What If I Am Already in a Desert?
Inching along the overcrowded freeway, I notice a lonely sunflower growing from a tiny crack in the concrete barrier. The sunflower stands tall with a magnificent flower spread open to the morning sun. I think, “My, there’s always goodness growing in hard places.”
Lent began last Wednesday.
For someone in a spiritual drought – someone who lost sight of God along the way – Lent can feel even lonelier…darker.
But, Lent can be a wonderful time of noticing the hidden goodness as well.
From my journal on Wednesday;
“If I wrote about Lent at this moment, I would write about seeing myself as separate from everyone and everything.
I am alone here…
I see the depth of my sin and the unworthiness this creates; the death within.”
But this morning, my vision of Lent transformed.
“If I wrote about Lent at this moment,
I would write about reconnecting the disconnected places of my life and soul to love.
I am part of something greater…
I see the depth of God’s grace and the beauty this creates; the goodness within.”
Two perspectives. Two ways of seeing. One with criticism and judgment. The other with compassion and mercy. While in a spiritual drought, I remind myself that this paradox exist simultaneously within me, and I need help discerning which perspective holds my attention.
Which brings me to another habit I practice that helps me to see goodness within.
Be Gentle with Yourself
Don’t expect too much from yourself. Resources are limited. You can’t keep going on as if nothing is wrong. Lower your expectations.
Take care of yourself. Droughts are lonely and isolating. Likely, no one else in your circle is going through a drought. Realize, it’s up to you to care for yourself. Allow time for God to love you. Drop out of the rat race – it’s ok. It will be there when the drought is over.
Be generous to yourself. Lavish mercy and compassion on yourself. Drought is a wound of the soul, and this wound needs healing. Remember, your soul is healing. Give yourself extra time and rest for the healing process.
This week, I offer a prayer to be read slowly, with mercy and compassion for yourself.
Drive Me Deep to Face Myself
Lord, grant me your peace, for I have made peace with what does not give peace, and I am afraid.
Drive me deep, now, to face myself so I may see that what I truly need to fear is
my capacity to deceive and willingness to be deceived,
my loving of things and using of people,
my struggle for power and shrinking of soul,
my addiction to comfort and sedation of conscience,
my readiness to criticize and reluctance to create,
my clamor for privilege and silence at injustice,
my seeking for security and forsaking the kingdom.
Lord, grant me your peace. Instill in me such fear of you as will begin to make me wise, and such quiet courage as will enable me to begin to make
and myself open and present to other people and your kingdom.
Prayer from Guerrillas of Grace by Ted Loder (one of my favorite prayer books).
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