Saturday, January 01, 2005

Trying to Relax

The other day I treated myself to my first-ever professional massage. For Christmas someone had given me some money along with instructions to buy something I wouldn't normally, so I decided it was time to give my poor body some relief from being hunched over the computer at work all the time. (Let me just say that it was pure bliss, and if God continues to bless me with extra income then this first massage won't be my last.)

It was during the massage that I made an important discovery: I have a hard time relaxing. Actually, I think deep down inside I've known this to be a fact, but I've been in denial about it. A couple of times during the massage the masseuse had to remind me to relax. I was trying to help her out by lifting my neck or moving around to make her job a little easier, but I was actually defeating the purpose of her job. All that trying to relax just made me more tense. Thankfully, midway through the massage I stopped trying so hard, and it was then that I found myself actually relaxing.

I'm just not that great at relaxing. My mind always seems to be churning with some idea or question. Even when I'm "vegging out" in front of the TV, more often than not I find myself popping up from my chair a half dozen times to fold laundry, empty the dishwasher, let the dog out, etc. It's rare that I'm able to simply sit still and enjoy my surroundings without thinking of the million other things I could or should be doing.

This carries over into my spiritual life as well. So many times I find myself trying to help God make His "job" a little easier--as if He needs help from anyone, least of all me. Even when my intentions are good, I usually end up sabotaging His plans for me because I just can't or won't relax and leave things to Him. There's no telling how many blessings I've missed out on because I've tried to manufacture them myself instead of waiting on God.

This doesn't mean I should always sit back and never do anything when it comes to my faith; often, faith requires action. But I know that I've spent so much time thinking and fretting too much and not trusting God enough. That's one of my goals for this year, to relax my grip on my life and leave it in God's hands. It doesn't come naturally to me, and probably not to anyone. But I believe it can be done. Paul backs me up on it:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:6-7

Join me in letting go of what's keeping us all tense and knotted up inside, and allow God's peace to bring us to deeper relaxation.

Happy New Year!


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