A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the ‘half empty or half full’ question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
She continued: “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
Remember to put the glass down.
The author of this story is unknown to me, but the analogy has been circulating for a little while now.
It resonates with many people, I think, because we all have ‘glasses of water’ we’re carrying. Some of us, in fact, are clenching the cup so tight it’s about to smash with the pressure.
I know what it’s like to hold onto things and not let them go. If it was as simple as ‘letting it go’, we would – straight away. But it’s often complex, isn’t it? The healing process? The dilemmas we need to work through… The things we’re angry at God about… The questions left unanswered…
Some things we might let go of, easily – like maybe the colleague who said something thoughtless, the scrape on the car… the spilt milk. But other, more difficult issues, can take time.
I know full well the heaviness that comes from dwelling, analyzing, speculating, wondering why, and stressing.
But unless we come, eventually, to a point of surrender – we are paralysed. We feel victimized – unable to move forward. I know the fine line.
And sometimes our own devices aren’t enough. We need outside help.
Lord, thank you that you are our great Burden Bearer.
We can kneel before you with all our messy glasses of water and know full well you’ll carry them for us. You’ll never grow weary from them.
Help us to know how to ‘let it go’. To forgive those who’ve wronged us. To surrender the hurt. To leave in your hands the questions still unanswered.
You alone can carry us through the darkness. You alone can cleanse us and make us pure. You alone can bring clarity where there’s confusion, and reassure our troubled hearts.
Today, we surrender ALL to the One who is above all things…
In Jesus’ name.