Thursday, March 4th, 2021
Hello friends and welcome to a new day! Thank you for sharing part of your day with me. I feel particularly close to God when I am enjoying nature. I see God in the trees, the leaves, the bark and the soil. I see God in the sunlight and in big fluffy white clouds. I can also see God in other weather related scenic views. The below photo was taken at a nature park that I like to visit often. I hope it is uplifting to you.
After reading today’s devotional by Henri J. M. Nouwen, some specific words began floating around in my thoughts.
Everyone has a desire to accomplish something in their life. I have been extremely blessed to have accomplish things that others have only dreamed of and I do not take any of them for granted. Some people dream of building a new home, graduating from college, inventing something revolutionary, writing a book, becoming an actor/actress, being the next great leader, finding lost treasures, becoming a mom/dad; no matter how big or small these things may be, they indeed matter to the person wanting to accomplish them.
What about once you have accomplished “the thing,” did you feel completely fulfilled? Sometimes we chase something only to find out it wasn’t really what we thought it would be. Other times we seek to accomplish things for all the wrong reasons. This my friends is what I like to refer to as “LIFE.” I have shared the past two days about my competitiveness, there was a time in my life when I believed life could get no better than being a “Champion.” When I played softball, I wanted to be the fastest runner, steal the most bases, hit the most home runs, yell the loudest…get the idea? I did accomplish some of these but the truth is in life someone else will comes along and will be better yet. That my friend is life. We must move forward, which I did and I have beautiful memories. Those years of playing, yes they were competitive but that’s not what I most remember, it is the shared experience of my teammates, trophies and road trips.
Life can seem like a giant scoreboard, where each of us is only worth the points we put on the board. When we are scoring other will cheer us on, once we are no longer seen as worthwhile and valuable, the cheering stops. Everyone is dispensable, no one is indispensable.
“To live a Christian life means to live in the world without being of it.” (1) Nouwen
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
—John 15:19 (NIV)
We all need alone time to be with God, Nouwen refers to this as, “A life without a lonely place, that is, a life without a quiet center, easily becomes destructive.” (2)
When we hold onto our own accomplishments and actions, we too often see everyone else as our enemies. We feel threatened and become possessive, keeping others at a distance. It is in our solitude, our quiet time listening for God’s voice and the Spirit’s guidance, we can find peace and find our center. Nouwen says, in discovering this center, we see that we are not what we can conquer but what is given to us. That my friend is life, God gave us life. God loved us before we could love in return; God spoke to us before we could speak; God healed us before we could even gesture for help; he set us free long before we could free others. “In solitude we become aware that our worth is not the same as our usefulness.” (3)
God’s love is not property for us to cling to, but a gift to be received and shared with the world.
As I was contemplating writing this entry a poem I wrote a decade ago came into my thoughts. The circumstances of me writing it were vastly different from where I am in life right now. I can now read it with new eyes and can see things coming full circle. I understand now I needed to learn about caring for myself and others more acutely, I needed to understand solitude and it’s true value. I find the last line rather ironic, silence was all that I had (and) was exactly what I needed to find my center. To reconnect with God, who loved me first, listened to me before I could speak, healed me before I could even gesture a need, and set me free.
I Don’t, I Want, I Need
I don’t need to be in love
I want to be loved
I don’t want to give care
I want to feel care
My faith is weak
My anger is strong
I want to run
I need to be held
I want to let go
I’m all tied up
I want to scream
I’m too scared
I want to cry
I need to cry
I curb my wants
I deny my needs
God wants in
I push God away
I blame, I question
Silence is all I have…
Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:
~Save * Share – Day 14
Buy one or two extra non-perishable foods each week at the store or set aside 10¢ a meal. At the end of Lent, share what you’ve saved to help feed others.
🪔 Prayer 🪔
Yahweh, you examine me and know me,
you know when I sit, when I rise,
you understand my thoughts from afar.
You watch when I walk or lie down,
you know every detail of my conduct.
God, examine me and know my heart,
text me and know my concerns.
Make sure that I am not on my way to ruin,
and guide me on the road to eternity.
— Psalm 139:1-3, 23-24
~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.
Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing
(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 53, paragraph 1.
(2) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 53, paragraph 2.
(3) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 53, paragraph 3.
(NIV) New International Version Bible/Translation
(NRSVA) New Revised Standard Version Apocrypha
(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation