Thank goodness for a quote I heard today: “My current situation is not my final destination.” It helps to keep that in mind. But there are times in life when too much is just too much for the psyche. Any combination of factors can put us at high risk, a heavy work load, too many unreasonable expectations, the loss of a relationship, financial stress, physical discomfort. Any one of these can harm us. A combination of one or more can take us down.
Unfortunately, we do have those impossible times that we are caught in, and there’s no way out. Our only choice is to plod on as best as we can for as long as it takes. It helps if we know that the present situation will eventually come to an end. It helps to breathe deeply and stop to get a moment of perspective. What helps the most is to release a valve, any valve that is almost ready to burst.
But how do we do that successfully? The answer is different for every individual, but one thing remains constant. There are several “valves” that make up our life situation. It’s not so hard to name them when we’re in the midst of a bind. The thing we must do, though, is to pick out one of those at-risk valves, pay a minute of attention to it, grab a wrench, and release it a bit before it bursts.
Releasing just one will help. Don’t forget that when you feel as if you’re in danger, there are many ways we can handle this. One way is finding a place of serenity, and retreat to that place, even for a few minutes. The place can be a lush woodland setting, a place beside the sea, a purple sunset, a mountaintop, or even under a comforting tree in a park. Another way is to treat yourself to a good meal, watch a movie that you like, listen to some music, or read a book.
Still another way is modeled by Jesus during the times he was overwhelmed by the crowds of people pressuring him.
A great crowd kept following Jesus and pressed Him from all sides so as almost to suffocate Him. But the news about Him was spreading farther, and large crowds gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. (Mark 5:24; Luke 5:15-16)
Lynda Poston-Smith sings this comforting hymn:
When the storms of life are raging, stand by me (stand by me);
When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea;
Thou Who rulest wind and water, stand by me (stand by me).
In the midst of tribulation, Stand by me (stand by me);
When the hosts of hell assail, and my strength begins to fail,
Thou Who never lost a battle, stand by me (stand by me).
In the midst of faults and failures, stand by me (stand by me);
When I do the best I can, and my friends misunderstand,
Thou Who knowest all about me, stand by me (stand by me).