Life throws us curve balls, or sometimes fast balls that really hurt when we are hit. We find ourselves battling various threats to our well-being, like a swordsman parrying the attack of an enemy. At a visceral level, we feel the fight-flight or fright response taking place in our central nervous system.
This automatic response to threats may lead us to anxiety and panic. We find ourselves running in flight mode, seeking to avoid the danger that feels like a cougar on our back with its claws and teeth taking the life out of us. Or, we turn and fight, becoming more vicious ourselves like a pit-bull fighting for its life. Sometimes we give up and play possum, with our system in total shut-down mode.
Reflect on Elijah in I Kings 18:16-19:4
How do we manage these situations so we may pursue a meaningful and productive life?
Here are a few tips which may help.
Notice your avoidance pattern. What feelings and experiences are you seeking to avoid? Evaluate your own fight-flight or fright pattern in your thoughts and actions. Learn to become an observer of your own responses to perceived threats. Addictions and various emotional and psychological problems can grow out of this pattern.
Reflect on Joseph’s brothers in Genesis 42 –Genesis 44
Learn acceptance. Rather than fighting your emotional reactions, befriend them. These physical and emotional responses are automatic, signaling you that some threat is present. The real enemy is your learned patterns of avoidance. You are seeking increased flexibility and freedom in your life. For example, you may gain freedom by saying a loving “No,” when necessary, if you are prone to say “Yes,” against your will to avoid the discomfort of offending someone.
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Romans 12:1
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” I Peter 5:6-7
Reflect on James 4:6-10
Open up to life. Refocus yourself to the world around you. Learn to appreciate the art that is all around you. Enjoy the varied types of music. Appreciate the seasons and the beauty of nature, which has been called “the greatest show on earth.” Dogs, cats, birds, horses, and creatures from the animal kingdom all have something to offer as you open up to life in the direction of your choice. The Lord has made all things for you to enjoy in His presence.
Reflect on Romans 1:20; Psalm 19:1-6
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17
Next week we will continue Seeking Balance to Live Life.
Modified from article originally written for the Hammonton Gazette, March 2019.