1 Jan 2015

Here we are - again - a little more Brave

For many years now I have kept to this habit.

As my birthday falls on the last day of the year; it seemed fitting to spend some of the day in reflection and prayer. When I first began this habit twenty some years ago, it was of course filled with zest and vindicated by a wonderful list of 'things accomplished' and 'things to look forward to'. It's great to feel your life making sense and moving towards Promise.

In between, there have been hard years, and the habit has been at times --


There were those years when looking back brought mostly tears. When looking forward was frightful. When a thick silence hung between heaven and earth so my beautiful journal was a blank.

I have tried praying, fasting, flipping my Bible to see where it may land - because, honestly, I needed some serious help. Life was not getting easier. Marriage, ministry, children, parents, siblings, friendship, world events... and some days it feels they are like the ribbons and I the May Pole - just that the dance isn't merry but fierce with sudden movements and I am wound up and stuck and suffocating...

Just as we thought Osama has been taken down, the economy is stabilizing, the mystery of the missing plane is fading from memory; we have fresh news of our impotence once again. The world stage is but a large screen projection of what is previewing in our little apartments and hearts: mystery trumps mastery.

But we operate by mastery. Really, when we cut a life down to it itty-bitty parts; it is mostly habit.

Our thought patterns are often habitual. We don't often think new, grand thoughts. We screen, interpret and decide pretty much the way we have done as long as it worked well enough. The way we talk and relate to people is often habitual too; we even find ways to talk with different people and can switch that on when we are with that person. Most of our emotions are knee-jerk-habitual as well.

Heart-warming elements in great stories are written around habits. Love that character? Why of course, just look at the way he lights and smokes his pipe when he wants to think, or look at how she wakes up and checks on her little garden each morning. The habits endear us and make these characters life-like. But story-book character habits live in our imagination, not share our bedroom or eat at our table.

Journaling, reflection and prayer is perhaps the habit to examine all habits! It is the habit that opens the window to Mystery.

Mind you, a civil war can break out. Habits are very resilient. They won't go quietly away and suffer adjustment without a fight. But they are also interestingly reasonable. When you can unpack a habit and remove what energises it, changes can come.

The last few years, I have given myself more space, and the habit to wrap the year-end-and-start with reflection, prayer and listening sometimes stretches into weeks. I remind myself it is not a medal I pursue but a model of life I desire.

Life and Love after all, cannot be forced.

So souls, today I am listening to these two songs and I think you will enjoy them too:


The perfect wisdom of our God

Here we go, another year, a little more brave.

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