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Archive for January, 2005

Which way?

I have started to read a book by Valerie E. Hess and Marti Watson Garlett. PH.D entitled Habits of a Child’s Heart  Raising Your Kids with the Spiritual Disciplines  (long title huh?!)  This is recommended by Richard Foster.  I wanted to share a quote and a prayer that I got out of this book.  Maybe I will be sharing a lot more from the book later.

The quote is a Chinese proverb… 

"Unless we change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed."

I think this is a good proverb to ponder on, but if, as the following prayer states, we have no idea where we are going, then, we have no idea if we should change direction.  Maybe we are headed in the right direction but we just can’t see the end.  That is why we need external guidance.   

Here is the prayer by Thomas Merton;

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me.
    I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.  And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
    I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
    And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.  I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

This prayer echoes my own thoughts and feelings right now.  I cannot read it without tears coming to my eyes. So much of what lays ahead is unknown to Jason and I.  Will I get a job? When will I get a job? Will the landlord raise the rent? Will we get all the bills paid?  Why does it seem like we are wandering in the wilderness?  Have we gone the wrong way?  (I know that I have a lot to learn and I hope that it is not my fault that we are wandering. But if it is, Lord, change me, teach me, help me to adjust my ways and my thinking.)
    Now I feel I must just repeat the ending of that prayer by T. Merton

I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.  And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
    I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
    And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.  I will not
fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my
perils alone.

Thank you God, for the assurance that you will never leave us or forsake us.  Thank you, that even though I may feel lost or stranded, you have promised to lead us and guide us. Thank you for your word that is a light on the path so my feet will not stumble.  Thank you for your presence, in the shadow that is so oppressive.  I will not fear, for you are ever with me. You never have left me to face my perils alone.  You are so good!!

 

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I was filling out an application at a department store yesterday.  Part of the application process was a  personality profile test.  One question in particular stopped me in my tracks.  It was something like "Are you satisfied with your life?" What would your answer be? I am somewhat satisfied with my life.  I am very satisfied with my life.  I am not satisfied with my life.  Yeah, well, it might be easy for you to pop out an answer to that, but it is not for me.  A security guard had passed by me while I was typing in my answers and asked if everything was going okay. Maybe I was taking longer than most people.   I said yes, even though I was having trouble answering these probing questions.  He said, "I know some of those questions are tricky."  Tricky?  Yes, like this one…"Do you think that your parents would be or are proud of what you have accomplished in your life?" Wow, why  is the answer to that suddenly plaguing me?  How could they be proud of me when I am not even proud of myself.  What about the bigger question.  Am I pleasing God?  I know that he loves unconditionally, but does he look at me and say "well done, good and faithful servant."         
I am thankful for his mercy.  That is  maybe a big copout but I know that he makes the rain fall on the just and the unjust. His mercy is new every morning.  I would probably quit trying if it weren’t for His mercy and love.  I am never going to be perfect.  So I may never be totally satisfied with my life.  I hope that doesn’t keep me from getting the jobs I try out for, ’cause I really need a job.  (Maybe I would feel more satisfied with life if I did have a job.)  I know I would be more happy if I didn’t have to fill out these personality profiles.  What do they need to know all this stuff for. Why not just ask me if I can learn to run a cash register?  Will I be polite to customers?  Can I problem solve on my own for the most part?  Will I be honest and not steal from them?  Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes.   When do I start?    
Okay, now I need to go start some laundry.  That I CAN do!!!!

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