Friends, can we talk about those days when we sincerely wonder if we’re falling off the wagon?
I remember the day all the mean words people at the grocery store said about all the kids I had born into this world finally hit me different. I had never liked it but it had rolled off before. But this day — this day it all hit a spot in me that was already raw, I was exhausted, I felt so alone. I was alone. Jay worked and lived in a different state. That day, that season, left me sincerely wondering if I was going to run out of the house in my pajamas. I was afraid.
I didn’t know how to evaluate all of the things that were happening in my body at that time, the lack of health on multiple levels. I was in the middle of it, and everything just felt wrong.
But that wasn’t the day I faced it. Not really. That day came almost a year later.
I ran to my closet, overwhelmed, grabbing a pillow on the way. I screamed. And I couldn’t even understand why. I didn’t know how to know why. And, I was afraid.
I called my dad. I told him I needed help knowing how to know? He told me some things that have shaped and changed my life from that day forward. We talked a long time and I wish I could tell you all of it, because every word helped, but I honestly only remember one thing.
Dad told me I didn’t need to worry or wonder if I was going crazy because I was needing to let out steam, but rather that it should concern me when I was not letting it out.
We talked for a long time, but I mostly remember the visual he spoke of — the way a tankless water heater has a pressure relief valve, must have a pressure relief valve. He explained this was a release to protect the home from an explosion. I was that water heater and my scream and fears releasing were the pressure relief valve opening, protecting… He said it was good.
Good? Really? I could barely wrap my mind around that possibility. But I wanted to. This was so other than what I expected him to say. I thought maybe I was finally giving up my pride and admitting what even the strangers at the grocery store knew before I did. I didn’t understand the difficulty whereby fruit is born into this world.
He didn’t just say I had not lost it though, he even went so far as to tell me I was normal. I had needs, and needs are important. Of course I would have agreed to those words, even before that day. But that day, I heard those words.
Beyond knowledge, those words sunk deep into my spirit the way a key fits right into a lock. It broke me free. Pride was in the mix for sure, but not an unwillingness to believe mean people rather it was an unwillingness to be kind to myself. I had the idea that humility meant NOT thinking of yourself.
Please trust me when I tell you that as long as we think that way it is always going to mean not taking care of ourselves. That is so wrong, so warped. I once heard someone say humility is not thinking less of yourself it’s thinking of yourself less.
It is often easy to miss that a lot of our rejection of help, asking for help, even just to talk, is often more about us than it is others. As usual, ask me how I know. Yet, rebirth and renewal of our minds, metamorphosis, is real.
The years since have welcomed me into a garden I think I knew existed, but had no idea how to get to, except for try-hard ideas that never worked. In this garden I’ve wrestled plenty in the dirt. But I’ve also been in wide-eyed wonder how the weeds grow less after I learned to let my Gardener pull them from the root more consistently! Haha! When you don’t know these things, it. is. amazing. to experience.
Love had woke me from the sleepy voices of mean people…including myself. I was so harsh with myself. I began to recognize the voice of love was entirely different. This voice welcomed me warmly if I needed to scream. And taught me the way to see myself with kindness…which actually took so much of my scream away.
It taught me to take salt baths, and to let every bath be a baptism, a rebirth. The voice of love, the Savior is.
I am currently going through my book of prayers, Pray, Like a Woman in Labor, with a group of friends, one line of the prayer Yeshua, Jesus, taught his disciples a week. This past week we have been looking at the words, “holy be your name”.
I want to tell you something that has occurred to me while contemplating these words but I need to tell you a short story first.
My family and I have been exploring orchards, vineyards, and field upon fields ripe for harvest here in Washington and Oregon. Then one day we came home and some of the children found a ready-to-harvest peach tree, a dripping with juice plum tree, AND a cherry tree. These were all in addition to the abundant blackberry bushes! This was real-life finding hidden treasure.
This stirred inside me such a generous, pregnant, picture. I reached for words to express it and found these: Knowing ourselves through being known, finding ourselves through first being lost…THESE are only some of the unexpected treasures of coming near to a God who calls Himself holy, who calls us to be holy.
We often run so far away, afraid, searching. All the while, new joy waits to wash over us as we come home, lean back, draw close and learn from Jesus how to pray the way he taught his disciples to pray. Holy is your name – Your essence, Your presence, so other-than what we know, so home.
His holiness is for our goodness. It is not so far off as it is often easy to feel it is. As we pray with our words, our minds can instruct us. To name something with our minds, with our words, is to say what its essence is. This is good. Yet to sanctify God’s name, to honor Him as holy is also to go beyond our words and our minds. It is something we can do with our whole bodies.
You know where I think a great place to start is? In my wonderful dad’s words — our pressure relief valves! No worries, I’m not inviting you to a screaming session…I mean, unless you need to, then feel free.
Today, I want to tell you about one simple tool I’ve learned along the way, a practical help for releasing stress before we feel like it is releasing us from “the wagon”:
Body Scanning. Do you know what this is? It’s simple, not time consuming, and help-full. And, it’s a way to pray not just with our minds, but with our whole bodies. It is a way to honor our Creator and in turn it honors us. His goal for our own “holiness”, to grow more like Him, is for our wholeness. Wild love.
Here we go:
- Begin by lying on the floor, or a mat, or your bed.
- Focus your attention on the top of your head and then move your attention down your body, one area at a time.
- As you bring your attention to each part of your body, scan it with your mind and evaluate if you are holding tension/ stress in that part of your body.
- If you are holding stress take a deep belly breath, send it to that wonderful member that serves you everyday and release it.
- Go to the next part of your body.
