Matthew 5 (The Message)
“When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives His best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good, the bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
At first, I went down the usual line with this passage. Bless those who curse, etc. I do want to use my energies to pray rather than to respond in anger. It says that if I pray instead of react “I am working out my true self.” I want to be who I really am when I am alone and especially when I am with others.
Father, help me to pray instead of react.
Then while I was in the bathroom straightening my hair another stream of thinking took place. I could hear and feel the swarm that goes on in my mind and heart at times. That overwhelming feeling of anxiety and movement toward some nebulous next thing.
I wanted to take a deep breath and be in the moment, receiving “the sacrament of the present moment.” I heard God say, “I love you, right now, in this moment.”
My backtalk took off. I really don’t believe He loves me when I am doing nothing or even when I am doing something—whether that something is good or bad. I am constantly striving to reach that place of being/doing the “right” thing. The thing that brings peace/satisfaction/joy. There is this nebulous “next thing” that I am pushing toward.
I must choose to believe that I am loved even if I am not doing all the things I “should” or if I am doing the things I “shouldn’t.” I don’t think I will be free of this anxiety until I can realize more deeply that You love me in every moment no matter what I am doing or how I am acting.
Today, I will acknowledge when I become aware of that anxiety and I will counter it by reminding my self that I am loved in that moment. I will take a deep breath and experience the grace of that moment.
Father, will you please calm the racing inside of me as I learn to believe Your love. I am sorry that I spurn Your love. You sent Your Son and still I can’t enter into it. But that will change. I am going to “respond with the energies of prayer, for then I am working out my true self.”