Growing up, the mall was just over a mile from our house. So, when a portion of the building was remodeled in 2006, it was a HUGE deal in my middle school world.
After several months, reveal day finally arrived and as locals navigated our way to the entrance, a large object with flashing lights and what looked to be animals appeared. Opening the glass doors wide and following the commotion, it didn’t take long for me to spot the main attraction to which all were flocking… Not only was it a carousel, but a double-decker carousel inside of the mall!!
Children and adults, alike, wasted no time in paying their dues and piling on. Though as it reached capacity, all were buckled and the operator pressed a lever, prompting its start. The first few times around, the children grinned ear to ear. Though after a few spins, many started screaming and crying as adults began turning green, only to pull out a bag and start violent puking. Nonetheless, most could not wait for it to finally end.
Likewise, I believe our lives can emulate a carousel, with our realities revolving… Whether the drama in getting your kids out the door for school in the morning, financial burdens because of COVID, conflict between co-workers, a grueling project from your teacher or boss, a phone call from the doctor with a diagnosis, the news and politics with yesterday’s presidential inauguration, or taking care of an elderly grandparent or parent. Each change and season bring about new events on our calendar and even in our striving for all to stop, the whirl remains never-ending.
While our personal lives are constantly spinning, our world as a whole is also shifting. Foundational principles and definitions of truth, as well as other laws, standards, and “norms” continue to fall on the unpredictable slope, especially in recent days.
Thus, when our course of action is to just continue riding life’s whirl, or to merely try changing the “animal” we sit on to appease popular culture, the places and people we turn to fill the voids often become our greatest demise. Whether alcohol, eating disorders, excessive exercise, pornography, drugs, isolation, smoking, social media, even relationships with others… All leaves us unsatisfied and empty, even creating a greater whirl than before, as we long for more and more.
Though, take heart dear friends for there is hope found in Hebrews 6. Verses 17 and 18 discuss the unchangeable nature of God and His faithfulness in keeping His promises.
Then we read verses 19 and 20,
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”
Did you catch that? Our God is unlike the world and its sense of spinning with constant ebb and flow of people, feelings, money, brands, diets, politics…
Rather, He is our anchor, firm and secure. We do not have to wonder or fear if He will leave, change, or fail us.
He is the same, yesterday, today and forevermore.
So, as you look in the mirror today and evaluate your own life, consider, Am I stuck the never-ending carousel of life? If so, today can be your day to say enough is enough and halt your revolving reality by getting off the ride of your life and mind.
Although, especially when we first hop off, it may still feel like we are spinning. Thus, in order to anchor, or bring us back to the present moment, there are techniques that can be helpful, commonly called “grounding”.
This list may include, but is not limited to:
- 5-4-3-2-1: Using our 5 senses, name 5 things in environment we SEE. 4 things we TOUCH. 3 things we HEAR. 2 things we SMELL. 1 thing we TASTE.
- Guided Imagery Exercises (Various videos found on YouTube) where we imagine being in a garden or beach, etc.
- Listening to calming music (One of my personal favorites is Kari Jobe)
- Sitting down in a comfy chair to focus on our breathing, the rising and falling of our chest
- Physically going to or imagining a safe place and/or person. (For example, my safe place is my Grandmother’s kitchen. So I imagine what it looked like with the yellow tile and sunflowers, smells of homemade pie, how I felt: safe, loved, like I belonged…)
- Apps such as Headspace, Calm or Tapping Solutions
- Moving. Going for a walk or a making a complete change of scenery to go work in another room
- Thinking of a category, such as ice cream flavors or movies, then name as many things as possible that would fit in it
- Placing all negative emotions/memories in a “container” as they arise, only able to be dealt with by counselor or trusted person that can help you process/cope at a designated time. (I have found email to be a great tool and so I know once I type all that’s on my mind from nightmare/flashback and hit send to my counselor, I no longer have it in my brain to ruminate over.)
- Distraction such as talking with a friend, watching TV, drawing, plating with a pet.
- Having a “safe object” you can touch (like for me it is a blanket)
- Meditation of scripture
Each person and situation is unique, so don’t get discouraged if you have trouble at first finding what technique works best for you or have to do multiple ones. I promise as you practice again and again, you will notice a huge difference. You may even discover how these tools can be used to better balance and manage other conditions, like anxiety, PTSD and stress.
Therefore, no need to waste another minute in your revolving reality. Run to our anchor: Jesus.
~Much love and prayers always, Alisha