In the winter, bodies of water sometimes form a thin layer of ice that looks solid, but we can recognize from the climate whether or not there has been enough cold weather for a solid foundation of ice to form before we step onto the ice. We know better than to step onto a pond, lake, or river or we’ll face hypothermia when we step through a thin layer of ice and plunge into the icy cold waters beneath. If we do so, we are chilled to the bone. The time it takes to recover from the pain of freezing is excruciatingly slow. The thawing out process is long and tedious, sometimes leaving physical and mental scar tissue behind. Hypothermia is a condition when the body’s core temperature drops below what is required for normal life-sustaining processes and functions to occur. When a person is exposed to constant extreme cold over a length of time, the body cannot replenish the heat needed to maintain its core temperature. The symptoms which typically occur even from mild hypothermia are shivering and mental confusion. Other symptoms of mild hypothermia may be high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, and narrowing of the large arteries that supply blood flow to the heart.
Unless there is sufficient medical equipment, slow rewarming is always recommended in cases of hypothermia, until a complete medical evaluation can be made. This would mean to dispose of any wet clothing and replace them with dry insulated clothing and a head covering, since much heat loss occurs through the head. If possible, the affected person should be placed in a warm environment to slowly warm up. If this is not possible, person to person heat exchange is the next method of slow warming; but in doing so, be gentle, with as little disruption or movement as possible to the person who has hypothermia. The reason for being gentle is that any aggressive or jarring motion could trigger irregular heartbeat (dysrhythmia) and can cause disruption of skin that has already been damaged from the exposure to the extreme elements.
In thinking of hypothermia and the effects it has on the body, I was relating to how it is similar to getting into a relationship with people who are destructive to our well-being. Many of us know from past experiences that entering into a relationship (even in friendship) with someone whom you must always tread on thin ice with in conversations and every interaction is like stepping onto a lake that isn’t solidly frozen over. We know eventually, we will break the surface and plunge through into the icy depths below.
Why then do we step into these relationships with people who aren’t solid? … People whose psyche is so fragile that they must be handled with kid gloves? When will we learn to recognize a solid foundation from an icy thin veneer? It is when we learn to listen to the holy spirit’s voice. When we hear his caution. When we hear it as sure as the person standing next to us. I know that I have had what I consider a ‘check’ about some people and still went headlong, caution to the wind, into relationships that I had a gut feeling not to enter. I later regretted not listening to that still small voice. We don’t get into these situations when we learn to listen.
However, there are times that we cannot avoid people who are fragile. Sometimes they are people we work with, people we minister to, and sometimes they are part of our family. How do we guide these relationships then? We must definitely become the co-pilot and allow the holy spirit to become our pilot, because we are in uncharted territory. We cannot communicate from a carnal nature (not that we should in other relationships either, don’t get me wrong) but this is where it is imperative that our actions must be led and directed totally by the holy spirit. We have to get out of the pilot’s seat and sit back and allow him to speak in and through us. We must be sure that every answer, every jot and tittle in our communication is directed by him. If it isn’t, it will end in disaster. Through prayer and reading of the word, we can effectively navigate these relationships. God will guide us. He can work through us with the holy spirit. We just have to be open to listen.
If you have been in a relationship where you’ve been wounded and weren’t listening to his guidance… If you are recovering from a hypothermic relationship, sometimes you are left in a state of confusion. You feel that you have been cut to the core and that your heart has been damaged beyond repair. You may feel that there isn’t anyone you can trust anymore or that the world is against you. Sometimes it feels that letting someone close again will only leave you cold and reeling from the icy depths you’ve experienced before. It might be scary to step back out on that ice and trust. So what is the process? It is a similar process to recovering from medical hypothermia.
Allow the gentleness of the holy spirit to warm and restart your heart. Destroy the old wet clothing (those words and events that have wounded you to the core). Replace them with the new clothing, new Life from the Bible. Find out what he says about you, who you are in Christ. Read Ephesians 1 to see some of his Truths and promises concerning you. Let Jesus be your head covering. Surround yourself with people who are strong in their faith, those who have God first in their lives.
By reading the word and searching your heart, you will know who you are, and gain confidence. Your thinking will become clear again (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV), your blood pressure (because he is our calm in the storm Matthew 8:23-27) will return to normal, praise him with every breath (Psalm 150:6 NLT), and you will breathe with ease. Wait on the Lord, be patient for his instruction and the blood flow to your heart will grow strong and healthy and you will be whole again (Psalm 27:14 KJV). You will be able to trust again, because his peace will envelope you and you will know that your core (inner being) is filled with him. Your inner peace and strength comes from God and not man. (John 14:26-27 NLT)
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:14-19 NLT (my emphases)
blue heart image: fanpop.com