old patterns of thnking

I circled back to these patterns of thinking just as I circled back to the stale thoughts of what I was not. It was an old habit. Each time I revisited this way of thinking and seeing, I discovered new layers of false understandings of God. God’s love, to me, still stopped short when we fell short. He was a loving Father – to a point – but when I failed him consistently, God seemed to me to be a middle-age man, tired of my failure, exasperated by what I wasn’t, and too stretched to extend grace.
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Somehow God helped me reach up into His heart and speak what I saw and felt there. As I spoke the words, my mind raced with thoughts. Is this really how God sees a heart? Can God change my perspective in an instant? But the power of the words I released lifted my eyes to the God who delivered them. God’s Father-love came in, when I spoke it out. I learned it as I said it. Delight and life from a tongue can change a soul. 
bitter
Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty
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And so I cradled my midnight questions while mamas cradled their babies, and I let God’s psalms tell me He cradled the answer in Himself. I felt forgotten, but I heard God speak that He had not left me. I felt weak, but I heard Him promise an overshadowing. I felt anxious that my constant fumblings would annoy Him, but I heard Him say He delighted in me.  (Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty)

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I enjoy reading inspirational books. I need to read these books. Very often the books I am drawn to reflect my life thoughts and experiences, if not exactly then pretty darn close. And in reading inspirational books I find myself comparing myself to the author. And, as Sara Hagerty said in Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, “Comparison plagued my soul.”

Now I cognitively know that each person is unique as is their journey with God and God is able and willing to morph Himself into whatever a person needs at any particular moment. But that knowledge doesn’t stop me from comparing myself to another’s life changing journeys with God and to find myself wanting. And a little envious. And even a little angry. Who are they that should know God better than I? Or is it, who is God that He should reveal Himself to them in such a way that they are at one with Him while I sit here in my own misery , stewing and fretting about my God and my life in God? Maybe I am too wrapped up in my own bitterness to know the difference.

At this juncture I always, always, always remind myself that this is what I feel – not what I know and believe to be true. My life is based on faith, but my faith is often overwhelmed by my feelings. It is my feelings that get in the way of trusting God.

It is easy to trust God in the good times; but oh, so much harder in the doubtful times. I go looking for huge miracles but what I get are subtle mysteries and I am not satisfied.

I know, I’m a mess. A question mark with no answer in sight.

do I believe deeply enough?

St Zephyrinus became Pope in 202 a.d. and was martyred in 217 a.d. defending his belief in the Divinity of Jesus Christ. As I read his story last evening I wondered just how strong my belief system is. Do I believe deeply enough, strongly enough to suffer for it?

Around the world, every minute of the day persecution for one’s religious belief goes on; it is not isolated to one particular faith but runs the spectrum of all faiths and even to those who don’t believe in God. Why must we strive against each other so? Do we hate ourselves so much that we feel compelled to attack any person or group who doesn’t believe the way we do, think what we think and look like we look?

The big answer is yes. We aren’t in the Garden any more, nor have we been there for millenia. Humans as a race are not designed to get along. We come pre-built with petty jealousies and angers, passions and desires to be companionable for any length of time. We have to learn to get along, concede our own point of view willingly, or have it beaten/terrorized out of us – both as a larger group and as individuals.

The small answer is no. Once I realize I’m not in the Garden any more, meaning I realize I am responsible for my own in/action I have a choice…to get along with others in spite of their faith, their color, their country, their gender. To persecute or not is a question I must ask myself each day. To quietly accept persecution from others is also a question I have to ask and answer each day.

Is my belief in a Loving, Benevolent God strong enough to stand up against persecution? Is my faith in God big enough and strong enough to not persecute others who believe differently? Those are questions whose answer is fluid but I pray I will always be able to answer yes to both.

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