The best thing about retirement is waking up in the morning without an alarm. Oh yes, I still wake up at 6:30 but now, I don’t have to get out of bed till I’m ready. I can lie there and luxuriate in that time between waking and sleeping. For me it feels like a moment of paradise with God. It’s a creative time.
One morning last week, as I awoke, I heard myself declare out loud, “I can do anything. I’m wonderful.” My husband stirred in his sleep, flopped his arm over me and whispered, “I love you.” Those words stayed with me all day. I believe that God was giving me a message.
The night before, I had been feeling overwhelmed. Life was too busy. The challenges had grown beyond my ability to cope. I wanted to give up. My night time prayer had been filled with moans. “I’m exhausted, God. I can’t do it. I’m just one person.”
When I had my personal counseling business, I told clients who were feeling inadequate, overwhelmed, beaten by life, to practice the following exercise. “At least five times a day, look in the mirror and say, “God loves me. I am wonderful. I can do anything.” The exercise had amazing results. Depressed, defeated people who followed my instructions found new life.
Last week, God reminded me to follow my own instructions. And so, I offer them to you. If you’ve been feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, a failure, change the message you’ve been giving yourself. God does love you. You are wonderful. With God, you can do anything. Add God’s power to your life.
“So God created humankind in God’s own image, in the image of God, they were created; male and female he created them…God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. (Genesis 1: 27, 31)
At my age, driving at night is not as easy as it used to be. The car lights coming at me are almost blinding. My car’s lights seem dimmer, the outside darker. My driving experience helps, but the bottom line is that I work harder to see in the dark today than I did twenty years ago.
Night driving reminds me of the journey of faith. Young eyes seem to see God clearly. A young child, busy with her crayons was asked, “What are you drawing.”
He answered, “God”.
“I’m not sure I know what God looks like,” the adult responded.
The child looked up and smiled. “Don’t worry,” he said, “you will as soon as I finish this picture.”
Children don’t have to turn on their bright lights and peer into the darkness. They know that God is there with them. They know God can be trusted. Adulthood brings a consciousness of the darkness around us. We see the problems in the world. We question God’s love. We tend to focus on the darkness, so we keep turning up our headlights hoping that we’ll be able to see God. We forget that God is there with us, supporting us, guaranteed. Even though we cannot understand everything that happens, we are not alone. God is with us. Thanks be to God.
“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15”
We worry about the people we love. We share our wisdom, sometimes even in lecture form. If that fails, we make rules. We do everything we can to help our child, our brother, our spouse, our friend. In the end our loved ones make their own decisions. We cannot make another person choose wisely. Even though we see the pit yawning ahead, we cannot force another person to turn aside. That’s tough, because we’re left to watch the disaster happen.
What does our faith have to say to us when we feel powerless to save or rescue our loved ones? In her book of daily reflections, Glimpses of Grace, Madeline L’Engle offers this advice: “Our job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible.”
I applied this principle to a concern I have with a friend. During my prayer time, I said to God, “Okay, I’m to take care of the possible. What is possible for me in this situation? What can I do for this person?
The answer came immediately. “Love him. You can love him.”
“Of course I can love him,” I responded. “I have loved him since the day he was born. Even today when he is making choices that will bring him pain, I love him. That’s easy, but, my love won’t force him to make good choices.”
Therefore, I applied the second part of Madeline L’Engle’s advice. “Trust God with the impossible.” Of course, I thought. I’ll give him to God. Jesus said, “I will be with you always, even unto the end of time.” (Matthew 28: 20) When I trust God with the impossible, I must let go of my need to bring about my friend’s transformation. God and he will figure it out. And whatever happens I can trust that he is God’s precious child, and God will never abandon him.
Following this principle is a struggle, but when I do, I find peace for my soul.