It was late in the day during my visit with our son & daughter-in-law and grandchildren in Costa Rica. The kids came into the house after school extra tired that afternoon. Something happened that made Charles need time in his room so his mom went in to hold him while he worked it out, loudly and mournfully. Annie was with her dad, seemingly heartbroken and powerfully making her feelings known. Lucy moved to the front porch and started crying loudly about something that felt dismaying to her in that moment. I followed her there and asked why she was desperately unhappy about this seemingly unrelated thing, but of course, she couldn't logically think about why and continued to melt down. All three were SUPER miserable, all at the same time. I felt like we had just taken off on the crazy train.
Realizing that this was not my responsibility to fix, I quietly sat down. Joel and Rachel are experienced at calming storms and before we knew it, all was back to normal, smiles on faces and peace in the house. (How do they do that?)
Unhitching from the Crazy Train is a book I haven't read, so I'm not recommending or reviewing it, but I LOVE the title. Joel and Rachel have learned to manage their young children without acting crazy themselves and I admire them greatly.
But I wonder sometimes about how I manage my own crazy.
Living in a house with only two people in it is very different from a home with young children. But crazy knows no age limits; the source just changes. Mine has to do with boundaries, priorities, schedules and my own overwhelm. Maybe that is why these verses spoke so gently to me this week:
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
These words slow me down and open my heart to being led to quiet and rest instead of the constant need to get something done, figure it out, or accomplish the next task...only to forget about my own soul.
How do you unhitch from crazy and let God care for your soul?
I find that starting the day with intentional quiet leads me toward the one who truly cares for the soul he created within me. My alarm goes off and I wake, feeling unwilling or unable to move. But a thought enters my mind that persuades me to get up and out of that comfortable bed.
I get to meet with God!
I wonder what He has for me this morning?
Starting with coffee, a lit candle, my Bible & my journals, I head to my quiet place and open up to what's next.
Because my word for 2018 is open the door, I've been starting my time by reciting the verse from Revelation 3:20
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (NIV)
I love the image of Christ standing at the arrival of each morning, knocking at the door of my determination and resolve. Hoping to hear from him, I find myself eager to open the door and invite him in. Saying yes to his divine whisper I wait for him to speak. Sometimes I hear him in the Psalm I read, or in the prayers I pray, in the liturgy of other people's prayers, or in the silence of the early morning hour.
When I open the door I'm not in control. I'm not directing or even searching. He and I are "eating" together and he is nourishing my soul. Not in ways that I understand or that I can check off a list, but in ways that he sees fit.
This quiet and calm time seems to be the "key" to dealing with the "crazy" when it comes at other times of the day. I have some "still waters reserves" from which to draw. I don't always choose to lie down and be still, but I know it is an offer, a place to go, a way out. I only need to remember and step toward what he is offering.
How about you? Have you found a time to "unhitch from the crazy train?" It can be a time where the Shepherd of your soul leads you to be internally quiet and there you can remember who he is and how he created you and what he has to say to you. There he is rest and rejuvenation for your soul.
The way Joel and Rachel help their children come back to calm is very much like the way the Spirit leads us to our Shepherd...with quiet assurances, without condemnation and with an ocean full of love. It starts with his invitation to step off the crazy and to step into the quiet assurance that he is near and eager to commune with you.
It's how I want to live. I pray he will enable me to say yes whenever the offer comes.