Finding Courage and Wisdom on the Path to Wholeness
Dear TSJ Peeps,
It is Wednesday already! How does it work that some days and weeks bring feelings of overwhelm and drudgery making time drag or the days long. Yet, you also feel like time is flying faster than a jet plane leaving a quickly evaporating stream of memory behind?
Puff! The day is gone. Or the year is gone. I guess it is all perception, isn’t it? Kind of like sixty seconds of getting a sliver removed seems like forever and exactly the same sixty seconds eating ice cream seems like a second.
Many of our TSJ peeps are in exactly that position as they look back over their year of teaching or parenting. The year flew by. But some days and weeks were very long.
As an aging human myself, I can tell you this never changes. That is why we older people keep telling younger people to “Enjoy your children. Enjoy your careers. Enjoy your marriage because before you know it, you will be looking back.”
The truth is there are no “do-overs,” as Ann Voskamp shares in her poignant book: The Broken Way a daring path into the abundant life. Sigh. I think about this a lot. I remember well some of the things I said to my children and times my behavior was likely more childish than theirs. I remember well being a young teacher with so, so much to learn. And more recently, I remember things I have said that are less than stellar to Mr. John. Solomon is my witness. I have regrets from time to time. Do you? I think they are called human mistakes .
I have thought long and hard this week (as we are continuing the journey of cleaning out John’s home to put it up for sale) about how hard it is to control my frustrations when I am tired.
If you were to ask me, “If you could choose one thing to control in your life, what would that be?” In a split second I would say, “My mind. It is sometimes like an unbridled horse that runs wild.”
I have been realizing that consciousness and courage to face “what is” rather than craving control over all my “what if” scenarios is the path to maturing spirituality. Learning to trust in the Shepherd of our hearts is a tough course. It is a life course for sure. There is daily homework in the school of life.
Exercising our trust muscles requires a lot of hydration. Muscles tend to cramp if dehydrated! Letting go of control opens the faucet of our hearts and minds to drink in God’s radical Love and Grace.
I continue to find that sharing the journey with others holds us more accountable for how our minds trick us and helps us find compassion for ourselves. Trying to figure things out secretly fosters personal traps of shame, blame and/or guilt.
Since there is no such thing as actual do-overs for our behaviors, Solomon is thrilled to let us all know there are U-Turns. These are times when grace spins our thinking around from negativity and grumbling to gratitude and a clearer vision that mysteriously reveals, the good, the true and the beautiful hidden in the challenges, heartaches and losses of life.
I have written often that the enemy of our happiness and God given joy is like a virus in our brains. It is the inner dialogue with what Christians call Satan. Ann VosKamp calls our inner demon “the prosecutor” whose very purpose is to “steal our presence, our very knowledge of the Healer’s Presence if he could.” She adds, “If you let Satan prosecute you, you will ultimately imprison yourself.” She says “The very name Satan literally means ‘prosecutor.’ And his work isn’t ultimately to tempt you, but to try you.”
Ann’s writing has struck a cord in my heart this week. Books have a timing built into them I think. I “just happened” to pick this book up again this week and resonate with her well told stories, her very real stories from one who has suffered.
But I wish to share one more paragraph with you because it is exactly what I have shared before and it seems so true to me:
“There can be a lying snake curled between your neural membranes and his lies can run poison in our being. Sometimes our deepest suffering is that voice in our heads.” (p 145) And I say, “Amen sister!”
But God’s way is the way of being a beloved, and there is a big fat U-Turn sign that will reset our self torture and lead us into a new pasture of grace and gratitude, hope and joy every time we stop and remember that scriptures remind us, “Nothing can separate us from the Love of God.”
So, whatever seems to be troubling you this week – be it exhaustion that makes you vulnerable to listening to and accepting the prosecutor’s voice that wants to imprison you in fears, shame or guilt or anything else – “let all your suffering create love.” That is how we find meaning in our mess.
Solomon invites you to be aware of the enemy but keep your eye on the Shepherd and He will point you to the nearest U-Turn available.
I wrote this for myself.
Margie and Solomon