Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster

Keeping the Faith - Stay Inside Your Own Hula-Hoop

ronniemcbrayer300 maroonKENTUCKY (8/25/13) - Here is an ironclad prescription for personal misery: Attempt to keep everything, every person, every detail, and every moving part of your life, family, job, health, or schedule in precise working order as you would have it, without modification. Demand total compliance without flexibility, adjustment, or concession and you can be assured of never having a minute of peace for the rest of your life.

Understandably, it is good to have a place for everything and everything in its place. But things don’t stay in place. That’s the nature of life, and that is why there is no peace in trying to master others or other things. There is nowhere to get off the hamster wheel; there’s no place to stop and say, “Mission Accomplished!”

So if we can’t learn to live with some level of acceptance of the chaotic reality around us, then life becomes a constant exercise in finding only those things, people, and situations that will comply with our will – and everything else will be winnowed away. Such an approach to living reduces life to a tiny space, space not much bigger than a coffin, I would say.

For the sake of easing our anxiety (mistakenly thinking that control will equate with peace), we risk driving away, alienating, and otherwise distancing ourselves from some of life and love’s greatest gifts and experiences. Obviously, peace must be accomplished some other way.

In the New Testament both Jesus and the Apostle Paul forbid Christians from worrying or being anxious. Neither Paul nor Jesus take a utopian view of worry, as in “don’t ever worry about anything under any conditions.” The focus is actually on self-obsession. It is a fidgeting anxiety created within us when things aren’t going our way, when things feel out of place, and we can’t control the circumstances around us.

This is a self-manufactured anxiety, created by our efforts to fix things, manage people, and create situations that match our unyielding standards. This is a kind of worry produced by overreaching. This is why every great spiritual tradition speaks of letting go, denying self, surrendering, and detaching. For when we outdo and outwit our capabilities, we are left with uneasiness, not contentment, the very opposite of what we seek.

This is vividly illustrated with a description I recently heard, a description new to me, but one I’m going to sear into my memory banks and no doubt pass on regularly. It’s originally from Jean McLendon, a long-time therapist in North Carolina, but a phrase now used in 12-step work, organizational management, and family counseling. I’d like to apply it to all facets of life – especially spirituality. The phrase is: “Stay inside your own hula-hoop.”

McLendon suggests that we are all working through life with a hula-hoop; round and round it goes, representing our life’s labor. But we are certain to let it fall to the ground when we attempt to leave our space and hula-hoop for someone else’s.

We see their ring slip off the hips and fall to the ground. We want to fix it, so we go intervene. Someone else is hula-hooping far too fast, so we go to slow them down. Another person has her hoop up dangling around her head – completely unacceptable – so we attempt to put it in its proper place.

What happens? McLendon says, “You can't hula someone else's hoop without messing up your own efforts. You can observe, advise, cheer, and offer support, but as soon as you try to do it for someone else, you get into trouble yourself.”

This is much more than “minding our own business,” though that is a helpful, albeit rarely followed piece of advice in its own right. This is actually a healthier, far more peaceful way to live. After all, peace is not accomplished by the proper arrangement of our circumstances, as if we could impose our personal will on the people and things in our orbit. Peace is a path we follow, a discipline we practice, and a restful space we maintain – inside our own hula-hoop.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.
 

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

button coupons
button classifieds

In Other News...

KSP Post 16 Holiday Enforcement

HENDERSON, Ky. (12/24/14) — As the Holiday's near, the Kentucky State Police will be in full force to ensure the safety… Read More

Henderson Falls to Owensboro in OT

HENDERSON, Ky. (12/23/14) — Junior forward Stewart Currie scored a game-high 21 points to help Daviess County edge… Read More

Most Read This Week

December 19, 2014 5805

Armstrong Mine to Layoff 39 by End of Day

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
December 19, 2014 5099

Dawson Springs Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Detective Sean McCance
December 19, 2014 4636

Woman Flown to St. Mary's after Two-Car Collision

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 18, 2014 4520

Cat Scratching over Dog Ownership Escalates

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
December 19, 2014 3875

Vehicle Fire Causes Traffic Back-Up on Pennyrile

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 19, 2014 3584

Vehicle Explodes into Flames on Pride Avenue

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gwen Smith
December 23, 2014 3546

Couple's Alleged Dispute over Blanket Leads to…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 24, 2014 3532

Christmas Eve Bloody Brawl Erupts on Dulin Street

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 23, 2014 3069

Alleged Theft at Walmart Sends Two to Jail

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 22, 2014 2845

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 22, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department

Stories Trending Today

December 23, 2014 3546

Couple's Alleged Dispute over Blanket Leads to…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 24, 2014 3532

Christmas Eve Bloody Brawl Erupts on Dulin Street

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 23, 2014 3069

Alleged Theft at Walmart Sends Two to Jail

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 23, 2014 2401

Disturbance Results in Vehicle, Foot Pursuit,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer Tyler Russell
December 23, 2014 2053

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Karen McKnight
December 23, 2014 1870

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 23, 2014

in General News For All Sites by Madisonville Police Department
December 22, 2014 1635

Construction Projects Suspended to Ease Holiday…

in Top News For All Sites by Lisa Tolliver
December 23, 2014 1474

UPDATE - KSP Issues 'Golden Alert' for Missing…

in General News For All Sites by Trooper Corey King
December 23, 2014 1432

'Santa Land Diaries' a Huge Hit at Palace

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 23, 2014 1317

Mustangs Drop Tournament Opener to Calloway County

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Steve LeMaster

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss