We began this past week, talking about perseverance, questioned what “they” may be up to, searched for wisdom, focused on trusting and looked at whether or not it was indeed the Lord’s Prayer.
Another busy week, so we’ll pause to look back at the week that was, on this edition of “Becoming Today”
It all began with a topic I called, “Per Severe”. Noting it was indeed not grammatically correct, it did heighten the issue I was looking to press through.
To persevere allows us the ability to get through the tough times, that no matter how severe things may seem, realize we have the ability to overcome and continue our becoming.
For several days I have felt this way. I have not been able to put my finger on it. I’m just ill at ease, anxious and dealing with some physical manifestations of anxiety.
Now I think I understand the source of my nagging concerns and while reviewing some of my symptoms I have certainly found what needs to be done to correct them.
Yes worry, doubt, fear do manifest themselves in us physically.
According to professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Arthur Barsky, “When you are under stress or anxious, this system kicks into action, and physical symptoms can appear — headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, shakiness, or stomach pain”.
Four out of five. That’s what I’ve been experiencing for about four days now. Severe stomach distress, indigestion, heartburn, nausea, and far messier episodes of a distressed digestive system. Plus the headaches, and at times an inability to focus and balance myself properly.
Numerous sources across the medical communities agree that these symptoms are related to the body responding to the mind and they are almost unanimous in their suggested treatments which include things like exercise, learning to relax, and eating healthy foods, but none I found would even consider what I have learned is the best option…
… that option is prayer.
As the Bible reports, quoting Jesus in Matthew 18:10 (N I V):
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven”.
So since we know we can gather exponentially here on the Internet I’m calling for you to assist me. Not only with my healing in the moment, but also in ensuring a peaceful completion of this week.
A strong well developed prayer life is truly the foundation for the arrival of nothing less than miracles along our shared paths.
Prayer is the process of “abiding in Him” ( John 15:4-5 ).
When we participate in open, honest, steadfast prayer it is more than talking. It also involves listening. To pray involves listening with our hearts, for in doing so our Spirit is transformed. That is a time of joyous celebration and revelation that we are truly “Becoming”.
“Rejoice in the Lord always…”, the simple phrase in Phillipians not only reassures us, but also directs us to not be anxious, worried or overly concerned about anything, because in every situation by prayer with thanksgiving we can make our requests, cast our cares and / or cry out for help from the Lord.
When we do, the Peace of Christ will be with us, in us and all around us. That strengthens us, secures us, stabilizes our situations and selves, lifting our minds, hearts and spirits. I can’t speak for you, but it not only sounds pretty good to me, it has been amazing in my life.
A prayerful intercession will be healing, calming, strengthening, building, growing and most of all “Becoming”.
Tuesday I asked, “Do They Matter?”.
Who are “They”? Does anybody really know?
It’s one of those questions that if we are not, we probably should be asking ourselves on a regular basis.
The individual ways we can realize our own transformative transition will vary greatly. No two people are alike, nor are we created to be the same. Embracing our differences and affording each other the compassion, dignity and respect which we are due ourselves will help to form our own maps along this journey.
So that’s why we have to ask the question, who are “they”? Why are “they”motivated or feeling obligated to weigh in on, or attempt to influence your personal path of “Becoming”.
Even for those not walking our combined paths,or those who may be and do not yet realize it, I think many times everyone is faced with questions:
Who are “they”? And do “they” really matter?
While especially in recent times we are all confounded with this issue of “They”–”They” say this, “They” want that, “They” tell you what “They” believe you should or should not do, “They” amplify their voices about what “They “ oppose and “They” insist you are going about it all wrong.
Even though “They” are vocal, make a lot of noise and seem to always have something to say about us, our beliefs or desires, do any of us really know who “They” are.
So my first reaction when I get hit with a ‘well “They” say… is to respond ; often a bit too passionately…
I don’t care!
Anyway, who are “They”?
And maybe “They” need to be more concerned about themselves.
Then when I regain my composure I get back to or focus for today on Who Are “They”?
