Monday, November 29, 2010
Life Is a Pressure Cooker - Part Three
Walking and Talking - They Really Help
In Part One - we talked about the fact that life's pressures can sometimes cause us to overheat, and even explode upon occasion, if we do not have our vents working properly. In Part Two - we reviewed one of God's best inventions for defusing some of life's pressure build-up: healthy tears.
Now we come to two other wonderful devices for dealing with pressure, walking and talking. Most of us begin these two activities sometime near the end of our first year of life. By the time we are full-fledged adults you would think we would have them down pat. However, this is not necessarily so.
Oh, we may talk a good deal, but unfortunately we may say very little. Or we may be talking to the wrong person, which tends to make things worse rather than better.
Nevertheless, when used thoughtfully and appropriately, these two abilities can work wonders in allowing us to safely reduce life's pressures.
A walk with a friend:
What a blessing! The best friend any of us can have is Jesus. Many of us can remember singing What a Friend We Have in Jesus during services in our youth. I am also reminded of another old chestnut in the gospel music catalogue, And He Walks With me and He Talks With Me.
But do we ever take them literally? I have. When my two boys were young, and my daughter was a baby, we only had one car and it was usually gone during the day as my husband took it to work. So I could not leave the house during that time, unless I did so on foot while corralling two rambunctious boys and carrying a baby in arms, as we did not have a stroller.
But in the evenings, when their father got home, I would take a walk for a half an hour or so, just around the neighborhood - to get some fresh air, clear my head, and calm my heart before the Lord. It was those quiet walks, that helped me go back and start dinner and face the din. Sometimes I would listen to the birds chirp and sing. Sometimes I would look at the clouds or the shape of a tree. Just walking around in God's creation gave my heart a rest and my mind some clarity.
And what fun to take a walk with a friend who shares your interests or struggles. Many women, who cannot afford to join a gym or buy expensive home equipment, get their exercise by walking with one or more friends while they talk about their day. Burns up calories and can also burn away the dross of resentments, confusion, and misunderstanding. And it is free!
Likewise, talking is a God-given ability that He desires to see us use in a healthy and meaningful manner. Jesus is also a wonderful listener, and He will speak in that still small voice to our hearts when we take the time to go to him in prayer. The Lord said in Isaiah, "Come now let us reason together." God invites us to talk with Him about anything and everything that may be putting pressure on us.
Talking with coworkers, friends, family members can also be a viable outlet for easing the normal pressures of life. Caution is needed, however, to resist gossip, criticism of those not present, or self-pity. When we avoid these, and focus on healthy, productive conversations about life's challenges - talking becomes the blessing God intended for it to be.
God gave mankind language skills, uniquely in all creation, as none of the animals He created can speak. Yes, there are a few limited exceptions such as "talking parrots." But they make sounds in imitation of others - and without any real understanding. Oh, dear, I fear I may have fallen into that trap myself from time to time.
& & &
So if your life is a pressure-cooker right now - I have two suggestions for you:
1. Take a walk.
2. Have a talk.
You may choose to take a solitary stroll for relaxation or a group walk for exercise. Either has value. But get out in the fresh air and move. It will ease your tension and build your stamina.
For having a good talk, you may choose to pour out your concerns only to the Lord. He is always the best audience. Sometimes, though we are like the little girl who told her mother she was lonely and wanted to talk to someone. He mother, who was busy with other life demands, told her that she could always "talk to Jesus." The child innocently said, "Yes, that is true. But sometimes I need to talk to someone with skin on." Um-humm - yes, we do.
Walking and talking - just two of the safety vents God has given us with which to deal with life's inevitable pressures. King David said, "... He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul." A quiet walk beside a stream is not just a refreshing metaphor, it is also a description of an action that truly brings peace. I have never walked beside a brook, lake, or river that I did not feel better afterward.
Praying that you will have a good walk and some lively talk. God bless you ... Marsha Young