Do you remember that Verizon commercial? Illustrating all the different locations where Verizon gets service? It was catchy, clever and certainly memorable. Sometimes I feel as though my prayer life is like a Verizon commercial! I need to pray for ___, and ____, or and don’t forget ___. Did I remember ____, oh and _____, and didn’t she ask for my prayers last week?????? So many people to pray for, so many needs, such a long list, I don’t want to forget anyone who asked for my prayers……yikes! Prayer is stressful!
St. Luke tells of a story of Jesus approaching a town called Naim. As he got near the gates he saw a man being carried out, the only son of a widowed mother. St. Luke tells it like this, “The Lord was moved with pity upon seeing her and said to her, “Do not cry.” Then he bid the dead man to get up and we all know the rest of the story.
Did you notice? The woman didn’t even have to ask…..’the Lord was moved with pity’.
Forget the lists, forget the proper posture, forget the formatted words and forget the timed prayer sessions.
Lift up your eyes, open your heart to Him and let Him heal. “The Lord was filled with compassion”….and she didn’t even have to ask!
(Thank you Prior Lake American for creating a visual of the way that I am feeling)
So I’m thinking’…..as I have my Noah snowsuit on……
Should I start building an ark with skis?
Should I start eating those chips because comfort food adds layers of blubber?
Should I take a mental vacation to the Caribbean?
Or should I take some quiet time to reflect…..what can I learn from this weather? Silly question? Our God who counts the hairs on our heads, watches each sparrow that falls to the ground, and catches our tears as they fall, isn’t random.
There is something for me to glean…
Open my heart O Holy Spirit and help me to learn the wisdom that you offer as gently and freely as the falling snow.
So, I’m thinking that this post is going to sound like a cross between spirituality 101 and a fairy tale. For years I have struggled with the false-self/true-self model. Not that I didn’t believe that it had validity – too many of my respected mentors speak of it, but I just couldn’t wrap my self around understanding it totally – not that anything spiritual can be totally understood!
It’s just that I didn’t really know what a true self is – because if my false self is the face that I project to the world, than, not only is it depressing, but then where is this illusive true self and how do I get it to surface?
Once again, my understanding came from a child……who defined a ‘soul’ as the part of you that lives forever with God. Not only do I love that simplicity, but that definition was an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me.
In order for me to not make this a too-long post, I will highlight my ‘ah-ha’s’
- I have a soul inside of me that is both beautiful and perfect (the true self that God created???)
- It is the ‘me’ that is eternal and is united with God both now and forever
- It is the ‘me’ that God sees – the rest is just fluff and really inconsequential to God – (that point may get me into trouble)
- I can access my soul anytime I become quiet
- My soul is where I meet God – we reside there together
- My soul – my true self – my eternal (noun) – God’s creation is loved. Beyond all measure, beyond all time, beyond all space, all words and all actions. My soul is who God created – my ‘me’
Hidden in every experience is wisdom. A loving God could never allow his children to hurt in vain. No action, word or experience is ever wasted. Everything in my life is there for a reason and behind that reason is love. Unfortunately, the hidden pearl cannot be found until the shell is cracked. We must live through the pain in order to glean the wisdom. We cannot ignore it, we must walk through it, and that hurts. We must try to keep a perspective, keeping one eye on the questions, “What does this tell me about me? How can I grow from this?” There is much wisdom hidden in the pain if we move the ego aside and concentrate on the pearl.
So, I have begun to walk in the morning. My favorite time is just when the moon is humbly stepping aside to allow the sun to illuminate the day. I am determined to keep this up, health reasons being secondary, sanity my primary! Even though there was a wolf spotted at the top of my driveway last week and I drove home last night to find 4 coyotes in my front yard…..I will continue!
I spend this precious 30 minutes reflecting. Sometimes I will listen to a Youtube talk, sometimes I will go over one of my own talks that I am practicing (that’s my least favorite way to spend the time – I hear my own chatter far too much), but the most ‘productive’ (much too harsh a word for the results that are gained) way to spend the time is to listen. Some may think that nature is silent, but if you are the one that is silent, then you open your self to hearing the voice of God.
All of creation has much to teach us. All is gift and God is constantly reaching out to us, revealing himself, and loving us.
After my few minutes of ‘heaven’, my frantic day begins and I get lost in the busy-ness of grown-up things that must be taken care of and dealt with. There are problems to solve, work to be done, and on and on until I sink into bed each night being more weary than tired.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 18:3
Thirty minutes each morning I become that little child and allow myself to be awed by God’s world. I think that I have experienced heaven…..Give it a try…
And, the more that I think about Jesus saying, “Do not be afraid, just have faith” to a man whose little daughter has just died, the more I am both amazed and comforted. When I reflect on the many things that are ‘crosses’ in my life right now, none of them can compare with the death of a child. If Jesus could tell a grieving father to ‘just have faith’ when the circumstances seemed so dire, then there is nothing that I can’t bring to him, and nothing that he can’t heal.
“Just have faith” – three little words that can change my life. These three little words are transforming…they effect my attitudes, my decisions, my moods, my past, present and future, the way I live and the way that I love. He tells me, “Just have faith” and I answer:
I’m really worried
I’m so afraid
I’m not seeing you, hearing you, feeling you right now
I have to do something…I have to take control
I fear the worst
And he responds, “Do not be afraid, JUST HAVE FAITH”
And I ask for the faith of a mustard seed so I can move mountains.