Strengthening the Soul (6)

Sometimes life is very difficult and even painful.coffee cup (1).jpg

Some of this pain is due to loss. Do any of these sound familiar to you?

  • The loss of a friend due to a move, a job change, or simply drifting away from one another.
  • The loss of a team. You feel as you are alone on your job. You miss the team at your former job.
  • The loss of your youth. Maybe you see this in your appearance, your weight, or other body features.
  • The loss of your health.
  • The loss of your financial security.
  • The loss of your dream.
  • The loss of your job.
  • The loss of your church. You are at a different church now. You really feel the losses.
  • The loss of your innocence.
  • The loss of your faith.

So often, we attach ourselves to something that promises to relieve us of pain. We may watch television from morning to night. We may constantly be in a hurry, scurrying from one activity to the next without really being present for any of them. Some of us spend more money than we have, while others of us eat more than we ought. Then some live in the dark world of pornography. Still others lose themselves in their families or careers.

Peter Scazzero in his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, writes:

The world is filled with illusions and pretense. We convince ourselves that we cannot live without certain earthly pleasures, accomplishments, and relationships. We become “attached” (or “addicted,” to use a contemporary word). We attach our wills to the belief that something less than God will satisfy us. We think if we just accomplish that one big goal, then we will really feel content and good about ourselves. We will be “finished” and able to rest.

But slowly we find the accumulation of things–clothes, new electronic toys, cars, houses–no longer gives us the initial “rush” it once did. The great feeling wears off, so we convince ourselves we need more. We are seduced by the false gods of status, attention, and fame. We fall captive to the illusion that if we just get a few more words of praise from a few more important people, it will somehow be enough.

Does this sound familiar?

We are in pain and so we withdraw. We keep to ourselves. We share our true thoughts with no one. When this pain is not dealt with, we often mask it through some kind of addiction. We will do anything to somehow take the pain away. The problem is that these attachments or addictions only mask pain.

Perhaps, what many of us need is to spend time before God in solitude and silence. Regular time with God will not only help you to see your true self but will be a time to meet God.

If you are not in the habit of doing this, start with ten minutes. Ten minutes with no phone, computer, texting, etc. Ten minutes with no radio or television. Pay attention to your thoughts during this time. Pay attention to what you might feel. Pray that just for a moment that you will see yourself as God sees you.


Question:
What daily or weekly habits have been particularly helpful to you as you attempt to stay attuned to what you are feeling/thinking and what God is calling you to become?


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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11 thoughts on “Strengthening the Soul (6)

  1. Another excellent post and one to which I can relate. Everyone has a story of loss and pain to tell, I’m sure. My way of learning to deal with this pain is to write things down in letters and prayers to the Lord on my computer – I type faster than I write. I’m much more focused when I see in print what I think. I’m not nearly as distracted in my thoughts. I can then also go back and see how I felt a year ago about something similar and how the Lord brought me through – which is such an encouragement and grows my faith. In my line of work I find that I need to be the listener to people of all walks of life as they share their struggles. Over the years I’ve finally realized that the only true friend who will listen to me is Jesus – and He is enough! At first that realization hurt deeply – I wanted Jesus with ‘flesh’ on – but the Lord has brought me through those feelings as well.

    • Karin, what a wonderful practice! I can see how the discipline of writing can help you with focus and clarity with your thoughts. My own experience with writing is very similar. Thanks.

  2. I spend the first hour or so of every weekday centering myself. Prayer, reading from Scripture, contemplation, reading a chapter or two from whatever book (or books) I happen to be reading at the time, even time in silence. Some days (like today) I can spend hours. Other day’s I’ve got more strict of a schedule. It keeps me centered: on Christ, on the Kingdom, and upon my role in all of this.

    Glory to God!

    Jason

    • Jason! Good to hear from you.

      This sounds like a wonderful discipline that you practice. So glad you went into detail in describing what you do. Very helpful. Thanks.

  3. I do several things. For one, and probably the biggest one, I keep the house quiet as much as I can. No TV, radio, CDs, music – just silence. This is a tremendous benefit to spending time in prayer and talk with God.

    Second, I, too, write and also read others thoughts, these days mostly through blogging, but even on Facebook. As you know, I have no worked for a long time now due to disabilities from being diabetic for more than 40 years, so I have considerable “free time,” which is wonderful. Tom just retired two weeks ago, and that is going to be a big adjustment in some ways probably, but so far it’s been wonderful for both of us.

    We each have our own things we like to do and geared up for retirement by getting ourselves each new good computers that we both use a whole lot. For me, my Christian blogging family is the best!! I can nearly always find someone with whom to commiserate or to lift up and encourage or to be encouraged by them. Just as I am when I come here! ALWAYS!

    When I can’t sleep at night, and as I go to sleep, I talk with God and all the things in my heart. You might think that’s not the best time to do so, but I find it is as the cares and pains of the day slip away into slumber and sleep and rest.

    Thanks for your post today!

    Dee

    • Dee,

      What a wonderful comment! I love your opening lines. There is something about the silence that you describe that has to be nurturing and healthy.

      Know that your comments, Dee, do good and encourage. You, at your computer, are connecting with many, many people. You are respected as an encourager.

      Thanks again, Dee. Great to hear from you!

  4. Jim, I have recently started a habit (ritual?) that I find helpful. Every night I light four candles to start my time of prayer. Each candle is for one of my children (and my husband’s children). I then pray specifically about each child and his/her family. This has helped me keep a more regular time of daily prayer. I also have found this helps me to manage my anxiety about my kids now that they’re grown and no longer close by for me to nurture and “guide.” When I start to worry about something related to them, I bring to mind that glowing candle and it is a reminder that God is caring for them and I need not worry. He is faithful and certainly equal to the task!

  5. Connie, I really like your practice. This discipline could be very helpful to so many of us who feel called to regularly life up certain people in prayer daily. Thanks.