Our technological culture has transitioned from turning dials to pushing buttons to touchscreens to voice activation during my lifetime. When I think of dialing down, I think of the old technology for turning down the volume or turning down the heat. There is a tendency in life for the sound of the noise around us to amp up and for contrary circumstances to heat up. In those instances, we need to be adept at dialing down the noise and the heat.
For the sake of our sanity and wellbeing, we learn to dial down.
It seems that recently the noise and the heat have been dialed up exponentially, especially in light of the global SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2). There are increasing reports of mental health issues and vocational burn-outs related to this pandemic. This quote is from one of the weekly CEO emails I receive.
“At the height of the pandemic last year, Acceleration Partners, like many organizations, had employees who were extremely stressed and needed support from their managers and our culture team. During some of the most difficult days, I even heard stories of employees who lost their tempers and lashed out at the people trying to help them, likely from a place of fear or exhaustion.”
Robert Glazer “Upward Compassion” – 11/19/21
There is a coincidental timing of this pandemic with my significant physical challenges. This convergence has made this season one of the toughest I have faced in my three-score and ten years on this planet. I need to be a counselor, advocate, and encourager to myself. One of the tools for soul health I rely on is writing. I express some of my journaling in my blogs. I have composed blogs about stress and chronic pain management during this season. Management tools include meaningful relationships, meditation, mindfulness, movement, and music. Here are the links to those articles:
Dialing down is a practice that I employed in my life even before I had the words for it. As a polio survivor, I face challenges related to physical strength and endurance. When the body is tired the soul becomes fatigued. It is no coincidence that a significant focus of my study and teaching has been the topic of sabbath rest. I recently reviewed a PowerPoint presentation I once composed entitled “Dial Down.” One of the slides featured this script:
WHEN YOU ARE:
ACTING UP – AMPED UP – BANGED UP – BASHED UP – BELLY UP – BEAT UP – BLOWN UP – BOUND UP – BOTCHED UP – BURNED UP – CHEWED UP – CHOKED UP – FED UP – FOULED UP – FROZE UP – GIVEN UP – GOOFED UP – HARD UP – HELD UP – KEYED UP – LAID UP – LOCKED UP – MESSED UP – MIXED UP – MUDDLED UP – RILED UP – SCREWED UP – SHAKEN UP – SHOOK UP – SLIPPED UP – SLOWED UP – SMASHED UP – STEAMED UP – SWALLOWED UP – TIED UP – TORE UP – WASHED UP – WORKED UP – WOUND UP . . .
One of my “go-to” scriptures in seasons of stress is Isaiah 30:15.
“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Drawing on the meaning of the Hebrew words in this verse, my paraphrase would be, “Return to a familiar place of rest, refuge, safety, and security. Settle there and be still. In doing so, you will recover your sense of wellbeing and regain the strength of a victorious warrior.”
I have John Wimber (founder of the Vineyard Church) to thank for the terminology “dial down.” As much as Wimber enjoyed “doing-the-stuff’ (his term for hands-on ministry in the Holy Spirit), he focused on training the Body of Christ for the work of ministry.
“During the time of prayer for healing, I encourage people to ‘dial down,’ that is, to relax and resist becoming emotionally worked up. Stirred-up emotions rarely aid the healing process and usually impede learning about how to pray for the sick. So I try to create an atmosphere that is clinical and rational . . . while at the same time it is powerful and spiritually sensitive. Of course, emotional expression is a natural by-product of divine healing and not a bad response. My point is that artificially creating an emotionally charged atmosphere militates against divine healing and especially undermines training others to pray for the sick.”
Jesus is a model of one who practiced dialing down. Several of His behaviors are evidence of His ability to dial down.
Jesus prayed as a means for dialing down.
“And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.” (Matthew 14:23, NKJV)
“And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.” (Mark 6:46, NKJV)
“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12, NKJV)
Prayer amid stress is not passive. Prayer involves casting.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22, NKJV)
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6–7, NKJV)
Jesus set relational boundaries. He tuned the focus of His equipping ministry to twelve men. Others chose Jesus and to follow Him during His time on earth, but Jesus chose the twelve. Within that select group of twelve, He fine-tuned his focus to an inner circle of trusted friends. That inner circle of trusted friends included Peter and the “Sons of Thunder,” James, and John. (Mark 3:17) These men were first on Matthew’s list of the twelve disciples. (Matthew 10:2)
Jesus invited these few blossoming apostles to attend some very significant events.
- His Transfiguration:
“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;” (Matthew 17:1, NKJV)
2. His raising of the dead girl back to life:
“And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James.” (Mark 5:37, NKJV)
3. His insider instruction:
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately.” (Mark 13:3, NKJV)
4. His moment of most profound personal angst:
“Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” (Mark 14:32–34, NKJV)
Jesus shared our humanity. Like us, He experienced personal angst. Powerful men who opposed Him and His mission even to the point of plotting His death stalked Him. Jesus’ own chosen circle of twelve intimate friends sometimes disappointed Him. Jesus was ultimately disappointed by His own culture.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'” (Matthew 23:37–39, NKJV)
Jesus practiced dialing down. He protected his wellbeing. He prayed. He established personal boundaries. Jesus knew when He needed “alone-time” and when to restrict His relational network to only a few trusted friends and colleagues.
Your hand is on the dial of your life. Dial down to the optimum level for your health and wellbeing.
The painting of Jesus displayed above was painted by an artist in Melo, Uruguay in Februry of 2006. This local artist attended a meeting at which I preached a sermon about Jesus based on Isaiah 53. While I was preaching he had a vision of Jesus suffering. This man commtted his life to Jesus at the end of that service. He promptly returned home and painted his vision. He then sought us out as we were dining at a restaurant with the local Pastors. The paint barely dry, he wanted us to see his vision applied to canvas. His broad smile and bright countenance revealed his new heart!!