Posts Tagged ‘worry’

kudzu chokesThe parable of the sower still resonates despite our modern culture. It is a simple tale and yet each of us can probably identify with one or more of the seeds in the story. In fact, I’m beginning to believe that I have lived them all at one point or another. And not necessarily in the order told.

Still others [people], like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.  Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” [Mark 4:18-20]

The worries of this life and the desires for other things are the most insidious traps, for they absorb the brain’s thoughts. Like any computer, the RAM can only handle so much at once. And when I fill my head with tapes of concerns, old conversations, looped memories, overdue notices, commercials, and Facebook pictures of all the “other” happy people, there is no room for the workings of Spirit. I crowd out Spirit. It’s not that I don’t trust God in theory, but I don’t leave enough space for God to work.

The good seed hears the word but then “accepts” the word before crops can spring forth. Accepting is a process the involves the conscious as well as the unconscious mind.

In the same way that I have been simplifying my house, it is time to streamline the mind. Set aside what I cannot change and give God the room needed to cultivate a better way.

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Advent : Day Two

Image by RHADS

Art by RHADS

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. [I Corinthians 1:4-7, NIV]

I imagine what it would be like to have someone send me this message. There is so much promise in these worlds: the promise of someone praying on my behalf, the promise of God’s presence, the promise of God’s grace, the promise of God’s gifts, and the promise of a personal revelation of Jesus Christ. I am comforted and encouraged.

So often, I see myself sucked into a habit of self-condemnation and perfectionism. I feel inadequate and unable to accomplish anything. I am overwhelmed by the daily demands of my life, much less trying to add outreach and ministry to others. And in the midst of this comes the holidays and all those questions about trees and decorations and shopping. Even the church itself has its pressures to serve and plan. Julian of Norwich

If I could just hold on to this prayer for me. For you.

For this reason, I believe Julian of Norwich wrote, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”  It’s the grace. Everything will work out. As a friend of mine has always said: worry don’t work.

And so, for this day, I will take a breath and do what I can. I have everything I need to accomplish what is needed today. And God has tomorrow.

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Psalm 37:7
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Things are whirling about me… tensions, concerns, fears. The woes of our economy have reached into my personal life as our organization faces lay-offs, furloughs, and a branch closing. Lives will be changed; dreams will be shattered; hope will be challenged.

I am a little ashamed that I have found myself talking and talking and talking about what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen in the days ahead. Talking, talking, talking. Mostly. Not really praying.

I have not been listening… at least, I haven’t been listening in the quiet place, the secret place. I have been just a “sounding gong and clanging cymbal” [I Corinthians 13:1]. I have given my opinion, my interpretations, my gut feel, my take, my understanding, my inside information, and so on…

Today, I heard only one thing in my prayer time: Be Quiet!

When we speak in the silence unnecessarily, we cannot hear. And if we cannot hear, we cannot act in God’s will, only our own.

In Ecclesiastes, there is a long list about the timing of everything including speaking: (vs. 7b) “…a time to be silent and a time to speak, …”

Oh, may the remaining part of this day be transformed. Keep me mindful of these words: “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” [Proverbs 21:23]

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