Did you have a hula hoop as a child? It’s a simple toy, a complete circle. If you had a good one, it had something inside that made this cool swishing noise. How long could you keep it up? Can you still do it? I didn’t realize how important this toy was going to be to me as an adult.
I was going through a difficult time. My marriage was falling apart and my parents weren’t completely supportive. I lost my job and was going to have to sell my home. I was upset and angry. I lost friends and was not a very pleasant person to be around.
I was stuck and I knew I needed help.
One day, I stepped into my counselor’s office upset about something that had happened. I was mad and crying. “It’s not FAIR!!!” I kept saying. My counselor was doing a good job of letting me talk it out. As I talked it out, I only became more and more upset. Before I knew it, my voice raised, I had tears streaming down my face, and I didn’t see an end in sight. Once she was able to get a word in, she asked me if being upset helped. Did it feel good?
Well, no. I hate being mad. BUT THEY GIVE ME NO CHOICE!
Ahhh…. We always have a choice.
She went into her closet and pulled out a child’s toy. A hula hoop. “You know, you can get these at the dollar store.”
“What does a hula hoop have to do with anything?” I was thinking.
She placed it on the floor in the middle of the room. She asked me to get up and stand in the middle of it. “Now close your eyes.” I did.
“Everything inside this hula hoop is what you can control. Your body. You can stand or sit, walk, jump, talk, whisper, yell, stretch, or curl up in a ball. You can control whether your arms reach out to hug someone, or hit someone. You can also control your thoughts, your emotions, and the way you feel. It’s not easy, but it can be done. No one outside of your hula hoop can force you to do any of these things.
“You control what you allow into your hula hoop. Love, hate, joy, sorrow. You can never force something into your hula hoop that doesn’t want to be there. You can also control your reaction to things outside of your hula hoop. But, you can’t control what happens outside the circle.”
For a while, it was a daily exercise for me. I would stand inside the hula hoop and visualize what was inside and under my control, and what was outside the hoop and my control. I started seeing this hula hoop as protection. God’s protection surrounds me like a never-ending circle, helping me choose my reaction to the outside world. He is always there, keeping me safe from what’s outside my hoop.
I still keep a hula hoop under my bed for those days that I need the reminder of God’s love, and what I have control over. Perhaps as you start a Near Year you are struggling like I was. Step into your hula hoop and let God wrap you in his circle of love. He has you surrounded.
Author: Debbie Conner