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.

3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16
button coupons
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16
button classifieds

In Other News...

Greenville Mayor Honored during Final Council Meeting of Year; New Mayor Sworn-In

GREENVILLE, Ky. (12/20/14) — Greenville City Council Chambers were packed with guests Thursday night, Dec. 18 as it… Read More

MCHS Faculty Nominate Students, Teachers That Exemplify School Mission

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. (12/12/14) — Recently MCHS faculty nominated students and teachers that exemplify the… Read More
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

December 16, 2014 10548

Coal Miner Fatally Injured in Underground Mining…

in Top News For All Sites by Dick Brown
December 17, 2014 7468

Elderly Couple Found Shot to Death in Muhlenberg

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 17, 2014 6744

Three Men Charged with Burglary

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 15, 2014 5074

Hopkins County Woman Charged Second Time in Two…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
December 15, 2014 4532

Woman Leads Police on High-Speed Chase in Stolen…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police
December 19, 2014 4270

Dawson Springs Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Detective Sean McCance
December 19, 2014 4065

Armstrong Mine to Layoff 39 by End of Day

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
December 18, 2014 4062

Cat Scratching over Dog Ownership Escalates

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
December 19, 2014 3857

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

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 16, 2014 3685

Highway Crews Pre-Treating Roadways for Potential…

in Hopkins News by Keith Todd

Stories Trending Today

December 19, 2014 3164

Vehicle Fire Causes Traffic Back-Up on Pennyrile

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 19, 2014 1187

Greenville Mayor Honored during Final Council…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
December 20, 2014 992

KET’s Kentucky Life Segment to Feature Old…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 20, 2014 863

New Trial Sites Added for U of L's Brown Cancer…

in General News For All Sites by Health Sciences News
December 20, 2014 783

Farmers' Markets, Vendors; Sign Up for Free…

in General News For All Sites by Ted Sloan
December 20, 2014 777

'When the Universe Was Young' Opens Jan. 4 at…

in General News For All Sites by WKU News
December 20, 2014 776

WKU Public Affairs Claims 17 Statewide Awards

in General News For All Sites by WKU News
December 20, 2014 773

Happenings and Meetings - Hopkins County

in Hopkins News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
December 20, 2014 764

Law Enforcement Officers, Agencies Honored for…

in General News For All Sites by Erin Eggen
December 20, 2014 698

City of Madisonville Holiday Schedule

in Hopkins News by Leslie Curneal

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