When I created this blog, I did not foresee it becoming one about me and my spiritual journey. I was not intending to target a specific audience, or push anyone away because it got too religious. So, I just want to say that I hope that no matter what you believe, you feel welcome to follow me on my journey. Please do not feel like I'm only writing to other Christians...or that tomorrow you'll see me standing on a box downtown yelling at people to accept Jesus. That's not my style. I've just endeavored to record my daily gratitudes, and it feels dishonest if I leave out the truth.
Okay. That was my disclaimer because this entry is solely about me and The Big Guy Upstairs.
But before I explain, I'd like to talk about the photo I've chosen for today, because that belongs with my daily gratitudes. It was taken by one of my friends in Greece while he was on a fishing trip. Granted, after this venture he caught a cold, but seeing this flaming sky was his silver lining--a photo that is of cellphone quality, with no filter--just a glimpse of the unadulterated beauty found on the Aegean Sea as the sun went down.
Receiving this photo in the midst of my workday flooded me with emotions. I felt awe, mostly, at the gifts we are afforded in nature, as well as some nostalgia...thinking of all the sunsets and sunrises I saw this summer. But for my friend to have captured this moment and sent it to me was truly a gift, and I'm thankful he thought to share it with me.
Now, for the best moment of my day.
To set the stage: today was a landmark in my recent endeavor to seek God, and without going into too much detail, I'll just say I was feeling physically and mentally exhausted. I also developed a cough yesterday, which was better today, but still left me feeling drained. But more than that, I was feeling angsty. What I thought would be the end of my road suddenly felt like the half-way point, and I was fretting.
Yes, we are told to not be anxious about anything, but I was unclear of what God was asking me to do, and so I was stuck in a weird place.
So, I came home from work (around 7:30pm) and got my laundry started and decided I was going to dedicate the next--however long---time to God. I will pray. No agenda. I will humble myself on my living room floor and pray.
At first, I did nothing except repeat the Jesus prayer, something I learned about through Scott Cairns memoir, Short Trip to the Edge (which, surprise surprise, takes place in Greece). He recites this prayer a lot, similar to meditation chants, as a way of centering one's self and freeing one's mind.
(For the curious, the Jesus prayer is simply: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.")
I don't know how many times I said that, but I kept repeating it until everything that was crowding my brain left, and I was able to envision Jesus' absolute love ... in that he does have mercy on me, a sinner, because he took every sin of mine upon himself and put it to death, so that I might live.
And then I was grateful, abounding in gratitude, for this unearned gift.
After that, I was able to pray and petition for the things I felt I needed to pray for, and I just was overcome with a sense of peace, of weightlessness. Jesus tell us that his yoke is easy and his burden is light, and he wants us to take what is his. He promises to refresh us--and give rest to our souls. It was as though I was being liberated, set free, from all that was weighing me down.
At the end of my prayer time, I realized 45 minutes had gone by. Now, in the grand scheme of a day, that's nothing. But for me to have uninterrupted prayer time, where I'm not sidetracked by traffic or interrupted by text messages or thinking of my grocery list, this was a long time for me of nothing but pure prayer.
And I feel AMAZING.
It really did refresh my soul.
One thing we've been talking about this last week is that those who seek will find, and I want to say that I can testify to that. When you seek with all your heart, not only will you find, but you also will be found.