by Annette Bridges. ©2008. All rights reserved.
Lately I’ve been singing a line from the 1965 hit single by The Animals — “We gotta get out of this place.” Except I’ve been singing “I” gotta get out. I found it interesting to learn that this was a popular song among soldiers during the Vietnam War and that this song is on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. A bit more research informed me that the verse is talking about the singer’s father, who at the end of his life had little to show for it.
So why has this verse been ringing in my head?
Perhaps I need a break from all the Presidential campaign rhetoric? Maybe I feel pushed to the edge with lots of unwanted family drama? Maybe I’m tired of worrying about stock market losses and what we’re going to do next? Or perhaps I, too, am frustrated and dismayed at how little I’ve accomplished with my life?
It seems I’m not alone. A new national poll suggests that only a quarter of Americans think things are going well in the country today, while the rest of those questioned are angry, scared and stressed out.
When I was growing up and my mom and I needed a break or wanted to chill out, we would head to the beach (about a thousand miles from our home) for some recoup time. There was something calming about listening to the ocean waves crash and enlightening about gazing at the endless ocean horizon. Problems that seemed huge and unsolvable became small and fixable as we soothed our feet in the infinite grains of cool sand.
I guess lately I’ve been feeling the desire to escape the way my mom and I used to do. Taking a day off or time out to gain perspective and restore confidence is often a good idea. Even Jesus had days when he took the time to be alone to pray and I suspect search for clarity and peace of mind.
We read in the Bible, “he went up into a mountain apart to pray” (Matthew 14:23) and another time when he told his disciples, “sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.” (Matthew 26:36) Jesus also gave us instruction about how to pray. He said, “when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father…” (Matthew 6:6)
This prayer tip has been helpful to me many times in my life, and I think it may be what is impelling my current desire to escape.
I don’t know that I’m going to be able to head to the beach this time because it is still about a thousand miles away from my home, and it is difficult for me to justify the gas expense of the drive. But the beach isn’t my only option for a “prayer closet.”
I have found it imperative to look for opportunities to be alone and quiet — wherever that takes me. This might be a candlelight bath, a walk in the country side, a drive to a nearby lake, or sometimes it is just shutting my office door and closing my eyes and pondering how much greater God’s love is than any problem I’m facing.
Have you read Psalms 23 lately?
I love the verse, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” It’s very comforting to know that no matter where I am or what I’m dealing with, God is going to give me a table — a chart, graph or plan — to face and conquer whatever battle I’m confronting.
There is a healing solution for any problem we face, my friends. Have no doubt about it — God only wants good for His children. And He is always with us, sustaining and strengthening us, and ready to give the guidance we need.
It now occurs to me that the place I’m longing to get out of is the mental chaos I’ve been living in. And I can change that residence right now. It doesn’t require a long drive or money or even a lot of time.
I only need to fill my thoughts with God’s assurances and promises to find the peace of mind I long for. And that spiritual perspective will also enable me to accept and support whoever my new President is, deal with the latest family drama as well as calm financial fears. And a spiritual perspective is already telling me that God’s plan and purpose for my life doesn’t end when I reach a certain age.
If you feel angry, scared or stressed out, you can get out of the mental chaos that is causing it. God has a table ready for you, too!