I love the six weeks before Christmas. Each day my calendar becomes increasingly packed with activities and preparation for activities: family dinners, special worship services, and parties.
As life gets increasingly busy, taking time to pray and to listen become increasingly important. In the days ahead plans will get complicated and interrupted. Friends and family members will push our emotional buttons. In these coming days taking time to pause will become increasingly important.
Prayer and meditation allow us to step back from our emotional responses and use the portion of our brains that is uniquely human, the center for reasoning. This portion of our brains allows people to think things through and consider long term consequences of our actions. But when anxiety flares, when we might most need our ability to reason things through, this portion of our brains gets disconnected and our emotional response kicks in. Perhaps in a primitive time in human development a more emotional response encouraged a flight or fight response, but now, especially in social occasions, those who react emotionally, physically lose it.
In a parable on anxiety Jesus commands us: “Look at the birds … Consider the flowers …” In other words take time to ask: Where is God in all this? What is the bigger picture that all this busyness fits into? And ultimately, where do I fit into God’s mission today?
How do you step back when your emotions attempt to disconnect your God-given ability to think rationally?
With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment.
Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.
— Proverbs 3:5-6 (CEV)