Yesterday, after church, I went to see Jurassic World. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting God to show up at the movies, but he did. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon, but even after a wonderful Sunday service, I felt rain clouds hanging over me still. Life can be as unpredictable as the weather. And it is this uncertainty that makes me uncomfortable at times. The truth is: I like feeling in control at all times. But really? Can one possibly always control life around them? Even though I know the answer, God somehow always reminds me of it even when I am watching a movie like Jurassic World. Irrfan Khan, who plays Simon Masrani, the man entrusted by John Hammonds to run the dinosaur-themed park, repeats the answer: “The key to life is knowing you’re never really in control.” The light bulb went off.
That’s right! For example, why does it take a natural disaster for us to realize or remember that we do not have absolute control, but rather a God who is translating every script of our lives according to his will. He is sovereign. Though we manage our lives as best we can by exercising our free will, guarding our words, declaring and denouncing, we cannot forget that attribute of God. Or the attribute that God is also a loving Father. He is sovereign and he is love. Betwixt these ideas we find our peace as expressed in these lines known as the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time…Amen.
The truth is our peace is tied to our health and well-being. What we think about is communicated to every cell in our bodies. Some days I wish my head were disconnected from the rest of my body because whether I am conscious or not, my body knows everything I am experiencing or have experienced. It receives every toxic emotion and stores it in every cell until it is released.
However, here are 3 ways to de-stress:
Alter the interpretation of the situation: God, inevitably, is in control. Life is a dance between the Divine and human beings. Remembering that God should lead in the dance creates the rhythm and flow of God’s grace in life.
Change the circumstances causing the distress: Sometimes the resistance is really coming from within us. The more we struggle for the controls, the more agony we feel. When we have prayed or when we have done our best, we should surrender, rest and wait on God. God’s Spirit will give clear directions.
Increase the tolerance for the distress: Physically prepare the body. I have a friend Penny Powell who teaches a stretch class. I have learned a lot from her philosophical approach to stretching. Normally, we tend to leave stretching out of our fitness training, but it is one of the major components of fitness along with cardio and resistance training. Our muscles shorten as we become tense. Stretching, for example, helps the body to relax and release—to let go.
Yes, I do have a lot to learn and to remember. I am reminded of each time I settle down with my husband to watch a Netflix movie and I reach for the remote control, because I feel I must have the remote control. Or at a restaurant when I order a salad and I ask for the dressing to be on the side, because I like to control the amount of dressing on my salad. They say old habits are hard to break.