When I was a young person coming back to faith in Jesus in the mid 70’s I was taught I had the answers to the questions of life. My experience as I traversed different parts of the world and met different kinds of people that this was not all together true. Yes, my young life had changed as I made following and learning about Jesus a priority, but I had a lot to learn from the people I met. Yes, I could offer prayers and encouragement from my perspective and I did see people encouraged, and even recovered from sickness. Yet, I learned to be quick to listen, slow to speak. Well, I had to be, because I was learning a new language! One of the many gifts of learning a new language. I also was learning and seeing beautiful things in the culture and people around me that I had not learned in my own culture. I learned to look for what good things God was already doing in a person’s life and in their culture. I learned to affirm those good things. Of course every culture has it’s light side and dark side, including my own. Now as I look back on those early years I think it was arrogant and naive to believe I had all the answers. Is it possible that Christians are hoarding Jesus? Saying and teaching that the way I interpret his life and teaching is the only way seems a bit narrow and exclusive. As if I know all the mysteries of Christ who died for the sin of the world, the very same who is reconciling all things, all people, all creation to himself. I do believe those points. I just don’t pretend to know what they mean exactly or how it will happen.
Here in the form of a poem are some reflections from Mark 9:38 – 41 John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me…”
I am learning more about emotions these days. Learning to look back over my day or even a few days and identify my feelings and emotions. A much better practice then shoving them down or acting on them without thinking. Here’s an example from what I’ve been reading: Did I feel Anger?Sadness?Fear? Then connecting some dots to what brought on these feelings. This goes along with a contemplative prayer practice called The Prayer of Examen.
Here’s what was lurking in my subterranean depths the other day.
I was feeling anger at the injustice in our world.
I was feeling sadness that all our kids and their families live far away at this time.
I was feeling some fear of becoming insignificant, losing my strength, memory and voice as I grow older. Am I accomplishing anything important these days? Am I missing something?
Now that I have identified these feelings I can talk about them with loved ones and I can pray about them. Naming these emotions helps me work through the difficulties I may have faced that day. It also helps me sleep better!
I also see how important it is to help children with identifying their emotions and connecting them with what is going on in their lives. Not an easy task but so important for a life long practice.
Several years ago I began learning inner healing prayer practices. We learned to connect our current troubling emotions with memory of when we felt these before, until we hit on a spot in our pasts that flared up with these emotions. With finding these we were then able to invite Jesus into the painful memories and find healing. In this healing of finding him with us in our painful memories we were then able to deal with the present situation that was stirring up old emotions of loss, fear, anger, sadness, or abandonment.
Now having worked through the negative emotions, I can move on to look for positive ones.
Did I feel loved today, seen, heard, or appreciated? Did something make me laugh, or feel happy or peaceful? Spending a few moments appreciating these emotions leads right into gratitude. Gratitude is a great way to end any day.