I find ranch to be delightful. It’s creamy (and we’ve established that I love creamy goodness..HERE), it has a tasty flavor and goes with a plethora of foods. I’ve been enjoying ranch dip with my carrots this week and had homemade ranch on french fries this weekend. Homemade ranch is the B.E.S.T. I even started searching for a quick and easy homemade ranch recipe to include here but it doesn’t exist. There are recipes galore but they required more chopping than I was prepared to do and there is too much talk of fresh herbs…on that note…I’m out. Where was I?
While ranch dressing has many wonderous properties it also has one big problem: Ranch makes everything you put it on taste like, well, ranch. It does nothing to enhance the food it’s paired with, it only masks the taste of what you are eating. Don’t love broccoli? Drown it in ranch, you won’t know what green veggie you are ingesting. That chicken not so tasty? Give it a good dousing in ranch. Problem solved. That salad a little too lettucy for your taste? Slop some ranch on the top and you won’t know you’re eating salad at all.
The point being…if you don’t like what’s on your plate, then give it a covering of ranch and you’ll never know what you are eating.
Our lives are something like this. If we don’t like what has come our way we look for ways to “mask the flavor” if you will; anything not to feel the stress, worry, anxiety or fear that comes with a heaping helping of life. We try to cover the pain, medicate the symptoms and limp along rather than feel the feelings and deal with what is staring us in the face. And everyone does it to some extent or another. In Daring Greatly by Brene Brown she states…
I believe we all numb our feelings. We do not do it compulsively or chronically, which is addiction, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t numb our sense of vulnerability. And numbing vulnerability is especially debilitating because it doesn’t just deaden the pain of our difficult experiences; numbing vulnerability also dulls our experiences of love, joy, belonging, creativity, and empathy. We can’t selectively numb emotion.
Numbing…shutting down…taking the edge off comes in many forms. Some of them are surprising and none of them point to a life of RECEIVING God and all he gives. Here are a few examples:
Busyness – What better way to not feel emotions or deal with issues than to cram your life so full of stuff that you have absolutely zero margin for it. Busyness is the ultimate scapegoat for any and all situations we’d like to avoid these days. And not only is it acceptable…it’s glorified. You can stack your schedule so tight (even with do-gooder activities) that you have no time or margin left for anything and those around you will applaud you for being a productive American.
Alcohol/Prescription Drugs/Food (sugar..caffeine) -This one can be a little tricky. All of these used properly, in moderation, are enjoyable and not necessarily harmful. However, when any of them is used to dull our senses then it’s gone too far. If you eat because you are happy/sad/worried/angry…drink a couple glasses of wine each night just to relax…or maybe throw an Advil PM on top of that so you can get to sleep; you may want to think about that.
TV and Social Media - These two are rabbit holes to get lost down. Social media as you know is full of benefits and just as many traps. Comparison and time wasting are two that immediately come to mind.
The answer is easy although not so easily implemented. The Bible says in Romans 8:17
Step 1 – EXPECT and RECEIVE challenge and struggle. The Bible is clear that we will have trouble in this world. When we expect it, we prepare for it and the impact is lessened.
Step 2 - TAKE it to JESUS. We don’t have to numb because we have a savior who wants to help us carry our load. God is not out to destroy us but bring new life. We can only experience that as we are walking and living hand in hand with Him.
Step 3- WITH Jesus at your SIDE…BRAVELY walk into LIFE prepared to LIVE and FEEL all of it. The next verse in Romans says “ I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” The best is coming for God’s children. The Word clearly tells us that Jesus is at the right hand of God intervening for us…our sins have been covered…the Holy Spirit is within us leading and guiding us…we CAN walk in FULL confidence in this world because what is coming in the next far surpasses it.
A current favorite song of mine says...there is no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.
Christ didn’t wait until we were ____________ (fill in the blank) before He came to our aid. While we were sinners He rescued us. Let’s not wait until our life is ____________ (fill in the blank) to FULLY live in the width and breadth of it. Let’s RECEIVE all that He gives and Him and His help along with it. Christ doesn’t numb the pain..He bears you up and heals you. RECEIVE His help and healing.