customers and my compassion gauge is at FULL. Just, everyone….leave me alone!!!
Ever feel that way? Really? That often? Welcome to the Club, Brothers and Sisters.
In today’s fast..faster..fastest world I think we all get too caught up in a whirlwind of events that just keep coming at us. We feel like we are in an emotional spiral, either revving up to an explosion or falling into oblivion. It’s just too much too much, and too often.
Sometimes I wish I lived in simpler times. I am a Baby Boomer at the end of the cycle, born in the mid-50’s. I remember the innocence of the times and miss that slower, more congenial way of life. Yeah, we were more than innocent- we were naive. We were lied to and all the social tribulations, domestic abuse, pornography and underhanded activities in government that we expose so much today were happening then, too.
But the “feel” of life was nicer. Maybe it’s just Escapism- that desire to go back to a time we recall (truthfully or not) as happier.
The sad truth is, as Thomas Wolfe said, you can’t go home again.
There is a way to feel calmer, to get to a more relaxed state of mind, and to overcome the stress of today’s problems and exhaustive schedule. No, it’s not TM or Tai Chi or Yoga (although there’s nothing wrong with those). What I am talking about is prayer. And not the kind of prayer where you ask God to give you something, but the kind of prayer where you just thank God for all He has given you.
Huh? What’s that? I need help, I need to relax, I’ve got all this stress and all these problems and I need them to go away. And you want me to thank God? You crazy, or what?
No, I’m not crazy (there could be arguments made against that statement, though): I’m right. I know I’m right because it works for me, it works for my wife, and it will work for you, too.
The problem with problems is that they blind us to our blessings. They are like the glare from the sun on your car windshield, which makes it impossible to see what is directly ahead of you. When you focus on your blessings, it’s like putting on polarized sunglasses; once you have them on, you can see everything clearly. It’s that simple.
Prayer, especially thankful prayer, is the way to get passed the world and see the spiritual. It is balm for the soul. When you feel overwhelmed by the world, your life and your problems, you are blinded to the wonderful things that God has provided. It’s normal to feel that way; that’s why God has given us the ability to come into His throneroom through prayer. By the atonement we receive from Yeshua’s sacrifice, we can come boldly before the Lord. In fact, even if you are not “saved”, God will hear your prayer when you come before Him humbly and with a contrite spirit. That’s the way He rolls.
When I was still searching for God, I started to pray. Not because I was a firm believer in God, but because I thought it would help me. I remembered hearing somewhere that if you felt unhappy, smile. If you smile, even if you are unhappy, eventually by smiling you will become happier. I thought, “Why not do the same with prayer? Maybe if I pray like I believe in God, I will start believing more?” Funny thing is, it worked. And I felt better, too. Emotionally, even before I was blessed with the indwelling of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), I felt better. I was relaxed, as if a weight had been lifted. It doesn’t last forever, the weight comes back. Living in the world is like working at the fish market. By the time you come home, you stink of fish. You may wash and wash, eventually getting the smell off of you, but by midday tomorrow you will stink, again.
Prayer is the spiritual soap that cleanses us of the stench from the cursed world we live in.
And, as your Mother always told you, you should wash every day. So, with that thought in mind, start to wash yourself with prayer every day. Start the day clean, and go to bed cleansed from the world. Just say, “Thank you, Father, for all that You do for me. For my salvation, for my health (if you are alive you are healthier than a dead person), for my situation (it can always be worse), for everything You have done, for what You are doing right now, and for everything that You have planned for me.”
As the old saying goes, just count your blessings. In thankful prayer you will find peace, so long as you honestly thank God for whatever He has done for you. In the midst of the worst trials and tribulations, God is there. Remember that poem, “Footprints in the Sand?” When there was only one set of footprints, the writer asks where God was when he was walking all alone through his problems. God’s answer was that the footprints weren’t those of the man, but they were God’s footprints; there was only one set because God was carrying the man through those troubled times.
God carries us through our problems, and there is a reason that Yeshua called the Ruach the “Comforter”. It’s because that’s what it does; it comforts us, it relaxes us, it takes away the worries and the strife. Maybe only temporarily, but that’s another thing to be thankful for- the Spirit, like God, is always there for you. When those feelings of complete and utter despair come back, the Ruach is ready for it.
Feeling out of it? Ready to call it a day and you just woke up? Wanna go to Petsmart after work, pick up something small and defenseless, take it home and KILL IT!!! Please don’t. Just find a quiet corner somewhere, and thank God for all you have. It may take some effort, I know (believe me…I know!), but it is worth the effort. Let the Comforter comfort, ease into an emotional hot tub, put on your spiritual sunglasses and see through the haze of the world all the wonderful things God has done, and is doing, for you right now.
When you offer up to the Lord thankful prayer, He will give you peace of spirit. Unlike the hard truth that you can’t “go back home again”, thankful prayer is something that will never be gone and will always make you feel better. It is constantly here, easily within reach, and it works. Try it right now- why wait? Nu? What could it hoit?