I’m not afraid of heights or rollercoasters, at least, I wasn’t until I rode The Scream at Six Flags with my oldest son. The operators strapped us into seats facing outward with our backs to a tall cylinder tower, and the countdown began. I looked over at my son, smiled, and asked if he was okay, and he nodded. Two seconds later, we shot upward at a force that could have broken the sound barrier.
My flight response kicked in at the very top of the ride, and I grabbed the security bar and tried to lift it off. Thank the Lord, the logical part of my brain revved back into gear and realized that trying to get off a ride at over 100 feet in the air wasn’t a great idea. I held on for dear life as we plummeted back down to the earth, but the ride wasn’t over. We shot up and plunged two more times.
In the second round, I focused on calming my racing heartbeat. By the third round, I would look around and enjoy the spectacular view of the park, the surrounding forested hills, and I think Boston way off in the distance. When the ride was over, I asked my son, whose face was pale, if he liked it. The macho man in him said, “It was awesome.” I asked him if he wanted to ride it again, but he stammered something to the effect of, we have other rides to try, and I thanked heaven he didn’t call my bluff.
How often do we get ourselves in over our heads? Life, especially around the holidays, can quickly become overwhelming. We can take on too much and become combative, frozen in fear, or try to flee and wind up in deeper trouble. As Christians, there’s a way to rise above the chaos. Colossians 3:1-2 states, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”
This past Sunday, I was a grumpy pants. I served both services at church because someone called in sick. I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to handle issues and questions people brought to me. And to top it off, the elevator was on the fritz again. I left with neither my head nor heart focused on heaven and already talked myself out of not going to the baptism service that evening, because I wanted to be an introvert and hide.
My husband didn’t take my “no” for an answer. We arrived late, due to me, and sat in the back row, but as I watched almost fifty people publicly proclaim that they wanted to follow Christ, the day’s irritation melted away. My whining and complaining fell away, and I was grateful to be there. Joy and peace pushed out the chaos and clutter in my heart and my perspective changed.
If we focus on God and heaven, we can rise above the fear and turmoil of this life. We can experience peace and joy even when politics or other controversial topics come up at the Thanksgiving table. When we understand that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, we can sit back and enjoy the view. With our gaze on heaven, it’s easier to extend grace and not only appreciate the people gathered around us but thank God for them.
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body, you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15
Blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving!
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