by Brittney Chan
“...when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
I open the classroom door and they typically go bouncing into the room like they’ve never been there before. They are full of wonder, looking for the next fun and exciting thing to experience. The children I work with every day are awesome and all navigating on their own, individual developmental journey. As a therapist, I get to help them reach their gross-motor milestones and make sure they have everything they need to be successful in a classroom setting.
Changing jobs earlier in the year brought on a whole new challenge of learning how children receive information from the world around them and process through it. I have gained a lot of knowledge about the different sensory systems we all have and how they can collide or collaborate. While some of the children I treat have behavioral issues that must be corrected, some of them have sensory processing deficits that need to be addressed before we can ever expect them to thrive in a school environment.
Different “sensory integration” techniques can be used in an effort to help their young minds calm down enough to efficiently organize the sensory input they’re getting throughout the day. So if I notice a kid is off-the-chain wild on a particular day, I might begin with a few minutes of brushing for the tactile system, swinging for the vestibular system or joint compressing for the proprioceptive system; because I know I can’t hope for a productive therapy session otherwise. These strategies help them find the sensations their bodies are seeking. It’s crazy how just a small amount of time spent doing one or two of these things will help ground the child and allow us to do the other activities I had planned for the day.
Before they walk into my room, these kids can feel overwhelmed by the toxic combination of sensory stimulants in their environment. Fast forward twenty years - exchange their sensory systems for our spiritual ones - and it seems like I run into some of the same issues my school kids do. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the noxious merging of emotional hardships, financial stresses and outright spiritual battles. If we don’t address them, we’re crazy to even hope for a productive life or healthy relationships with other people. Our souls are seeking a lasting peace - a place of serenity. Are you catching my drift here?
Just like how I choose to start with calming tactics for my kids, we have to begin with choosing to address our inner states of turmoil. How do we do this? The world offers a lot of ways to cope, but none of them give lasting peace. God promises us that His children can be transformed if we allow Him to renew our minds - or to change them for the better (Romans 12:2).
You know, that word transformed (“metamorphoō” in Greek) is only used to describe one other event in the Bible and that’s when Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John. It was an entire ordeal: a radiant glow was all around Him and His glory was revealed to His inner circle. Something truly miraculous was happening here. Those guys caught a glimpse of Divinity! God wants to transform us into someone who looks...acts...thinks...talks...more like Him. And He chooses to do that by changing our minds for the better. Jesus takes our crazy and gives us calm.
So, I dare you. Invite God into your mess. Leave the shame...the feelings of being unworthy...the regrets...the bitterness...and let Him be free to roam about throughout your life. There have been plenty of times when I believed He’d come back to tell me He couldn’t find anything redeemable - I was basically good for nothing. And maybe you’ve felt that, too. But I want to leave you with these words of encouragement and pray you hear the mindset of God:
“If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” Psalm 130:3-4
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…” John 15:16a
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7