As an author, words are important to me (Gem). Below are three words that have become especially meaningful to me recently. My prayer is that at least one of them will encourage you today.
A few years ago Alan and I attended the baptism of one of the newest members of our church community—a six-month-old boy. He had been long awaited and is much beloved by his parents and extended family. I follow his mom on Instagram and see the photos of him that she posts, and I must say that as a baby he had a unique face. So expressive, inquisitive, cherubic—almost like a little man. It’s a delight to watch him grow and see the love his parents shower on him.
As our bishop was holding the infant so that he could pour the water over his head, the baby leaned his head way back, as if in expectation. The entire congregation gasped and then giggled as this sweet one contorted his body. So much love. So much delight. Overwhelming love was directed at this one innocent, perfectly created little human.
I was not related to this child in any way, and yet I felt overwhelming delight. My mind immediately turned to God my Father. Can I imagine that God, my own Creator, might have that same sense of delight in me?
The delight in the room on that Sunday was so palpable and such a gift. I think it may have been the invitation I needed to believe at a deeper level that I am indeed a delight to God. If as mere mortals we take such delight in a little child, then God surely is capable of much greater love for and delight in us.
REFLECT: Are there ways in which you still struggle to believe that you are a delight to God and that you really are delightful? How would it change your view of yourself if you lived from such a place? How would it affect the quality of your relationships, your work, your life?
By now it’s no secret that I struggle with anxiety. On any given day I catch myself fretting at least once. Although I have learned to manage this much better in recent years, I’ve come to understand that I’m usually in that mode because I don’t think I have enough time to attend to the things that need to get done.
One time when this occurred, I stopped in my tracks and asked myself, “Do you have enough time?” I repeated slowly. “Enough. Time.” Of course I have enough time. I actually have more than enough time. So why am I acting like I don’t? There was no good answer to that question.
REFLECT: Do I have enough time to accomplish my work in peace? Do I have enough time to love the person in front of me? Do I have enough time for rest? And what is enough to eat? What is enough to own? What is enough to do? What is enough to know?
In my practice of contemplative prayer, I typically choose to focus on words like God, Jesus, or love. But lately a new word has opened to me and has proven helpful in bringing my mind back to focus on God’s presence: here.
When I say this word out loud, I enjoy a sense of comfort, peace, and presence. With one small, simple word I remember to rein in my thoughts and simply occupy the space in which I am sitting. I am here. God is here. That’s all that matters in this moment of prayer.
It’s nice to feel small once in a while. Grand plans and ideas for my life and work are fine, but simple presence is a true gift.
REFLECT: What does being here mean to you? In what ways can you experience the power of being right here, right now? How can you be more here in your relationships and work?
I hope one of these words proves helpful to you today. Feel free to use some of the reflection questions to spark prayer and discernment in your current season.
May these words open us to new levels of knowing the love and presence of God in our real, everyday lives.