Sunday, April 30, 2006

Highly-strung anybody?

My wife has reminded me on more than one occasion that my blog is titled 'Perspectives' but is mainly anecdotes. She know it's easier to write anecdotes since I already keep a journal. But she's right.

Just as well that I've been wondering if perhaps I'm highly-strung. Like sometimes I startle too easily. I can be overwhelmed by bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens close by. Some days I can feel more highly-strung than usual, more likely to snap. If you are a laid back person, you may not relate to this.

Highly-strung people worry about details, can be emotional even nervous and often want to be in control. They tend to be on edge, over-sensitive, irritable and can jump at people. Many animals are highly strung too. They are easily excitable.

Here's a definition. Adj. 1. Being in a tense state, edgy, in suspense, jittery, jumpy, nervy, over-strung, restive, uptight, tense, in or of a state of physical or nervous tension.

Know any one like that? Sometimes I wonder if this the national psyche. We are often reminded in the media that we lack natural resources, that neighbours are catching up economically and that we must leap frog the region. This creates a siege mentality with paranoia all-round.

Dinah and I used to be involved in family ministry. I remember we got the moms to go out for ice cream while husbands stayed home with kids. There would always be one or two moms who kept calling every few minutes to ask how the kids were doing. I thought this was chronic. Then I saw them before school exams.

Many who commute on the MRT are typically highly-strung, stressed-out Singaporeans. Some think it's a duty to irritate them even more by walking really slowly, standing on the wrong side of the escalator and so on. However the wiser amongst us will not want to be snapped at.

How do we calm the highly-strung? If you exhibit some of these traits, how do you avoid going over the deep-end to become certifiably obsessive compulsive?

For starters I make it a point to avoid horror movies. It's not good for the nervy heart. Positive comedies and feel-good dramas are much more therapeutic.

Reframing is a useful technique. This is to think different. Like some who refer to their overstrung state as having 'a heightened sense of awareness'. This is so well put.

To reframe is important because, like it or not, there are bound to be things that annoy us to no end. Like I can get worked up when people stare at me in lifts, in restaurants or in public places. I've also read that fights have started from staring incidents. Lives have been lost. So I had to quickly learn to reframe.

Eventually I figured it out: "Perhaps I do have an interesting face. I must have presence. Maybe that's why heads turn every time I step onto the scene." It's probably true as well.

Life and ministry can get tense at times. Relax, chill out. I'm learning. Lying on the lounge with our twins is fun. So is listening to good music. Or a catch up with friends over coffee. Try it. You'll like it.


Paul said...

Pastor, I was once a tensed-up-easily person but this verse from the Bible is the best andedoate ever.

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Phil 4:6-7

Anonymous said...

Haha Ps Ben I am very highly strung too... Often I talk more loudly when I am excited and that I walk at fast pace even when I am not late or too early... Ahhh its great...about perspectives.... look forward to that!

^_^ said...

"Being in a tense state, edgy, in suspense, jittery, jumpy, nervy, over-strung, restive, uptight, tense, in or of a state of physical or nervous tension.

Know any one like that?"

yes that's me! i reframe by reminding myself to not sweat the small stuff and that God's always in charge. :D

The Recreation Corner said...

Yes Kan-cheong Spider (KS)! =P

The Recreation Corner said...

Sorry... my reply was to blogger o_o!!!

^_^ said...

let me "reframe" andrew's statement... i wanna be excellent at what i do and i'm enthusiastic about it. :P

popuri said...

Hello Pastor,

I love this entry of yours more than any other! it is so personal transparent and it came with a whole load of personality, so much we know that the person we see on Sunday on stage is really really, still made of flesh and blood! Thanks for showing us the beauty of being in Christ. My husband & I evaluated ourselves recently and thot we had both had our "perfectionism" overdrive moments, we get into nitty details, hands-on, we learn the other trade, search every nooks and cranny, making sure we were thorough, leaving no stone unturn. That is what we did for our recent "reno" project. We found out we WERE INDEED in overdrive mode, time to scale back, relax in the sovereignity of God. But I guess God did put diff personalities into diff situations, as long as we desire to be used for his glory. I am creative I was told by many, so have a sensitive heart, some call it sentimental, its a preference or choice of words I guess. But just as Irving Stone from "Heart of the Artist" mentioned " But then, no artist is normal; if he were, he wouldn’t be an artist. Normal men don’t create works of art. They eat, sleep, hold down routine jobs, and die. You are hypersensitive to life and nature; that’s why you are able to interpret for the rest of us. But if you are not careful, that very hypersensitiveness will lead you to your destruction. The strain of it breaks every artist in time." I believe our flesh is tainted in some ways or the other. If given in to flesh, we will be destructed. Thank God we have Jesus. ;)

ben kc lee said...

Paul, I love this Scripture too. Glad it helped you. Thanks for quoting it here.

Lester, looks like you've done some self-diagnosis. appreciate your note.

Keng Suan, self-discovery is always good. (We need to forgive those who confirm our self-diagnosis like Andrew.) Also do take it easy on the reframe thing.

Sharon, what a full reply. Yes I'm really, really flesh & blood. Reno? Dinah & I had a unforgettable time moving to our place in 2002. Thanks for the incisive quotation here. In fact you've unveiled additional symptoms to the list - perfectionism, creative, overdrive, sentimental, not-normal, hypersensitive. Wow. Indeed, thank God we have Jesus.

ghilbert said...

Ps Ben.

Listening to music ,watching movies & meet my bros and sister in christ and lastly attending Exploring God Workshop last monday & tuesday by hope sem - its a great great help , to refresh us once again by experiencing him through understanding, thoughts and feelings.
thanks for hope sem.


ben kc lee said...

ghilbert, thanks for the tips on meeting fellow Christians & Bible workshops. double hooray for HopeSem

ainstein said...

Wow. I really thought I was the only paranoid person around. I'm glad that someone understands how it's like to be all jittery and paranoid.

Thanks for posting this. Clearly opened my eyes :)

Sirisha said...

hanks for posting this...i searched all over the net but a clear meaning of highly strung is giving only here..others just make guesses!!once again thanks a lot!