Tag Archives: safety

77: Overwhelmed

77  overwhelmed pixabay Dlee fantasy-782001_1920

“From the ends of the earth,

I cry to you for help

when my heart is overwhelmed.

Lead me to the towering rock of safety,” Psalm 61:2 NLT

 

We’ve mentioned being overwhelmed by problems, horror, and things that annoy us. Perhaps now is a good time to talk about emotional overwhelm. Those times when we feel so much that it is like we are just gasping for a breath when another wave of sorrow or shock rolls over us. Grief is a lot like that, and if you are a highly sensitive person, watching the news can have a similar effect. As I write, the western world is still reeling from the Orlando killings, and a Member of Parliament, Jo Cox, has been murdered here in the UK yesterday.

We can feel, in the aftermath of such events, completely adrift in a sea of unfamiliar or difficult emotions. We can’t imagine how horrendous it is for the families involved, but even at a distance we feel swept out of control by our feelings of sadness and disbelief that these things can happen. When these are the stories in the media, even the small disturbances in our own lives can send us into heights of anxiety and depths of despair, because we were already hurting so badly. Writing (and reading) about the dark things of life as we have been doing, can also be too much. This blog has even been rather intense the last few days. I will try to space out the really tough stuff so that we can stay on an even keel.

Sometimes, even good things happening can feel utterly overwhelming. I have a book coming out soon and that is great, but still a strain on a person with delicate health. There are days when we feel that the mixture, or juxtaposition of good and bad, joy and sorrow, can itself feel like a seesaw we are incapable of coping with, a rollercoaster we just do not feel capable of riding.

What does the scripture advise us to do at such times? To cry out to God. To know that in him we can find (as most translations put it) “the rock that is higher than I.” Our God is higher ground, a safe place, a tower or a plateau where we can get our breath back and get our emotional spirit levels balanced. Let us then, make the time to rest in him when everything around us is too much and our racing hearts are struggling to beat with his.

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

66: Timidity

66 Gill blue tit

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

Timidity is a difficult subject for me. I seem to have a great gifting for it. I can timid with the best of them. I know how to avert my eyes, melt into the background, stare at the floor as if it held all the secrets of the known universe, and generally disappear from view. I am happiest when no-one notices me, and I can just get on quietly with my own thoughts. I prefer to sit at the back of church like a good Anglican on those rare occasions I’m well enough to go, and I don’t have the nerve to do or say very much in public. As an introvert with an energy-stealing chronic illness, small talk and chitchat exhaust and upset me, and even conversations with dear friends and family wears me out.

And yet, there is a courage deep within that means I am, despite these social failings, unafraid to fall deeper and deeper into God, able to stand the necessity for deceasing and letting bits of ego crash to the ground, and to speak my mind, and even God’s mind when he grants me the honour of a prophecy or a piece of wisdom. I have the courage to not care very much what people think of me, and I know I would die for my Lord. Just as long as he doesn’t ask me to read the lesson at Christmas.

So perhaps there are different kinds of timidity, just as there are different kinds of courage. It is early summer here in the UK and the birds are fledging. They have to somehow find the courage to leave the nest for the first time. It is the beginning of an exciting adventure, and yet also terrifying. They have to launch themselves into the air, with no idea what will happen. And the nest is so warm, cosy and familiar, why should they leave it? Something compels them. They are growing too big and there is a world out there to explore. Yes it contains acres of sky, beautiful trees, birdseed, puddles and berries, and yes, also cats and weasels.

I’m feeling a lot like one of those chicks at the moment. Used to being ensconced in my small house, hermitted by my illness and need for quiet, I am starting to find my life of prayer and creativity is being noticed. I have a book out soon, and a few pieces of my art are going into a local exhibition in July. Part of me feels like I’m being pushed out of the nest, part of me feels like I should be aiming at the sky and jumping. It feels scary and uncomfortable and yet, inevitable at the same time.

When we are sat in the nesting box, half in, half out, perhaps that is a good time to remember that God will give us the strength we need, and that, like Joshua about to cross into the Promised Land, we are encouraged to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1, verses 6 and 7) where there is a need to move forward. God will honour the weak places where we have a natural timidity and help us with them, and he will certainly take care of us physically, if we only ask. But there is a point where we understand that we must jump into flight, however far down that ground looks.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo by Gill Fuller, used with permission.

 

172: Pasture

172 pasture jasongillman mf

Green fields where we beasts of burden are made down to lie, enforced rest and abundant grazing. Fenced into the fold for safety. A shepherd’s goodly eye roving over us and over every wicked lolling tongue that salivates at the meat hanging from our tired bones.

No more looking over our shoulders with the wearying constancy that broke us down. No more scrounging for the smallest morsels with sallow cheeks and hanging heads. No more seeing the greener grass only from a distance along with hearing the peals of salacious laughter at our expense, and the clink of callous crystal.

Now our heads bow low to nuzzle the soft lush verdant blades, sharp sweetness, the viriditas spread by chewing, swallowing, savouring the goodness, green tongues long and damp with juice. Now we can stop having eyes in the back of our heads and simply be, lambs in his presence, wool growing wild and curly, frolicking in the frequent sunlight; dappled by the dawn of grace.

 

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2016

Photo from morguefile.com