Jonah 3: 1-10
If someone told you that if you didn’t stop doing something you would soon be dead, would you stop doing that thing which is destroying you? I think most of us, if given the chance would indeed stop and choose to live! Jonah called out to the people, telling them that if they didn’t change they would soon be dead; and the people quickly turned from their death dealing ways and chose life.
Most of the time, we don’t have a Jonah though. We don’t have someone telling us to stop some negative pattern of behavior so that we might experience the best Life has to offer. Or if we do, we take their call to us as a personal affront, instead of seeing it as a gesture of love and concern for our well being. Most of the time we go about our negative habits or patterns of thinking or behavior totally denying how they are affecting us and those around us.
Don’t you want to really live? Don’t you want to get out there and drink life in?
When we’re caught in some bad habit, some negative pattern it literally sucks the life out of us, doesn’t it? Think about some negative thinking you might have, some negative behavior, some ingrained bad habit. Doesn’t it sap the life out of you, not to mention those around you?
I believe that God wants us to live, wants us to drink life in and get rid of those things that hold us from doing just that. Lent then really isn’t about gloom and doom. It’s about rising from the graves that we’ve built for ourselves. It’s about naming the lie that this or that behavior is going to make me feel better; when in reality it’s sucking the life out of me! It’s about letting go of that which has kept us mired in winter’s lifelessness. It’s about taking some small step away from something which is killing us or those around us and stepping into a new springtime of living!
“They that hope in God will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.”
Tired of trying to do it all yourself?
When I look back on my life I see that I am most happy when I have surrendered to a Power greater than myself, when I have stopped trying to control my life or someone else’s. I quickly get insane when I try to control or when I cling to another. When I let go and allow a Power greater than myself to take care of that person I’m worried about, or those things within my own life about which I’m concerned, then life takes on a much more peaceful feel.
So how can I let go? How can I surrender? Ask this Power to direct my thinking. Talk out my actions and motivations with trusted people. Then simply just put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing. That usually does it for me.
It is when I am doing these things that my energy begins to increase and I find myself a much happier person, running and not growing weary!
Matthew 7: 1-5
“Why look at the speck in your brother or sister’s eye when you miss the plank in your own.”
How often we harbor judgments toward others, especially if we have been hurt or betrayed. This judgment can turn into a huge resentment, sapping any semblance of peace within us. Perhaps this statement of the Christ holds a key to freedom. Don’t keep passing judgment. Don’t keep looking at how you have been wronged. Look instead at your own shit. In 12-Step programs they talk about keeping your side of the street clean; that is, don’t be taking other people’s inventories all the time. Keep the focus on you and on the path that you’re walking. Take your own inventory, not that of others. This process yields greater insight than when we are focused on what someone else is doing or not doing. “Remove the plank from your own eye first; then you will see clearly to take the speck from your brother or sister’s eye!”
When we keep the focus on ourselves and simply work our spiritual program, when we keep the focus on making sure our side of the street is clean, then we will be given the insight we need to deal with others.