So from there we need to undertake a deeper understanding of who “They” are. Why are “They” motivated to say what “They” are and is there a larger them behind “They”.
I always say to follow the money.
Life has revealed to me many times over that “They” are often a special interest group, some kind of extremist or a vocal minority. If these are the cases you really need to consider your sources. If “They” are without you asking for their opinion feeling obliged to not so gently correct your beliefs, philosophies or attitudes, you may need to see who “They” really are.
Too many times in recent history we see individuals and groups claiming they are one thing, when really they aren’t . In fact may “They” can be motivated by the complete opposite of who they are allegedly standing up for or trying to “help”.
We see this regularly. Groups that claim to be Christians that publicly encourage violence against others. Organizations that in the name of religion organize terror attacks against differing beliefs and elected officials who despite affirming oaths do anything but serve the public interest.
These are all examples of some of those blood boiling times when I want to scream, I don’t care! Anyway, who are “They”? And maybe “They” need to be more concerned about themselves.
But when I step aside from my emotions, I realize I do care. We do need to be concerned not only to protect ourselves but also to offer level headed responses for others to understand something is amiss with the claims of “They”.
Wednesdays are currently the day we gather together to undertake a search and rescue mission for wisdom. In “Amazing Awareness” we explored Proverbs chapter 19 together.
Again today’s chapter is like a greatest hits album. These are wise sayings attributed to Solomon, a man many consider among the wisest to ever live.
His love for wisdom, both gaining it and sharing it came from his deep abiding love for his fellow man. It was his desire that those in his kingdom live meaningful happy lives. That’s why many of his teachings deal with everyday living, like relationships, practical matters, and how to deal with obstacles.
In verse two of today’s reading he makes this point very directly, “The best way to live is with revelation-knowledge, for without it, you’ll grow impatient and run right into error”.
This passage takes our understanding of knowledge to a different level. It goes beyond information or just knowing something. Revelation-knowledge is more than an intellectual comprehension of something. It is wisdom gained directly from the Source. It is the realization of truth coming directly into your heart from God. When you truly know something you must embrace it in your heart. Our minds will play tricks on us, even try to deceive or mislead us.
When God puts it in our hearts, we can trust it and should live it. Should you choose not to, as Solomon cautions in verse three, “There are some people who ruin their own lives and then blame it all on God”. Nothing good can come from that. Being wise involves the free acceptance of personal responsibility for our choices and thoughts.
The attitudes and beliefs we have are not anyone else’s doing.
So as verse eight instructs, “Do yourself a favor and love wisdom. Learn all you can, then watch your life flourish and prosper!
On Thursday I had another question for you, “Do You Trust, Trusting?”.
Trust is one of those things we’re constantly told we should be doing and sometimes we believe we are. However that’s not always the case even if we believe what we are saying.
So what does trusting actually mean?
We know it’s important, there are reminders of that fact almost constantly and here in the US you need only go as far as your wallet for a reminder of “In God We Trust”.
Though many who believe or claim they are, really are not.
Let’s come to a common understanding of the definition of trust.
“Exhibiting and practicing full faith and confidence in an idea or individual, with reasonable expectation and reliance on their abilities to operate with the sureness of truth”
That seems like a lot to ask. It is. This is where we need to accept the idea that there are varying levels of trust that are perfectly acceptable.
For example it’s okay to trust the garbage collection service will haul your trash away, but you should not expect them to be trusted to deliver the mail, much less to transport you to eternal salvation.
There is trusting within limits and trusting implicitly. Therefore when using the term we need to understand that we should treat trust with differing levels of accountability, expectation and protection.
I don’t use the word childhood when discussing my past. I was always expected to be a short adult and circumstances dictated that I grow up a lot sooner than most. So let me say early in life I was taught to trust no one. Keep everything secret, do not tell anyone anything because they’ll use it against you.
This is not the proper lesson on developing trust. It is one I had to spend many years unlearning.
