Get A Grip

“Fight! Fight! Fight!” screams a circle of teenagers as they watch two of their classmates poised to resolve their testosterone and pride-filled conflict with fisticuffs. Quickly, the principal and the assistant principal step in to end the raucous, send the other students on their way, and whisk the two perpetrators to the principal’s office to resolve the issue. Separated from each other, the boys are told to sit in time-out, to calm down, and to “get a grip”. Then, and only then, would they begin to “get to the bottom” of the squabble.

Do you go through your days fighting a never-ending battle of your own: ceaseless tasks, impossible decisions, irregular people who irritate your and/or cause your blood-pressure to rise? Do you ever wish someone would take you by the scruff of the neck, sit you in a time-out chair telling you to calm down and to “get a grip”.…to breathe?

Recently, God has set me in time-out. Despite the deadlines and the tyranny of the urgent, God called me to drop it all, to turn my focus in another direction, and to obey his commandment to “honor your parents.” Traveling the 1200 miles from Texas to Virginia, God was telling me to release my cares and obligations at home in order to care for my 90-year old father who had suffered a stroke and a surgery for an aneurysm.

Now, believe me, this time-out, has not been an idle one. My deadlines, appointments, obligations at home were replaced with scheduling my dad’s doctor’s appointments and surgery, sitting with him for hours and being his “go-fer” during his hospital and rehabs stays, coordinating home health care, organizing pills, washing, cooking, communicating with everyone who loves and cares for Dad, arranging for hardship mail delivery to his front door, finding day-time companions after I return home, etc. etc. etc.

However, in the midst of the overwhelm and the din of the day, God has blessed me with extended time in the mornings to sit with Him…time out, time to calm down, time to “get a grip”… time of solitude and silence. Sitting in this quiet house by myself, listening to the “tick-tock” of my great-grandfather’s clock, I have been gifted with time to sit and commune with God, teaching and reminding me:

• when anxiety starts to rise, there is no need to fear because God is my rock, my shelter, my fortress. When I cry out to God, he gives me perfect peace.
• to pray specific, relevant prayers throughout the day as challenges raise their threatening heads. Each time, God is there, moving ahead of me.
• to invite God to be the CEO of my life, my business and my relationships. I am simply the managing director of it all, doing what he says and going where he leads.
• that Immanuel continues to be “God with us,” with the Holy Spirit living in me, filling me daily with love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
He is my Comforter and Counselor; the one who takes my heart straight to the throne of God.

Be grateful for those forced time-outs. They are “God-sends” in disguise, giving us the respite we so desperately need in order to learn how to “pick our battles,” to remember throughout the day where our strength comes from, and where God wants to lead us. Embrace them. And then…use your Spirit-led discipline to include times of solitude and silence in your daily routine. Like 24-hour Tylenol, a daily dose of solitude and silence will give you all-day-relief – peace, strength and direction.