Writer, Teacher, Planner, Dreamer

Month: July 2014

Holding Hands

thumb

I was babysitting earlier this week. The baby was quite fussy for awhile. Finally he wrapped his little hand around my thumb. He quieted down and I felt his body relax as he exhaled and then drifted off to sleep. There in that moment, there was peace. He found a place of safety and was content. But, the strange thing I noticed was that I found peace too. Before that, my mind was swirling with thoughts of everything I should be doing: writing the lesson for the weekend, applying for jobs, etc. I could have put the baby down and tended to any one of those things. But in that moment, with his soft fingers gripping my thumb and the feel of his little body breathing against my chest, all of those things seemed much less pressing.

I noticed the same thing happened a couple of nights ago. I was feeling very tense. My boyfriend and I went to take a walk that evening. As we walked outside, he took my hand in his and the tension that I felt was released as soon as I felt his fingers lock with mine. Nothing else mattered at that point. I became aware of the breeze brushing my skin and the beautiful colors that the sun setting had painted in the sky. Again, all of my worries faded away and in that moment, there was peace.

I did some research on this and found that scientists have actually found that holding hands has a comforting effect on us. These results can be seen in brain scans of areas of the brain that register emotional and physical harm. Holding hands has a physical effect on our minds that leads us to be more calm.

(http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/31/health/psychology/31marr.html)

Often we get caught up in things that we think are so pressing. We allow them to stress us out. We worry. We lose our peace. We don’t think we have time to do things like go for a walk or hold a sleeping baby. But those may be the exact things that we need to do to regain our perspective and our peace.

So, tonight make time to  go for a walk with your spouse. Call a friend to meet up for a chat. Spend some time with your kids. Don’t be afraid to take your spouse’s hand as you walk. Put your arm around your friend. Cuddle with your little ones. It may be exactly what you… and they… need to find peace.

Weeding Our Minds

flowers

In my last post I mentioned that I struggle with fear. Fear has ruled my life for a long time. And just when I think that I have it somewhat under control, it rears its ugly head again. It begins with a small thought that usually begins with the phrase “what if”. However, that small thought usually grows into a big mess and by the end of it, I have convinced myself that the worst possible scenario is going to happen and it leaves me frozen in fear.

I think our thought lives are similar to a garden. The true, beautiful, noble thoughts are like the flowers we are trying to grow in the garden. They make our lives beautiful. The negative thoughts, those “what if” questions that spiral out of control are like the weeds in the garden. They pop up and are small and may seem insignificant at first. We convince ourselves that we don’t really need to worry about them. But as every gardener knows, most weeds don’t remain small. If you don’t remove the weeds they will completely take over your garden and interfere with what you are trying to grow. The weeds will eventually become bigger and wilder than what you have planted. As the weeds grow bigger, they block the sunlight from getting to your flowers. The weeds will suck up the water and fertilizer meant for your flowers hindering their growth. Finally, as the weeds grow, their roots grow as well and can choke and kill your flowers.

Just like a gardener must remove the weeds from his garden on a regular basis, we must remove the negative thoughts in our lives. Those thoughts may seem small and insignificant at first, but if we don’t remove them they will destroy our thoughts that are true. In order to do this, we must learn to identify these negative and untrue thoughts and then put a stop to them. The Bible  gives us a guideline in Philippians 4:8 for doing this. This verse tells us what things we should think on in our lives. It states: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)

Whenever a thought enters your mind that starts to cause you to feel uneasy or fearful, you should ask yourself these questions: Is it true? Is it noble? Is it right? Is it pure? Is it lovely? Is it admirable? Is it excellent or praiseworthy? If the thought doesn’t fall into one of these categories, then pluck it from your mind like a weed from the garden. Don’t allow negative and untrue thoughts to cause fear in your life.

photo credit: Parvin ♣ via photopin – cc

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