In our spiritual life, we want to know if we are making progress, but much of growth and formation is intangible, so we have to look deeper than a mere measurement.
It wasn’t the answer I was expecting, but when we dug a little deeper, I could see the wisdom.
I was talking with a counselor, and I asked him how do we know if we are growing spiritually or not? There isn’t any objective measuring tool where we can say we have moved 5 points ahead or back. That would really open us up to feelings of pride or failure.
We are like a cup in which energy both fills and drains. But we can grow by paying attention to the cup and understanding the fillers and the drainers.
It was always a challenge to get them to care for themselves. They were always giving out to others, and I could see that life was being sucked out of them.
I explained that you can’t give out of an empty cup, but self-sacrifice and martyrdom had been drummed into them from childhood. They remembered that Sunday School song – J.O.Y. Jesus first, Yourself last, and Others in between sung to the merry little tune of Jingle Bells.
Words said, have power. Self-deprecation is to pray against the self, but we can learn to pray for the self and so develop healthier thinking patterns.
It was the words at the end of his sentence that caught my attention.
‘I’m so stupid; I always do things like that’.
You learn to notice them—little words used as qualifying comments that disempower the self.
I think that many of us have little words or sentences that we probably tell ourselves and others. Sometimes they slip out in conversation.
Maybe they are offered up as an excuse or reason for things being the way they are.
Most of these thought sentences are kept quietly to ourselves, where they can continue to shape and poison our thinking. We say them so many times that we become used to them. They are our default thinking regime.
As a child, I was taught to ‘not think too highly of oneself’ Romans 12:3 and that ‘pride comes before a fall’ Proverbs 16:18
Cast your bread. You can hold it to yourself, that special thing about you, but it is better for everyone if you ‘Cast your bread.’ Focus on the micro gifts of today.
Even in winter, the children still ask if there are strawberries to pick.
I manage a large vegetable garden at a primary school here in Auckland, and it always amuses me when the children ask me if there are any strawberries. They don’t yet fully understand the concept of seasons and having to wait.
That there is a time to sow and a time reap.
I enjoy harvest time. It’s so good to be picking fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the garden. One of the delights at the school is to pick some fresh ripe tomatoes and then slice a section and give it to a young child.
The taste is so much better than store-bought. Maybe because it’s been grown in soil, without vast amounts of chemical fertilizers and sprays, but also perhaps that the children are involved in the planting and the picking. Continue reading “Cast your Bread. It’s vital you do”
When we keep looking at the mountain of struggle, we can feel crushed, but when we know someone greater than the mountain is with us, we can find the help we need. Mountains move when we meditate on Gods goodness.
Where I live, I’m surrounded by mountains. They’re not very high mountains. The highest peak is only 196 meters high and has the name Mt. Eden and is a dormant volcanic cone.
The highest mountain I have been up to is Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs. At 4302 meters it’s so high that the breathing is difficult, but the views are fantastic.
A Mountain can be imposing
When you go to a place where there are many mountains it can be imposing.
How did I get here? Well, it was probably down a well-worn track in your brain that said ‘when you feel this feeling you do this.’ But we can choose new ways of behaving out of our emotions. When you are feeling anxious you can choose a new motion out of the emotion.
Last year when I was walking the Camino de Santiago I looked ahead on the path and saw the strangest thing. It was a thin black line across the trail.