August 24, 2012
I want to be just like him:
I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.
I was at a meeting at church the other night and we were discussing the best way to approach life, friendship, our place and purpose . . . examples were given from monastic life. Think about it. The monks spend all day and every day doing their thing in the same place and with the same folks. Who best to seek such wisdom from? If they don’t know how to get along, they are in TROUBLE. The first and most important point made was to give folks the benefit of the doubt . . . we could go far in this world if we did that. Sounds like the compassion of Christ to me.
July 20, 2011
I had a hunch and did some research to check it out. Worry seems to come first over trust in my life all too often and I’ve seen that I’m not the only one with this challenge. As the title reveals, trust is and should always be the winner of this battle. The numbers shown in my title here represent the number of verses in the NIV Bible in which the word trust and the word worry are used. Seems God knew we’d have trouble with trust and so He had a lot written about it to encourage us. Lately I’ve been thinking I was getting better at this. Until the other day . . . yesterday.
At my church a class is being offered about our emotions and how they can really get in our way and have an effect on our spiritual growth. Not only that, but the author discovered that our emotional battle also comes from life patterns going back a couple of generations at least. Wow. Okay, I was bummed out years ago when I learned what original sin was and can recall being a child and thinking “not MY FAULT Adam and Eve ate that stupid apple.” I’m a big girl now and I’m over the apple. Promise. I get it. We’re cool. We’re forgiven. It’s all good. So, now I find my emotions fight against me spiritually (I get that) and not only mine but the “baggage” Mom and Dad, Nana, Grampy . . . . 2 or 3 generations of family . . . it’s all affecting me and the approach I have taken along my journey? Yikes.
So, I studied the first 4 chapters in my book for the class. Chapter 4 was great. It was kinda “what I want to be when I grow up” and focused on how much better our journey will be when we understand our feelings, know what ancestral triggers are involved, and therefore not find our spiritual journey halted by them. Great. Loved it. Then I peeked ahead at tomorrow’s topic. The homework for that one? Digging deep and finding the baggage I’ve got buried in me. What I brought on myself, what my folks and their folks brought on themselves and passed on to the next generation . . . a long and not very fun look back at all the “I didn’t like it when she said that” and “It hurt me when he did that” and wonder of wonders . . . most of what was said and done, it would seem, was while completely unaware. So, my homework was to dig through past hurts and disappointments and find out why I feel and react the way I do so that knowing why can lead to healing and growing and dealing with things in strength and awareness of what’s “real.” No more denial. Feelings are real and causes are real and we don’t have to be stopped on our journey! BUT . . . I did NOT want to deal with chapter 5. NO, NO, NO!!!
I kinda figured if I wasn’t aware of all this, it must not be hurting me TOO much. I didn’t want to go digging. I’d had a good few days. The challenges in life weren’t scaring me too much, and there was hope for a future. The words of Jeremiah 29:11 have been in my heart steadily and so I know the Lord has a plan for my life. I know it’s one which will help me, not harm me – one which will prosper me and give me hope and a future. I know this. I’ve been using those encouraging words like a mantra for a long long time. Why let a little chapter on looking back to move ahead stop me? But I kept putting off reading it and worrying about how hurtful it would be to go digging. Then I couldn’t put it off anymore and prayed about it.
What a notion. I know better. Why did I worry for so long. Gripe and put off the necessary step toward growth? Why didn’t I pray about it sooner. So I did pray. I asked the Holy Spirit to fill me and to open my heart, my eyes, and my ears to what I was meant to understand . . . and to help me to keep the joy of the Lord in my heart in the process. Know what? He answered my prayer. Just as He always does. It was the best chapter yet! The generations of hurts and stumbling through life and the patterns that all families have which control us if we let them . . . it all makes sense. Know what else? When you understand what’s going on it doesn’t scare you or hurt you. You heal. Facing the challenges in life, whether it’s chapter 5 or something else . . . is much better than all the avoidance and worry, and pray for help people. He is waiting with open arms and all we have to do is reach for Him. Please reach for Him! Trust me on this. Better yet, trust Him!!!
March 7, 2011
“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5 NIV
A friend mentioned that while grocery shopping, he suddenly felt a need to cry. He felt a great sadness in his heart and yet the tears would not come. Emotions – we all have them. My friend’s feelings reminded me of my own emotions which can bring about a feeling of sadness. I do not always know why the sadness has come to me when it seemed that “everything was fine.” I prayed about this and was reminded of the command to bear one another’s burdens. We do not always know why the Lord asks us to do certain things, yet we proceed in faith and trust. Perhaps when sudden sadness comes to me, I am being asked to help carry the burden of another? Yes, I believe that when this feeling comes over me that perhaps somewhere there is an individual who is feeling unable to go on and weighed down to the breaking point. I believe a brief period of unexplained sadness in my heart means that I may be carrying some of his load for him. As followers of Christ we are called to reflect His glory to those in dark places. This is a blessing to us and is both amazing and humbling. We need to keep this in mind when we experience emotions. We do not always know when a smile, a casual greeting, an act of patience or kindness or even a tear maybe be a blessing to others at a time when they really need it. We will not always be aware of how our actions bless others, but we should always pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us wisdom and trust to follow where we are led. As the Psalmist wrote, “weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” God is good!