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Pointers along the way #280

Relaxation techniques
- Jacob Ninan

Psychologists have many things to tell us about how we ought to relax, and get out of the stress that we face at different parts of the day, and doctors tell us how we may develop psychosomatic problems if we neglect to get rid of stress. Relaxing physically is the first step towards relaxing mentally, and people use techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, etc. For mental relaxation people use music, visualising peaceful scenes, diversions, etc. But we Christians know the technique of spiritual relaxation also, don't we?

God says, "Be still, and know that I am Lord" (Ps.46:10 KJV). The Message Bible says, "Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything." This is the best way to relax! Instead of thinking that somehow we should try to manage things, and finding ourselves losing control, can we not shift our gaze towards God? He is Lord; He is above all. He is not only omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, He also knows exactly what to do. He is the one really in control. All things are subject to Him. No one can stand up to Him and nothing can thwart His plans. Gaze at Him in adoration and worship. All the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

How foolish we are to imagine that somehow we have to work it out! Yes, many times our problem may be that we don't do what we can do, because we are too lazy to do anything or unwilling to own our responsibility. Yes, there are things that go wrong because we have done wrong in the past or are doing things wrong now. Yes, there are things we ought to do.

But then many times we come across situations where things are way beyond us. There is nothing we can do. We can't understand what is going on, we don't know what to do, and we don't have the resources to do anything. It looks like we would be justified in giving up or getting discouraged. But then have we looked at God?

Perhaps we have shot prayers to God, hoping that He would dissolve the crisis into thin air. But have we relaxed first, sitting before Him, looking at His greatness and worshipping Him? Think about how big He is in every respect, and think about how much He loves us. Think about what all He has done for us and for others in the past. When we do that we recognise that we have the Almighty on our side, and our tensions disappear. Then we are able to listen to Him as He tells us what to do next.

God says that if we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will direct our paths (Pr.3:6). When we cast our burdens upon the Lord (Ps.55:22), our stress levels come down, and we also begin to see what is to be done. The worldly kind of peace can only come in the absence of problems; but there is really no escaping problems. We may keep them aside for a time, but they come back with greater force. The peace that God gives us can keep in in the midst of the problems, and also lead us on.