When cultivating an open spirit helps with the overwhelm

– Max Retriever enjoying the outdoors

We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that this immeasurable power will be seen as God’s, not ours. Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option. We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. We continually share in the death of Jesus in our own bodies so that the resurrection life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity. 

2 Corinthians 4:7-8

Yesterday afternoon, with temperatures making it all the way to 50, I took Max for his first walk on the Neuse River Trail (The walkway, as you can see from the signpost, is part of North Carolina’s Mountains to Sea Trail, running 1175 miles from the Great Smokies to the Outer Banks).

– Max

Typically, when the hard slog of looking after my parents gets a little far into the realm of overwhelm, fresh air and a long walk is the best medicine. Who knows, maybe this is the reason I have been logging over 100,000 steps per week over the last six months!

Therapy or not, Max and I enjoy it.

There is a stark beauty to the winter months here in North Carolina that’s easy to miss of you don’t walk with eyes open and spirit open too.

So long as I can cultivate the open spirit part, then I won’t be too worried about the overwhelm. Because overwhelm by definition is something that runs above and beyond the resources at our disposal. And I have resources in terms of faith, and love, and light, and grace, and mercy, and promise that absolutely outgun anything in the way of challenge and despair.

I often reference the training Max received as a therapy dog, specifically when talking about his relationship with my dad (See Max Retriever is an Empath). But I realize now that Mr. Max is, primarily, my therapy dog.

And it’s not a stretch to suggest that Max is an angel. The job of an angel is often summed up in the word “messenger”, and Max is good at carrying the “You are loved” word from God, the “you are not alone” promise, the “It’s okay, really, it’s going to be alright” reassurance.

All I have to do is to cultivate an open spirit. God is generous with the rest.

Peace – DEREK


  1. Derek, great to hear your words, in times of chaos and uncertainty, it’s great to know the truth, There is contentment for those who believe, while there is uncertainty in those with doubts, staying fresh in the Spirit, allowing yourself to be an instrument of the Almighty, priceless, amen

    Liked by 1 person

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