Saturday, May 14, 2005


The one choice you can and should make on your own, however, is to turn or return to the Lord. This is humbling, and is meant to be. “Repent, then, and Turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you-even Jesus.” (Acts 3:19-20). You see, the only way to the Father is through His Son.

You might start by offering Him your heart to be healed, with prayers. And while I think of it, it wouldn’t do a bit of harm to begin a daily reading of the word. Start with something easy like Genesis if you want a suggestion, but it is also invigorating to start wherever you happen to open the Bible-- and proceed from there. (I find it rewarding to read back and forth between the Old and New Testament, but the Lord probably doesn’t care how you or I do it, as long as we do it).

Beliefs and actions, (faith and deeds), are both essential to the work of change. Those of faint heart need to remember that the Lord can take even the murkiest situations and turn them into victories!

To begin with, you will need to look underneath all the airs and poses; the troubled heart and mind (and body) are usually more chaotic than calm, more tense and closed-up than open to new ideas-- so full of conflicts while busily processing tendencies to “take action” in the old ways, that God will probably not readily get your attention-- and if he should decide to do so you may not like it. (“Pain as God’s megaphone...”, C. S. Lewis). It is likely that having some method of being in a truly receptive condition could make the whole thing go more easily.

A useful approach, tried and true, is to counter some of those old tendencies and tensions with the practice of doing absolutely NOTHING for brief periods. NOTHING can be a very important thing to do when you are seeking direction and guidance. Remember that the goal here is to relinquish “control” by letting go, and letting the Lord get a word in edgewise. St. Augustine said, “God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full-- there’s nowhere for Him to put it”.

You will only need to continue to breath, but you can’t stop doing that anyway because anatomically the breathing center is located in the brain-stem and is thoroughly automatic. Speaking of breathing, it is important to get air into all parts of your lungs; tense breathing is shallow and brief, sometimes breaths are omitted entirely-- bated breath. So just lean back, inhale and bring fresh air all the way down to your tummy (diaphragm), pause briefly, and gently let it all out-- and continue on in this way. You are not supposed to be foggy-headed or sleepy either; calm and clear minded is the goal. (The exception is that some people find that relaxing this way makes it easier to fall asleep at bedtime). While thus relaxing at any time you might focus on a line or two from scriptures, but otherwise try to keep your thoughts to a minimum; gently push out the intruders even as they enter in.

You should notice that when you do these things that those fears, tensions and worries tend to fade; your posture now says “Lord, I’m not doing anything at all, and it’s now up to you, do with me what you will”. In olden days the phrase would be “Lord, here is thy servant”.

It is probably a good idea to practice this together with scripture readings, several times a day at first. Incidentally, to try to use this procedure only when you especially feel upset or tense may attain only a small effect-- if any, though better than nothing. It is the practice (devotion) in between times, for a few minutes at a time, that puts us in a clear state of mind and body whenever we need do do some spiritual growing. How glorious that God is always present and near when we need him.

Do relax and let all your muscles go loose and relaxed. Smooth out your face and forehead-- why harbor pockets of care and worry anywhere? Jesus Himself said, “Peace I give you”; this then is one way to accept his offer. We now seek spiritual gifts!

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