Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Psalm 4:8--"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe" (NLT)

  "Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take."--New England Primer

Sleep...elusive sleep. That simple, wonderful restorer of life is becoming more and more rare in our society. As a result, more diseases are attacking more people of all ages. Bodies are unable to successfully perform and keep themselves in good health when such a large part of restorative health is missing.

Simply put, we surely need our sleep.

Kathy Gruver, PhD., writes in an article entitled "The Disruptive Nature of Chronic Stress" (Well Being Journal, May/June 2013) that we have become so stressed on a daily basis that this stress now never leaves us and creeps into our precious hours of sleep. When stress takes over our sleep, it takes over our dreams. Our dreams become more and more vivid and memorable. When we wake up feeling more tired than we did when we exhaustively fell into bed the night before, stress has won out and the body suffers further damage.

How did we get to this point?

Perhaps we got away from the simple, yet profound prayer taught to us as little kids.  "Now I lay me down to sleep...I pray the Lord my soul to keep...if I should die before I wake...I pray the Lord my soul to take".  Maybe if more of us started saying this prayer at night again, we would discover that the troubles of the world can stay with the world, allowing us to drift into blessed, restorative sleep. This little prayer said at night once we're ready to truly rest, is a true testament to our faith that all is truly in the Lord's hands.

So, tonight, when the lights are out and the day is done, take some long, deep breaths and try this little prayer. And remember, "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe".

Peace be with you.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The New Normal--Panic Mode--Part One: Panic Parenting

Ephesians 6:1--"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."
Proverbs 29:17--"Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart."

Anybody noticed lately that Chicken Little seems to be the role model of the day? Maybe a modified version, but it's a Chicken Little world out there for sure.

How so, you ask?

How about parenting? Tom and I were watching a vintage episode of "Leave It to Beaver" the other day. As usual, the Beave was in a fix...this time he was the only boy invited to an all-girls birthday party. Through the usual channels of story line and lack of information, Beave was reluctantly marched upstairs to don that blue suit and make a b-line to the party. And he did. Once there, however, the birthday girl's parents made arrangements for Beaver to hang out in the study with the birthday girl's dad. Beaver had a great afternoon looking over and pretending the shoot many of the guns in birthday girl's dad's collection. We had to laugh--not only at the actual show, which was funny--but also at the 21st century response of a parent to this happening. My guess is that about half the original guests would have been no-shows in current times, knowing that the parent kept guns in the house. The other half (including the Beave's parents) would have completely alienated birthday girl's friendship by now as a result of such as atrocity as allowing a child to "play with guns" in a home...and without Beaver's parent's permission. Who is this nut of a father?? Thus ensues the panic mode.

To us baby boomers who grew up and survived (quite nicely, thanks much) these environments, the guy isn't a nut at fact, he was just doing a very natural thing. He was being an adult and showing a child a collection. There were no  schemes of ill will, no lack of thought, no stupidity involved. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Adults became adults and stayed that way. Once they crossed that threshold, they no longer tried to go back and be kids again. As a result, the panic mode was somewhat unheard of...only a few folks ever slipped the phase of going from kid to adult. The adult assumed the responsibility. The kids, throughout their lives, were in safe training modes of becoming adults.

Actually, it was all quite clearly defined...unlike today.

Somewhere between there and here, things got loopy. Adults decided it was more fun just not to grow up so, instead of taking the path from kid to adult, they created a loop so they can  repeatedly--at will--loop around from adult to kid and back to adult. I don't know about you, but that sounds exhausting. It also creates panic mode. How does anyone have time to be a parent, a bestest buddy, a #1 fan, and a provider of not only basic necessities but also every desire? Pretty big plate, if you ask me.

And what happens when it's time for the next generation to step up to take over and take care of the older folks and the younger folks? They don't know how? Their every need and want has been attended to (sometimes before they even realized there was a want or need), and now they're in charge?

That's when we'll see a REAL panic mode, folks.

Let's face it...not all kids are going to grow up with the perfect lives--at last count about 0%. It's not our life's work to protect our kids 24/7/365. They have to grow up; they have to stumble; they have to make nasty mistakes that sometimes leave some pretty deep gashes. And, sadly, some kids will just pretty much blunder all throughout life. But parenting in panic mode isn't going to make their lives any less fact, it will more than likely get all the messier. 

We adults have a serious job in just being adults. We don't have the time to be our kid's friend...we're their parents. They have to know there are lines drawn and if those lines are crossed, there are consequences. We've blurred the lines between loving our kids and feeling the need to be their best buddy protector and it's darned confusing to those little guys...that's what their peers are for. And, let's face it--we're not very good at it. It keeps us in panic mode. And, when we're in panic mode, we're not in control. Birthday girl's dad was totally in control...he was the adult in the situation with a kid. Beaver had a neat experience holding a gun and pretending to shoot it. He didn't go out and directly try to hustle one off the street or steal one before he left birthday girl's house. There was an adult in control that was calling the shots, no pun intended.

Are we in panic mode, or are we the adults in control? Let's lose the panic button and see if things get a little better for everyone.