This one is for all the farm girls and boys out there. Y’all know that cattle are ruminators. Cows kill time lying around chewing on what they have already eaten but haven’t completely digested. Much more seriously, this one is also for the rest of us who spend lots of time brooding over what has been happening to us that we just can’t make sense of.
Reflecting leads to insight, repentance, and redirecting our lives. But we can’t do it perfectly, and sometimes dwelling on disappointments and failures paralyzes us. Ruminating feeds anxiety and depression. It drains our energy because it messes up our brain chemistry. Activity is the antidote. Activity jostles our endorphins out of hiding and we feel better. Doing life is a great distraction from worrying about life. Focusing on what we can accomplish keeps us from obsessing over where we have failed.
I would never want to make this sound easy because it isn’t. Telling someone who is bogged down to “buck up” is insensitive and gives them one more inadequacy to dwell on. And we can’t live a productive life in someone’s behalf. But we can show up when they need to get moving. We can bolster their confidence. We can suggest better things to think about. We can point them in the right direction. We can do some constructive prodding. “Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it” (Ezra 10:4).