Blog #16 The Barometer
We all have a barometer in our lives. That thing that determines whether our day is happy or sad, peaceful or turbulent, comical or frustrating. It is the filter through which we handle stress and our interactions with others. We tell ourselves if this one thing/issue is good then we are good. It can set the tone or change the direction of our day in a flash.
It has a lot of power over us.
Mine is my health. No surprise if you know me or have been reading my blogs. This area tends to leak into my writing a lot. I am ridiculously in tune with my body… to a fault. But like it or not, I can’t turn it off, so the slightest ache, pain or weird feeling easily tips the needle.
But oh, how I long to react differently. My husband always takes his health in stride with a simple that’s-a-bummer-what-an-inconvenience attitude. But for me, either the sky is falling or the world stops turning for a bit. And then a series of obsessive thoughts kicks in. It is super fun to live in my brain.
There are a lot of mood measuring sticks out there. Maybe it is sticking to your diet or not losing your temper. An expectation in a relationship or the avoidance of a sin. What is that thing in your life that when it happens your emotional state is instantly altered?
Here’s the problem with all barometers (in my humble opinion): They provide a false sense of security. We use them to set expectations for what will determine our happiness. The problem with that is we are constantly disappointed. Why? Because our expectations tend to err on the side of perfection. The body needs to feel great from head to toe. Zero cheating on the diet, no hint of anger in our tones, all relationships meeting our expectations and complete avoidance of sin.
But who maintains that?!?
Thus, the barometer gets out of whack. Joy is lost. Emotions sour.
Now, an easy solution would be to change your barometer. I could make a churchy suggestion that says make Jesus your barometer. But what does that really mean and how do you actually do it? I don’t know. I think I’ve tried to do it, but as soon as my back aches I realize my Jesus barometer is just my old barometer painted a new color.
The real solution is to get rid of the barometer all together. I don’t want any one thing in my life to determine my joy. Because there is nothing in life that won’t disappoint.
In the midst of any aches, pains, anger or disappointments He is there saying, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” John 14:27
What does that tell me?
Nothing in this world can provide the kind of peace that He can give.
When we set our own barometers in life, we end up praying in line with our expectations. We ask Jesus just to keep the needle steady. But in doing that we are putting our hope, joy, and peace in an unwavering needle. Instead, we need to receive our days with open hands knowing when we lack hope, joy or peace we know where to turn. A symbolic chunk of metal isn’t going to help us. All it does is say, “Hey! The needle has moved. Your peace is gone.”
Want to join me in throwing away your barometer? I’m sure it will take a few attempts. Old habits die hard. But in doing so, i think we will open ourselves up to finding joy and peace where we least expect it.
Maybe even where we thought it wasn’t possible.
What is your barometer? Ask God to help you lay it down and to find your peace in Him.
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