The Royal Bank of Canada some time ago had an article in its monthly newsletter entitled, “Let’s Slow Down.”
It said in part: “This monthly letter does not set itself up as a counselor of mental and physical health, but it is attempting to break down a problem that bedevils every adult person in Canada,” and I might add, in the United States as well.
The letter continued: “We are victims of a mounting tension; we have difficulty relaxing. Our high-strung nervous systems are on a perpetual binge. Caught up as we are in the rush all day, every day, and far into the night, we are not living fully. We must remember what Carlyle called ‘the calm supremacy of the spirit over circumstances.’”
When a prominent banking institution sees a problem with our frantic lifestyle, it’s time we stop and pay attention. Unless we learn to deal with tension, our nerves will come apart.
In some department stores, and many drugstores, there are blood pressure machines. You can put a coin in the slot and get the “bad news.” When you can buy a reading on your blood pressure like you can gum out of a machine, it’s evident many people have a problem with tension.
A simple method of reducing tension is to practice the easy-does-it-attitude. Do everything more slowly, less hectically.
The famous baseball man, Branch Rickey, said that he would not use a player no matter how well he hits, fields, or runs if he is guilty of “overpressing.” To be a successful big-league baseball player it is necessary to have a flow of easy power through the thinking process and action.
The most effective way to hit a ball is by the easy method, where all the muscles are flexible and operating in correlated power. Try to kill it and you will slice it or maybe miss it altogether. This is true in baseball, golf, in every sport.
How can we learn the easy-does-it method? Begin each day by getting in tune with God. Every morning have a quiet period and think about the possibilities of the day with a positive attitude. Read a portion of Scripture and sit quietly, trusting God to give you energy and strength for the day.
This can become a fifteen-minute routine that will energize your life. It’s a daily thing with me; I can’t get along without it.
During a very busy time in His ministry, Jesus departed to a deserted place for a period of pray and meditation (Matthew 14:12). When we follow His example, we will get strength for living to help us deal with the tensions of life.
— Jerry Burnaman is pastor of Grays Prairie Missionary Baptist Church