Do you ever feel as is your life is claustrophobic? Circumstances are such that you feel as if the walls are closing in on you and the way forward is getting smaller and harder to traverse?
I do not like small spaces. I was never fond of caves or exploring tight places. Even watching a movie sequence (which I know is not real) of a character stumbling into a small tunnel or groping the sides of a darkened cavern gives me the heebie jeebies.
I find that I do not like small emotional spaces either. I like the freedom and the space of self-determination: to determine my emotional needs and call of action, to determine my friends and support network, my goals and my overall plans for the day.
Sometimes circumstances are such that we will be in a claustrophobic place. The walls are closing in on us- perhaps through difficulties such as financial, relational, or physical hardships. Whether the problems are part of our own doing or they have just happened (called life), it doesn't matter. Our anxiety that we cannot take a deep breath and feel freedom are the same nonetheless.
When I feel emotionally claustrophobic I feel that I do not have the strength to continue. I become paralyzed with all the pressures of what to do next. I am even paralyzed to ask for help.
This morning I was thinking of two Bible stories that spoke to me about feeling overwhelmed and life closing in on me. They are two leadership management stories in the Old Testament. Quite early on Moses call as leader, his father-in-law Jethro, noticed how overworked Moses was. He was getting worn out trying to meet the needs of the population. In this circumstance Jethro advises Moses to delegate some authority so that the work would be spread out.
In the other case, part of the military strategy was that when Moses hands were raised over a battle the Israelites had success. When his arms were lowered then they did not. As one can imagine, Moses arms got pretty tired and he physically couldn't keep them up. At that point he had to have others prop up his arms so that success could happen.
Two valuable lessons for me. Sometimes we have to delegate some of our responsibilities in order to work our way through a tight spot. Kind of like lessening our backpacks or removing extra clothing that might impede the process of wiggling and pushing through the opening in the cave.
Sometimes we have to ask for support. Not that the others can do what you are doing, but they can uplift you when you are weary. Kind of like being offered water, food, a light, a rope or words of encouragement to sustain and support you as you traverse through the tight spot designed for one.
What about you? Are you claustrophobic? How do you handle tight places? Do you know of someone who is going through a tight spot? Can you be one to whom they delegate or can you hold up their arms?