- Repeat until you have reached the bottom of your feet.
This doesn’t need to take longer than 3 or 5 minutes, but you can also spend longer.
I knew I held much of my stress in my shoulders and upper back, but I was surprised to learn where else I held it as I got to know myself better through the healing process of body scanning. And that is just the beginning of the blessings this practice can cause to flourish in our lives! Like one of my children said this week, “I feel like when I come close to God, I come close to myself too.”
Here’s the day two prayer, from Pray, Like a Woman in Labor: Holy is Your Name
Lord, Your name is holy, holy, holy.
Your are completely other than.
Every path You lead us on is good and usable for Your purposes in life. We need, need, need, Your help to have that perspective when we are in the midst of life.
Forgive us for not praising You in hardship and challenges. Forgive us for striving faithlessly. We want our mind, heart, and will to always turn toward You in earnest and faithful perseverance, seeking You to fill in our gaps.
Because You are holy, we need not fear our lack and be wrapped within ourself, rather we need only revere You, and place our eyes on You — on who You have shown Yourself to be. Holy is Your name.
We offer You our best and we release. We choose to be still. We choose to trust You today, to be the Teacher and Protector of our children and of us.
We know You are the only One who can bring peace and true success. We turn our eyes upon You and we thank You because You are good.
We submit and set aside our lives and the lives entrusted to us, to You, because You are holy God, loving and seeing so much more than we can.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
The Gardener of our souls is inviting each of us to a feast, a table prepared, every single day. I am running to the table, with you today — knowing this is good for me, and for you, and it is bigger than us as well. Every human being is created in the image of God. When once we understand our own image we begin to understand others. A society that recognizes this is a society that is just, moral, compassionate, and kind.
I’m not kidding when I ask you to take three minutes to body scan today as your part in healing our world. Every small step will get us there. Small steps are the only way we’ll get there. Your wholeness matters, please be gentle with yourself.
P.S. Send me a note or comment if body scanning is new to you and you try it out. Let me know how it goes. Also, please share this with anyone who might be needing a pressure valve relief reminder. As I understand it, we all need a check-up on those at least once a year.
Also, as I work on my new book, and begin a new school year, my aim will be to write a new post here once a month. That’s a little less often, but enough to keep in touch. I appreciate you all for traveling with me.
If you haven’t already subscribed, I’d love it if you did. I’ll send you my poem, Bound by Light, to say welcome and thank you. My subscribers will be the first to hear of book progress.
All photos copyright Raynna Myers 2018
I do a small nody scan pretty often. Often in the car, because often that is where I feel the tension creep in…
But I am certainly guilty of the pride of neglect.
“We need not fear our lack… we offer You our best and just release…”
So glad Larissa. Yes, exactly, amen.
I was really blessed by this Raynna! This is spirit filled insight.
Janie! Hello beautiful! I’m so grateful, thank you for writing and letting me know. And for being here.
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I have never heard of body scanning. How does it fit in, biblically?
Tankless water heater. My pressure relief valve has taken form in running away recently (the Lord told me to go back and I did) and most usually comes out in verbage (fits of rage being a deed of the flesh)…which further confirms that my heart is sick…my only hope is that the Great Physician will not tire of me coming to Him…and I must remind myself that He wants me to come to Him. He doesn’t want me to run and hide.
Joseph was reading from Hosea, chapter 5 last night…it stood out to me that the Lord withdrew from Israel/Ephraim when they came to him in pretense…”I can do this”. “I got this”. “Here’s MY sacrifice”. He returned when they sought Him in their distress. Reminds me of “Apart from Me you can do nothing”. I wrestle with this. I KNOW I am weak! I KNOW, if God does not restrain my passions, my flesh will willingly walk to hell. I certainly do not want to go to hell. No-one in their right mind does. But what I desire is to be motivated by love and not fear. I hate fear. I KNOW (intellectually, through reading the Scriptures)…and I have had experiences of feeling KNOWN and safe…but then I struggle to believe what I just clearly experienced in a heart-knowing sort-of-way. I don’t want to KNOW (head), I want to know (heart). And I want off of this wretched “He loves me-He loves me not-He loves me-He loves me not…” train.
You are blessed to have a Dad who is spiritually alive and gentle and knows how to lead. I am thankful with you for that blessing.
I often feel crazy. Your story that God is unfolding encourages me.
It encourages me that “the one who fears has not been perfected in love”…I fear. But I am not bound to stay in fear. It can be broken. I can be “perfected” in love. The Perfect One must perfect me. And He is able to – being the Author and Perfector of my faith and anyone else’s.
So, I must remember (and be reminded) — not to put my faith in my flesh, but in God, who will uphold me. I can’t overcome my own flesh, but God can teach me how.
I don’t want to transform myself…I want to be transformed. I’m not sure that has happened yet.
I do not understand what is going on.
I was searching devotionals on the Bible app in the middle of the night. Woke up this morning and chose one. Listened to it cautiously. I feel a pain in my chest (not physical. an emotional ache). And my shoulders started getting tense…and then I hear this word: scan of your body. What?! I. Had. NEVER. Heard. Of. That. Until. I. Read. This. Post. Yesterday.
And quite frankly, I don’t know what to make of it all. I gave birth and my heart was wandering the streets, saying “I must learn to pray like a woman in labor”…then I stumbled across your book through a comment you made about someone’s living room. I don’t know what to make of it all.
God may not be done with me yet. I’m crying. I don’t know why. And now I’m goin to go make french toast for my family. I just wanted to share that. I still do not understand how body scanning fits in biblically.
What Is God Doing In You? • Devotional