This past Sunday driving to my evening study group, I found myself thinking about how throughout my life the negative, painful experiences have wounded me and how these experiences seem to be taken to heart easily, resounding within me. I have sought to be healed and transformed by them, learning much from many of these experiences. As I thought about this I began praying to become a person in whom the positive experiences in my life will be as deeply received, owned, digested and absorbed by my heart, mind and soul. I asked in my prayer and thoughts that evening, “Why is it more difficult to receive and absorb the positive, grace-filled, better moments of my life?”
The next day, I was hosting a Spiritual Direction Group. I studied Spiritual Direction for two years in a program. All of these folks went through that same program. We meet quarterly to share, pray, choose a book to read and discuss, and work on a Spiritual Direction case. I look forward to these meetings. In our discussion time, I brought up these thoughts and prayer. Everyone agreed that it was much more difficult to accept these positive expressions and experiences. One member said that we are always taught to think of others and in many ways conditioned to focus on loving God, others and rarely focusing on ourselves. I strongly identified with this statement.
In my earliest days of becoming a Christian I was taught, JOY was Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last. The problem was that in the ministry I was involved in, there was very little time to ever get to myself. My needs were neglected, ignored and I did not feel the right to care for my own soul in the way that it should have been cared for. I have learned since then how very important it is to take time to know myself, to own my weaknesses and work on them and to own my gifts. I have been practicing these things for quite a few years now and it has made a wonderful difference in my life. For that I am grateful.
After our Spiritual Direction meeting I was walking my dog on the “Creeper Trail” path and thought more about this and it dawned on me that in order to become a “MAGNET FOR THE POSITIVE, LOVING, GRACE-FILLED EXPERIENCES” I will need to make this a practice. Throughout each day and perhaps at the end of the day, I will point out to myself all the positive experiences that happen. I will write them in a tiny journal and read them often. PRAYER AND PRACTICE has brought about some major changes in other areas of my life. I think this will be very helpful in learning to let these experiences take preference in myself. I invite you to join me in this PRAYER AND PRACTICE OF THE POSITIVE if you too struggle with the balance of these two.
Here are a few good quotes concerning this issue:
He who would be useful, strong, and happy must cease to be a passive receptacle for the negative, beggarly, and impure streams of thought; and as a wise householder commands his servants and invites his guests, so must he learn to command his desires and to say, with authority, what thoughts he shall admit into the mansion of his soul. ~ James Allen
Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thanks for stopping by! Until next time…PEACE. ~ With love, Jeanne