Being still is my goal at least once each day. I have trouble with this. I have to make myself stop and be still. But when I finally succeed in stillness, I find such rest in the arms of Jesus! I bask in His presence and know I am never alone. It is a beautiful thing. It feels like a hug for my soul.
We love each other because he loved us first.
-1 John 4:19 NLT
I am a hugger. I hug my friends. I love hugging my children and having them rest their head on my shoulder. I still take comfort in hugging my mother. When my dad was alive, one of his hugs would heal almost any ailment or hurt. Now that I am married to the love of my life, he eases my stresses tremendously with long hugs after a hard day. Yep. I am a hugger.
I know I am not alone in feeling the benefits of hugs. There have been scientific studies dedicated to the benefits of embracing. According to dignityhealth.org, there are four very big, beneficial reasons to hug:
1. The release of oxytocin actually helps the body relieve stress and pain.
2. Regularly hugging people can increase the strength of our immune system.
3. Hugging increases serotonin, which can actually make us feel happier.
4. They help deepen our relationships.
Why am I blogging about hugs? Though in my heart and in my mind I know for sure that God is always with me, sometimes we physically need to feel the warmth of a friendly hug, to feel arms wrap around us, to feel cared for in a kind but wordless way. Everyone needs to be hugged. Maybe you have a friend that needs you to be that designated hugger because they are alone most of the time. Maybe you are the friend in need.
What if I’m not a hugger? Or what if I am a person with a compromised immune system who does not feel comfortable/safe hugging others? If you just can’t get into hugging people, the article on dignityhealth.org even mentions cuddling with pets as acceptable forms of embracing! So cuddle with your dog or cat, and then find another way to share God’s love with others (notes of encouragement, food, conversation, a lunch date, etc.).
One day I am going to get the most amazing embrace ever when I see Jesus. He is the one who decided to leave Heaven to be born a baby in a very humble place, lived a perfect life, taught beautifully, loved unbelievably, and died willingly on the cross for my sins. Until I see Jesus in Heaven, I am living on this earth with the devil roaming as a hungry lion trying to devour any souls he can. If I can show love in a hug and help others see Jesus, I’m going to do it! So stretch those arms out W-I-D-E and hug someone today!
There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens….a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing….
-Ecclesiastes 3:1, 5b NIV