I had to learn early that there is a significant amount of discernment necessary, even coming to understand that for my own protection I had to trust others outside of the ones we are commonly expected to believe in. In addition I had to trust that inner knowing to not let the ones I was supposed to trust find out I was trusting others.
I could go on for several chapters on that, so for the purposes of our discussion today let me just say, I have known people with ties to organized crime that had more honor and were more trustworthy than some of those who publicly portrayed themselves as saints or claimed to be called to help.
In my early life trust was intertwined with secrets, lies and hiding. The good news is I have come to know that truth and faith are what truly go hand in hand.
Faith empowers our ability to trust.
Practicing faith. Doing it presently and actively. As we learn in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”.
Faith is built upon a foundation of confidence affording us ‘with reasonable expectation’, to be able to rely on those or that we are trusting ‘to operate with the sureness of truth’.
“Becoming “confident in this and living expectantly with an open heart towards the concept, as the Scriptures remind us in Hebrews 11:6 it is lovingly satisfying to the one we should be seeking trust in and with. As it is written, “… without faith it is impossible to please God,…”
When we endeavor to be “Becoming” one who pleases God, then our trust in Him is rewarded.
Some of those edifying, enriching, illuminating benefits include allowing us to live a life free from many burdens, without anxiety, depression, fear, stress, or worry.
Yesterday’s headline was “Lord’s Prayer. Maybe?”.
Less than 50 words that have a lasting impact which can fill volumes.
The Lord’s Prayer as I first learned it was a direct teaching given by Jesus Christ. As I mentioned some now want to dispute that, which we’ll touch upon, but first let’s explore the simplicity and deep meaning of this instrument of connection with God.
The Lord’s Prayer is recorded in two of the four Gospels. It appears with slight differences in Luke 11: 2-4 and in Matthew 6:9-13.
Here’s how it appears in Luke in the NIV Version:
He said to them, “When you pray, say: “ ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’ ”
The “He” referred to is Jesus. So this prayer as written above are the words of Christ as he instructs His Disciples.
When He taught them to pray unlike the authority figures of my early days, he did not intend it to be a rote incantation. Rather it was to be used as a model of prayer. One that embodies praise, worship, petition, supplications, intercessions, thanksgiving and having a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father.
An aside here, you may have noticed when referring to my own life, I never use the word childhood. I never had the opportunity for what is commonly understood as being a child. When someone asks, when you were a “kid”? I stop them and say “I never was”. Rather I reply “ I was short for a while and then grew out of it”.
That is just the way it was. I was expected to be a small adult and perform that role quietly with no training or even a list of expectations. I had to fight my way through it and take the punches (literally) as they came.
I share this not for pity. That is something I do not embrace and will not accept.
I simply am telling this part of my story for those out there who need to hear it. There is a way out. You will survive and things do get better.
Learning that I could talk to God about anything and receive inspiration, protection and knowledge to survive and thrive was indeed life changing, and these words in the Lord’s Prayer helped me see that there were options available.
In teaching His Disciples this model of prayer they and now we can see and choose to accept that if we will obediently and humbly submit ourselves to the authority of Our Father who art in heaven that we can ‘Always Be Becoming”.
Though some scholars want to debate the authenticity of prayer’s origins. To which I shared,
“While I certainly do not consider myself or attempt to infer that I am a biblical scholar, it seems debating this minutia is divisive. It doesn’t bring us together, nor unite us in the strengths of faith. It distracts and draws attention away from the pure intentions of the prayer.
While I choose to believe the words were directly inspired by and related to the Disciples by Jesus himself, I do not feel a need to break down every possible syllable nor the punctuation.
I choose to believe.
I testify that this simple prayer, designed as a model to help us build a personal, one on one relationship with God, just as it did that for me. Plus I know it can for you.
Take some time to reflect upon these words and they develop your own phrasings, so that you are comfortable in communicating your need and gratitude with God who is ordering our steps along this shared path we call ‘Becoming Today’.”
I hope you enjoyed this past week as much as I have. Enjoy yourself this weekend. Stay safe, be responsible and come Monday, please choose to join us for our next edition of “Becoming Today”.