We are in the middle of another wonderful summer. But this year temperatures have soared to record highs throughout the country, and a common opinion is that hot days can test our tempers.
“Many people feel a little hotheaded when the mercury rises”, says Nancy Molitor, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral science at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Everyone’s fuse is going to be a little bit shorter,” she avers.
Accepting this as an unavoidable condition of our nature isn’t necessarily useful in guiding our actions, however, and responding in the “heat of the moment” often causes us to react in a way we later regret. It has been my experience that a heated reaction need not be the outcome. I have often found that considering a spiritual perspective – with God, good, as the only legitimate cause and effect in our lives – can reverse the so-called effects of nature.
It has to do with questioning and redefining who we truly are. Are we just a volatile bundle of emotions, requiring a degree of self-will in order to make a concerted effort to change what we feel is in our nature to do? Or do we have a more secure foundation for remaining calm, genuinely happy and composed – even when the mercury soars?
The answer to that last question was a key point when I found myself feeling angry and frustrated recently while running errands on a very hot day. Things had escalated to a heated disagreement about a parking space with another driver. Becoming embroiled in such an altercation was not characteristic of my usual self! My heart was racing and the altercation made me feel physically ill.
Once I was home, I took some quiet time to pray for a clearer idea of my true self. I reasoned that, as stated in Genesis 1:26,27, I was an expression of one divine, good Creator, God. As such, I reflected the nature of this Creator, in expressing genuine calm and self-control. I saw that the good in my God-given nature, my true self, enables me to know the loving response to a situation or incident instead of an emotionally charged reaction. Biblical examples of Jesus unaffected by the elements – calming the winds and waves – gave me an insight that nature’s elements were not meant to be disruptive to the peacefulness and harmony of our lives. By the end of the evening, I was well again and filled with a calm brought on by a feeling of closeness to God’s love for me that I had not felt in many, many days.
A loved hymn asks God to “Breathe through the pulses of desire / Thy coolness and Thy balm.”
Turning to Him in prayer, we can choose to let go of human emotions sparked by weather or any other factor, and instead respond out of the refreshing recognition of everyone’s true spiritual identity or God-like nature–a recognition that transforms and heals. This is how we ’put off . . . the old man . . . and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.’ (Ephesians 4:22,24)
This article can be read in Metroland Media news sites throughout Ontario. Read here in Mississauga News.