Relaxation: What is it? Part 1

I’ve always found it difficult to relax. Sure, I can lay back and doze off, but taking a nap is both cheating and unfulfilling since I’m unconscious during it. I’ve never been one to meditate either, since my mind never stops moving. What’s bothersome is that the movement is aimless, not a useful kind of mental work. And so I worry that I’m missing out on relaxation—which only makes me tenser!

I know the Word of God says “be anxious for nothing” (Phillipians 4:6). I figure, then, that if God asks us to do something, it must be possible to carry it out. So there must be a way for me to relax, despite the ever turning gears in my head. Anxiety is really just spinning my wheels while the car goes nowhere.

What could this relaxation look like? There’s the classic image of God in Psalms 23 as our shepherd who provides all our needs. The psalm says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside quiet waters.” These are all a sheep really needs: grass to eat and fresh water to drink. But God does more. In verse 5 it reads:

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:5‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

This is an image of abundance. Now, we might have been taught God only will provide our needs, as in “Give us today our daily bread,” (Matt 6:11, Luke 11:3). But I think if we take that image literally, we miss the point of the rest of Scripture, like this Psalm, that shows God as generous. In this psalm, The cup overflows because it’s filled to the top and the host keeps pouring!

I believe God wants to give us more than just what we need. Just like any father, God wants his children to have good things. Whether this is through wealth, or long life, or great experiences. I think that’s a good reason for me to start relaxing then. Because if God wants our cups to overflow, He’ll see to it. No need to be anxious, indeed.

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