A conversation over lunch with a friend one day reminded me that we never really get over ourselves totally even as we commit our lives to the Lord. As we offer ourselves and each sin we have committed, the challenges we have faced, and the hopes we have for ourselves and others up to the Lord in prayer, we hope that the guilt and shame that surrounds each instance of sin and pain in us, in our minds and hearts will be healed, never to be reminded of it again. That would be nice, if only it happened that way. In reality, long after we have been healed of something by God, our minds may still be reminding us of what we have done or what we’ve been taught.
Lots of things that I have turned over to God still come up in my mind all the time, especially when I am trying to be still and quiet in His presence. What I have learned to do is to observe these old patterns of my mind as from a distance and not let them upset me once again. I treat them like old friends—after all they’ve been with me from my early childhood and later, but I don’t have to give them space today. I kind of wave at them in my mind, “Hi, Old Friend, I recognize you!” and then I let the thought(s) go. Then I take some deep breaths. And turn back to God.
It’s amazing how it works with these patterns of thought that often started in our early childhoods. Our minds may be quoting our parents or another relative or something that the culture or our friends taught us, like set your goals and go after them relentlessly. One of my parents’ most oft repeated teachings was to be on time, no matter what. Now, 70+ years since I was in 1st grade, I’ll be going somewhere and know that I’ll be 10 minutes early, and my mind is beating up on me just like before. So, I relax and just let the thoughts do what they will! This admonition to be on time will be with me the rest of my life on this earth, but it no longer has to be a driver of my behavior or anxiety. Old friend indeed!
As long as we live in these human bodies, we will be reminded of all these old teachings, of our guilt and shame. These are the things we absorbed as young children that keep us in the world/our culture. And, apparently—at least in my experience, they will be with us for our lifetime here. Fortunately, we can no longer be haunted by them, so that in letting go of all these burdens we carry, we can begin to experience who we were created to be. And to no longer live in the world.
As we move more and more into the kingdom of God and out of the world, these reminders will fade, but will still be a part of us. What we need to do is to open ourselves up through giving over our pain and suffering to the Lord and, as He heals us of all that stands between us and Him, we will begin to feel lighter and lighter and more fully ourselves as God created us to be, instead of the acculturated person we were conditioned to be. Then, we are becoming more and more attached to the Indwelling Spirit of God as He leads us to a whole new way of being in the world, to being our true selves as God envisions us. And we can sense and know that the fruit of the spirit are growing in us:
to love fully and wholeheartedly God ourselves and others,
to experience joy as we become truer to our created selves,
to be able to be at peace, no matter what happens in our lives,
to be patient with ourselves and everyone else,
to be kind, good, and gentle with ourselves and everyone else,
to be faithful to the Lord and what He calls us to be and to do,
and to be self-controlled/humble in all that we do.
Questions to ponder over the week: As you have given up the suffering and pain of your life to the Lord, do you still hear those old voices in your mind? Are you able to be at peace with their continuing existence in you? Are you aware of how your interior space is changing as the fruit of the spirit surfaces in you? If you haven’t begun to give up the pain and suffering of your life, what is holding you back from welcoming His healing promises?
Blessing for this week: May we be the people of God who are healed of the pain and suffering of our lives, so that we might become the people that God created us to be. May we experience the fruit of the spirit growing in us.
Check out my two websites: patsaidadams.com and deepeningyourfaith.com.
- I am giving away a 10-week journaling guide to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments. If you are interested, email me at email@example.com and I will email it to you, free of charge.
- My latest books, “Called to Help the Poor and Needy” and “A Study Guide to the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount” are now in bookstores and on line. The first is about the more than 2,000 verses in the Bible which detail God’s instructions for caring for those in need. The second is a journaling/pondering guide to Jesus’s most complete sermon.
 Galatians 5:22-23