Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gravity Lost: When You're Spinning Out Of Control

Do you ever get that sick feeling in your stomach that just won't go away? Are you strung tight from being tossed about by things beyond your control?

Yeah, that's what I've been dealing with these last few days. It's a feeling of weightlessness, but not the good kind. It's that feeling that I imagine astronauts get when they get knocked into a tailspin in space that they can't pull out of. No matter how desperately they try, all they do is spin. And if they aren't hooked in and can't grab onto anything... they just keep going forever. That has to be the greatest fear- aside from asphyxiation- that every space man has.

Sometimes life is a little like space. One moment you feel yourself firmly planted on the ground, life is good, and everyone you love is fine. And then something happens and gravity is ripped out from under you. All it takes is one thing... one tiny, infinitesimal thing and we lose all orientation.

Up becomes down....

Left becomes right....

We can't stop. And eventually... we're going to run out of air. We know we are. We only have a certain amount left, and once it's out, that's it: game over. We know this in our heads, but that doesn't stop us from hyperventilating. It's eating up all of our precious oxygen. But we just can't stop.

It usually takes a while- a lot of waving of our arms and legs and getting nowhere- before we realize there's nothing we can do to fix what's going on. If only something- someone- would come along and stop the spinning. If only we could just get one toe on the ground, we'd be alright.

You may be thinking, "Hey, this sounds like a great analogy for my unsaved friend I've been witnessing to." Well, yeah, I guess it could be. But pause for a moment and think.

I'm not talking about an unBeliever here. I'm talking about me, you, and every other Christian out there who feels like their stability has just been taken away. Because we all go through it at one time or another. We all start spinning.

Maybe for you it's your kid- he's has left the church and you don't know where it was you went wrong. Or maybe you just got laid off and don't know where this month's rent is going to come from. Or maybe you're like me and God has asked you to step out on faith with something you're not comfortable with. If you are feeling disoriented and confused, you're spinning. But how do you stop?

First of all, STOP STRUGGLING!

Stop your pacing. Stop your worrying. Stop your nervous babbling. Just stop. Sit back and let stuff spin- it's ok. Close your eyes. Open your heart. Make that connection with God that you have not done since this whole thing started. Maybe you've tossed up a prayer, hoping that it doesn't land on deaf ears. But have you had a soul-crying, heart-shredding talk with God lately? Have you cried out to Him with all of your fears? Have you let Him be God? Or have you just been scrabbling around, trying to ground yourself on your own?

Second of all, remember your training.

Think back to those moments in your life where things have gone wrong before, but a miracle happened or where you have had a need/desire and God filled it. If you can't remember one because you are still too emotionally upset, think about someone else's life. I don't know if you've noticed this, but we as human beings can be a little myopic. When it comes to ourselves, we can't see God working very well. But when it comes to other people, we are often amazed. It's not that God hasn't been active in our lives, it's just that we are too emotionally involved to see it. So sit back and remember all that God has done in your life, in others, in the Bible. Count your blessings. Thank Him for every little thing you can think of- even if it's just the fact that you are still breathing! Let the world stabilize.

And thirdly, read the manual.

In every good space movie, no matter how much training the hero has there's always somewhere that he falls short. There are always things he can't remember how to do. And there's always a manual.

We as Christians have been given our manual (the Bible) for a reason. Even if we have struggled through something before, we'll probably do it again. And if not the same thing, something new. Our manual is not like other manuals. It's special. Any Christian who has spent any amount of time reading their Bible will tell you that it 1) never changes and 2) always has something new to show you. It doesn't matter if you've read a particular passage ten times. When you go back and read it again, there will be something totally new that jumps out at you. It's kind of like studying a painting: from far away it looks one way and from up close another, but it's still the same painting. It hasn't changed. Only your perspective.

Today I experienced something similar. A passage from Scripture that I have read a lot of times touched my heart in a whole new way. It was the perfect thing that I needed to hear at the perfect time in a way I don't think it has done before.

When I finally stopped struggling and turned to my manual, I was met with the information and assurance I needed. Did my situation change? Nah. Not yet. But how about the way I deal with it? Yeah, I think it has. I'm at peace with what's going on around me. Space can be space. I'll just wait here until someone pulls me back to earth again. Actually, it's kind of peaceful up here right now.

So why are you still spinning?


Philippians 4:6-"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

1 Peter 5:6-7- "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."

Romans 8:28- "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." 

Proverbs 3:5-6- "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

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