by Crossroads Therapist Kristin Wyse
SOS – The international code signal of extreme distress or an urgent appeal for help according the dictionary. What do you do when you are in distress? When you are in the deepest & darkest of waters? When the shore is so far away you can’t even see it, let alone know which direction it is in? When you can’t seem to get a breath in before the next wave crashes in on you?
Have you ever felt this way? I know I have! It can be so difficult for us to call out for help during these times. Let alone, what to do or how to do it. I’m proposing three lifelines. Lifelines to help us navigate through these deep & dark waters of life. Three lifelines to help us catch our breath, brace for the next wave, and maybe even gain a view of the distant shore. Our own SOS distress call for help.
The first lifeline is self-care, or in other words, taking care of ourselves. Think of yourself as an emotional bank account. We have numerous withdrawals taken out of our account throughout each day. Work, parenting, grocery shopping, paying bills, cleaning, relationships, difficult relationships…and the list can go on and on. But what deposits are we making sure to put into our account? And if there aren’t any deposits going in, how much are we going to be able to give and how well will we be able to complete those daily tasks ahead of us?
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Stress! We can’t seem to rid our lives of stress. But we can add peace and calm to our lives. What calms you? Walks or runs, music or quiet, a book or a movie, the beach or the mountains? This can look completely different from person to person because we are each unique individuals who all need to decompress and recharge. We need to discover how to calm ourselves physically, mentally & emotionally. Doing something physically to de-stress such as breathing, stretching, or tensing/relaxing our muscles can help calm our body. Mentally thinking on something else for a time such as naming items in a category, thinking of something humorous, or describing things around us by using our five senses can help calm our minds. And remembering words to a favorite song or scripture, thinking of our favorite things, or imagining ourselves in our happy place can help calm us emotionally. And then of course practice makes perfect, right? Or at least practicing self-care helps to make a more balanced emotional account.
Mark 6:31 – “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'”
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The second lifeline is to offer up. Offer up ourselves to God through prayer. Our pride, our control, our plan, our needs, our timing. Humbly inviting God to have control of our lives with His plan in meeting our needs in His timing. Crying out to the One who controls the wind & the waves!
Prayer can be easily misunderstood. But prayer is simply talking with God, and listening to Him. Not as a transaction where I pray this and God does that. But instead a reciprocal relationship where God reveals Himself as we give over our independence for dependence on Him. Where our hearts are changed and molded more into the likeness and image of Him. We do not have to change or be better before we come to Him. For there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more, and there is nothing that we can do to make God love us less. He just wants us to come to Him.
Jeremiah 29:11 – “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.'”
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The third lifeline is a support system. God has specifically designed us to have relationships, with Him and with each other. To reach out not only to Him, but also to reach out to others in our time of need. Unfortunately, in our technological age, we have become more disconnected under the guise of being more “connected”. And it is so much easier to portray our life through a filter, rather than reveal our wounded souls. But when we reach out and reveal our woundedness, we find that we are not alone. There are others who have experienced those same waves, those same wounds, and in the sharing we find healing. We find a lifeline.
God has beautifully portrayed in scripture how the church body is like our human bodies. Every organ, bone, muscle, & body part having specific functions that when put together create the human body. In the same way, every one of us has a unique purpose in serving each other. Diversity coming together to create unity in the body, the church body. We need each other. For support, encouragement, godly counsel, alternate perspectives, understanding, love, and ultimately healing.
I Corinthians 12:24-27 – “But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
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Three lifelines to answer our calls for distress. Unfortunately, life is not usually lived on shore. It is lived in the waters. Sometimes those waters are shallow and warm, and the waves are gentle. But sometimes those waters are deep and cold, and the waves toss us to and fro. I have learned the most about myself, God, and others while in the midst of those deep waters and intense waves. It has been in those desperate times that I have learned to call out in distress for help from my God, my family, my friends, and learned how to calm my soul. What do you do when you are in distress? Who hears your SOS?