Automatically, I think these kinds of thoughts:
I am judgmental: today a woman was pushing a grocery cart with a toddler in it in light rain. It took her halfway across the crosswalk to raise the hood on the girl’s jacket. And I think, “It’s about time.”
I am impatient with anything that is blocking my way, a car that’s not going fast enough for me, or anything that gets in the way of my schedule.
I am anxious: what if I can’t get what I want—the lbs. I want to lose; do I have to give up sugar to achieve that? How can I possibly do that?
What I am learning to do is to smile and even laugh as these thoughts come up time and again. They are the things that are the most “normal” to me; they been in my mind since I was a child. And they have ruled me. I guess we don’t ever get rid of them, at least I haven’t after 37+ years of following Jesus, but for the most part they no longer rule me. I no longer get anxious just having them. I no longer set aside everything else to adhere to these old standards. I am at peace enough that I can smile or laugh at them as soon as I am conscious that they are here again. “Fear, you old friend! I know you so well; I’ve lived with you all my life. But now I have another kind of thought to guide me, another source for my worries to call forth—God and His presence in my life.
God’s thoughts in our minds are the ones we most often answer, “Oh no! I can’t do that!” And it’s true until the time that we put ourselves in His hands. And then, as we come to hear those thoughts from the Holy Spirit, we try them on and try them out. And, with His help, we are successful, to our surprise. And as we experience that help and those successes, we realize that everything He has in store for us will be to the benefit of our deeper selves and the world. As we see how creative He is with us and how adventuresome He is for us, we relax into following His word to us day after day, time and again until we no longer react with “Oh, no!” and just say to ourselves, “Oh, this is what the Lord wants me to do now.” That’s a whole huge step away from rebellion and denial of His voice and its offerings, its suggestions.
And then we become a captive of His thoughts and are willing to listen more and more to His wisdom. We learn that He knows what we need so much better than we do ourselves. We learn that everything we do that is inspired by Him is growing and healing and supporting us. We learn to let go and to let God… And what a blessing that is. For then we live in peace, joy and love. And that is what we give out to the people we serve in this lifetime.
For that is our purpose and our destiny—to invite other people to live a life in God, mostly by the way we live and breathe and think and feel, and not by preaching at them. For it is God’s love that we offer them, the value He would put on their lives, and the forgiveness that is already ours, if we would but acknowledge it. Our lives would shine His love to the world. Our lives would speak of purpose and fulfillment, of peace and joy. Our lives would be affirming that we are all children of God, made in His image and that all we have to do is to turn back to His ways and He will meet us right where we are. Our lives would not need any kind of sin to support us.
Today, with the coronavirus dominating our thoughts and the world, with our lives shut down to a large extent, we would be at peace. It would not matter whether we got the virus or not, or whether we died or not from it, we would be looking for the rainbow in the midst of the cloud. In what ways is God blessing us in this time, with having to mostly stay home? What is the gift in this challenge?
Because we know that God is always in everything with us, the pain and the joy; we can look for His presence now and in the days to come. What gifts and blessings do we see, even with the challenges? What is He asking of us right now? What reassurance is He offering us? How might He be changing our lives and reinventing them? For this is how God works through the events in our lives. He is always spreading invitations(parables of the seeds) to a deeper relationship to Him and to a truer version of ourselves. The only question is this: Will we answer “Yes!” to His invitations or will we turn away in fear of what He is asking of us? If we say “Yes!” there are blessings to come, new ways of examining the same old things, new thoughts to guide us. A more total commitment to what God would do for us.
I know that there is suspicion and distrust of Christians out there; some of my readers speak of Jesus as “an imaginary friend,” or worse, but the world needs so much to see God’s love and forgiveness, to see that there is an alternative to corrupt human ways, that they can be loved and held and cherished. Let’s show them that it is true by how we live!
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I aware at all of the Indwelling Spirit of God and what thoughts He speaks in my mind? How do I react to the way the Holy Spirit thinks in me? Do I do what He suggests? Or dismiss it out of hand? How precious is God’s word to me?
Blessings for the week: May we be the people of God who listen for the Indwelling Spirit’s guidance. May we follow what He offers faithfully. May we be true to our deepest longings and to God.
Readers: I am writing a book about slavery in the Bible and in our lives. I am asking any of you who are aware of what enslaves them, be it drugs or too much appetite or drink, or fear, anger, hatred or greed or whatever thinking you do that is not helpful, anything you feel you have no power over, please write to me about it. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no minimum or maximum amount of words to use. What I am most interested in is your experience of slavery, if you are aware of it at all, and what enslaves you. I will only use your first initial to identify you so you will remain anonymous. Thank you so much for considering this invitation.
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Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts 2x a month. 3.9.20.s is entitled, “Belief, Faith, Discipleship.”
 Luke 15:11-32 The Parable of the Prodigal Son