Stop World, I Want To Get Off!

Have you ever had those moments when everything seems too much and you wish you could take a time out like they do in sport?

What would you do in those time out moments?

I have felt overwhelmed with life a lot recently. So I started to work out what was going on for me.

I find that I get too caught up in stuff that I have no control over. I give it too much weight and that weight overburdens me.

Where do I turn at those moments? I would like to say that I always turn to the Lord. But I don’t always think of that first. Sometimes I bury myself in a book. Sometimes, I have a beer. Sometimes I find myself getting angry at everyone around me. Eventually, in desperation I reach out to the Lord, and take time out to focus inwardly as to why I’m overwhelmed and try to find peace. I read a great quote from Buddha which said:

“Peace comes from within, do not seek it without.”

Understanding that I’m not ultimately in control of everything is important. Looking inward for answers instead of looking outward for answers also reminds me of the serenity prayer:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change:
The courage to change the things that I can:
And the wisdom to know the difference.”

When I started to feel overwhelmed this week and was shouting, “Stop World, I want to get off!”, I took a moment and started by doing something that helped me clear the clutter from my mind. I cleaned up my office. This act helped ground me in the reality of my world for this moment.

It isn’t always possible to take a time out and dig deep for answers. Sometimes we need a distraction (some mindless, easy task like cleaning) to help get to a place where we can make the space to seek some answers.

However, there is no right answer for everyone. I try to step out of life for a moment, not to numb myself or disconnect (although for me I sometimes need to disconnect), but to be still and find the joy in the small things, to take one step at a time. To be grateful to the Lord knowing that he is always there with me, walking by my side.

I have found that I often feel overwhelmed because I am not happy with my life. I go through each day with the same mundane, tedious tasks that have to be done. I have to remind myself often that I chose this path and that no-one else is responsible. So to change it, I have to be the one to do so. So I seek the courage to change the things that I can…

I would love to hear your experiences of life becoming overwhelming and what you do in those moments. Feel free to share!

An Overview of the Field of Children’s Spirituality

Anne Glenn is a wife, parent, and graduate student working on an MA in Religious Studies with a focus on children’s spirituality at Bryn Athyn College in the US. This article was a paper she wrote for one of her psychology courses highlighting the importance of children’s spiritual development from a psychological perspective, with particular focus on Swedenborg’s high regard for children’s spiritual development in his writings.

Abstract
The field of Children’s Spirituality is a relatively young one, both from psychological and theological approaches, with the vast majority of research being done in the last 20 years. Children have historically been neglected or minimized by both psychologists and theologians, but slowly over the last century both religious and secular scholars have turned their attention to children and childhood. In recent years the research has begun to shift from studying children and their spiritual capacity only in terms of their potential future as adults to seeing children as complete spiritual beings as they are, and focusing on nurturing their spiritual development for their own sake.

This paper is an investigation into the significance of the field of children’s spirituality, including summary of the history of the field, the interactions between theology and psychology in this field and the implications of research into children’s spirituality on religious communities, particularly in the New Church.
Continue reading An Overview of the Field of Children’s Spirituality

Door


“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:20)”



“ Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ (Matthew 7:7,8)

I was reading these two quotes about doors and was struck by how, in one, The Lord is the One knocking, and calling with His voice, and we need to hear; while in the other, we are instructed to ask with our voices, seek, and knock to be admitted, even if we cannot at times even tell where the door is! The mind-picture below, came to me as I read.

Door.

My forehead rests against a surface.


(‘Behold I stand,’ says a Voice)

It is hard to remember how I came here.

(‘At the door’ )

My eyes stretch, wide in the darkness, I fear to move.
My blind hands quest across the expanse.

(‘’And knock…’ His voice is quiet).

I press my ear to catch the still, small sounds:
(‘As a hen gathereth’
‘Under my wings…’
‘Shelter’)

I can hear the words more strongly now;

(‘I have laid the foundation of the earth, and My hand spans the heavens.’
‘All power is Mine, in Heaven.
In Earth.
I open the eyes of the blind.


I hear…I deliver.’
His Voice, the thundering quiet of thawing spring.)

‘But how?’ My seeking hands find edges, still too feeble against a solid…door. ‘It is locked!’ I cry.

Like the graying of Dawn, His Word is whispered:

(‘Knock’).

Front Row or Back Seat?

Do you ever compare yourself to others? Presuming that you’re human, and that it is a human tendency to do so, you presumably have. Unfortunately it seems to be a natural weakness, a tendency we’re all inclined toward, until we overcome it.

I recently heard the story of one of my peers, recounting his life since we were in school together in eighth grade through to our mid-40s. He told of amazing accomplishments, helping people on small and large scales, locally and around the world. I was impressed! Inspired! Discouraged. After my initial reaction of genuine awe and appreciation, my hells latched onto that fleck of comparison, and I felt myself holding his marvellous good deeds on a pedestal and my puny, pathetic life in the gutter.

Once I’d processed those thoughts for a while, I managed to take a step back in an attempt to view our lives more objectively. For one thing, I only heard the good parts from my friend – he was giving a public inspirational talk, so of course he focussed on the inspirational parts. I don’t know what his home life is like, for example; he may be doing all this good stuff at the expense of the people closest to him. For another, it’s not my business to care how much more useful someone else is: I need to concern myself with myself, with my own usefulness and regeneration. If someone inspires me to be more useful than I was, great! But I’m not meant to judge others, I’m meant to evaluate whether I’m doing the best I can do. And anyway, life isn’t a contest or a race: it’s up to each of us to live our own lives according to the principles we hold dear. Continue reading Front Row or Back Seat?