Last week was a little strange because my daughter was in London all week; I was in Louisiana. She returns home today. I’ve missed her so much, but I have cherished her text messages with multiple exclamation points following all the things she has experienced while traveling. I can’t wait to hug and kiss her, listen to her stories, and be in her presence again. I have been thinking about what I reflect to her through my behavior and practices. And in that vein, here is my plan for the week:
I’m forgoing the need to be right. Right before my daughter left for London, she and I were having a debate about whether one of her cousins lived in Paris or New Orleans. I believed Paris, she said it was New Orleans. I knew I was right and when we were able to verify it, I was. And, it was important to me. Later, I reflected on this and wondered why I wanted to be right so badly. What difference did it make? In me, the need to be right comes from an unhealthy, unloving place. Usually, it stems from wanting to be in control, to exert power over someone else, or to prove my value. So much better to be wise and loving. I’m praying for wisdom and the strength to be loving instead of right.
I’m paying attention to what I’m feeding myself. “A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about the tragedy on September 11. He said, ‘I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is vengeful, angry, and violent. The other one is loving and compassionate.’ The grandson asked, ‘Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?’ The grandfather answered, ‘The one I feed.’” (Contemplation in Action, Richard Rohr and friends) This story deeply resonated in me. Have you noticed how so many news events turn into vitriolic polarizing screaming matches? There is so little room for love and grace. We prefer retribution to restoration. And there is so much food for that wolf. I want to bring love and compassion only, always. So, I’m praying God increases my ability to love and show compassion, and I’m reading books, listening to music, and watching shows or movies that feed love and increase my compassion.
I’m noticing where I seek praise from people. In Romans 2, Paul says, “a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.” (Romans 2:29b) I mostly seek praise from other people. I’m praying God will continue to change my heart and my desires so that I seek his praise alone.
I’m reading a Psalm before bed instead of email and Facebook. I fall asleep in prayer, sleep peacefully, and wake up more refreshed when I read Scripture right before bed. When I read Facebook or emails before bed, I am anxious and worried about the next day’s tasks. Reading any Scripture is good, but I find Psalms best because they are self-contained, whereas a passage from Samuel or Hebrews is hard to just jump into in the middle.
What does your week look like?
What are you reflecting to those around you?
From whom are you seeking praise most?