March 04

Being Relaxed

A while back, I decided to treat myself to one of those salt flotation spas. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you spend an hour in a tub full of room-temperature water that is salty enough to keep you afloat. The room is darkened and basically, you just lay there, and because you are sensory-deprived, this therapy is supposed to help you unwind. The website says, “Your senses get a break from the large amount of input that we experience in everyday life” which may result in “…relief from the stresses of everyday life, improved creativity and athletic performance….” Who wouldn’t want that!? So, I gave it a try.

And it was wonderful. I think. You see, I was so busy trying to “do it right” that I almost ruined it. I kept thinking, “Am I in the right position? Wait, am I sure I’ve got all my muscles relaxed? Why can’t I relax all my muscles? Aren’t I supposed to be getting some kind of epiphany? I heard people sometimes get epiphanies in these things. What if this is a waste of money? I need to stop thinking. How do I stop thinking? Stop thinking!!!”

You get the picture. I had all these expectations—even though I told myself to go in without any—and I just couldn’t help it. Instead of relaxing in the embrace of the water and enjoying a state of “being,” I couldn’t quit “doing.” I felt it was somehow up to me to make this experience worthwhile instead of just trusting that it would work. All was in place, I just had to trust the process.

I tend to do that. I have trouble just “being.” The same thing happens with grace. To experience it correctly, I think I must be “doing,” “earning,” “gaining.” Why can’t I just relax in the arms of Jesus and let his love wash over me and keep me afloat? I think it is a human tendency to make grace something we must earn; something that is up to us. “Am I doing it right? What if I’m not? Is God disappointed in me? What about other people? Are they experiencing grace? How are they experiencing it? Should I be doing more?”

Remember, we don’t have to “do” anything because Christ already has done it. Rely on God; obey him to the best you can, apologize when you screw up; and then relax, knowing that you are forgiven and free.

It’s a good thing the salt spa was for an hour. I think I finally relaxed for the last 15 minutes and it was great. But I would like to try again. I’m sure I can do better next time. Oh, wait a minute. I don’t have to “do” anything!

Being Human connection: Something I learned from Dr. Timothy Kellor: Rely on God, obey him as best we can, relax in his grace and expect great things.

Featured art: just playing around with color.