This morning I went up to church early to share in our time of solitude in the auditorium.
It was a time for renewal, a time for reflection, and a time to connect with God. My time was certainly blessed by the presence of God who led me in challenging ways. Much of it was inspired by what I saw around me during this time:
– Seeing a husband and wife together on their knees in prayer throughout the time of solitude and prayer
– Seeing a woman smiling during her time if silence, happy in the presence of God and happy doing something that fills her cup.
– Seeing candles lighted, flickering around, persistent in their light and yet gentle in their beckoning.
– Having music and words of faith being poured over me in my moments, and finding my heart touched and lifted up in the worship of The Lord of Lords and King of Kings
– In my time of silence, for the first time in a long time I noticed how my body is weak and tired and emptied, and desiring of renewal.
I walked away hearing God’s voice, calling to his beloved. I heard God calling in three different ways.
1) I heard him calling me to let go of doing and achieving. I heard him calling me to stop judging others. I heard him calling me to not neglect my spiritual life and to seek him in prayer and reflection- and not to blame the neglect on something else. I heard God calling me to serve with purpose, as I have now taken on the great calling of husband and father and can’t give endlessly at this point. Seek God. Seek and find the one who has always been by my side and brings me joy. I love seeing people whose faith brings them so much joy and I love the contentment that sets upon those who wait on and in the Lord. It’s amazing to be around those happiness comes from God’s peace and grace filled love.
2) In another related vein, I heard God calling me to be filled with happiness and to care for myself as I try to care for others. I often neglect myself and call it selfless. But I have to have moments where I fill my life with positive things (outside of being husband and father) and do the things that renew my happiness. Yet this is fearful for me. For years I have done things because I really just wanted to serve- I worked at a children’s home for a while, worked at a residential home for special needs ladies, served children and families at the hospital, got into the muck of dying and death and trauma, answered calls to make for others when they are sick, helped others when they are stressed or scared and needing a presence of comfort, moved away from those I lived because I wanted to serve. I have served. And yes there are times when this serving becomes self indulgent or self serving because I serve not because it is joyful but because I want to please God or simply help others. It has good intentions, but once in a while becomes defeating for me. So when God calls me to renew my own happiness ,I have a little trembling and a little fear. I feel lost to some extent. I don’t know what will renew me. I don’t know what to ask for or want or do that will restore strength and keep the smile I love to have. You know, the little things that we do for self care (not large scale things per se) like time of solitude or massages or playing sports or whatever? All I have really ever wanted was to help others and that has brought me happiness because I fulfill the call. But for myself? I don’t know how to recharge. I want my wife to be happy and so full of joy. I want my son to be happy and overcome with love and joy. I want my baby to be jumping in the womb, happy because of its love and the love received from it’s expecting mother and father and brother. I know what they want to be happy, but outside of making them happy, what can I do for myself to renew and recharge? I must admit, I don’t know. I try and find blessings, but it’s been more if a struggle lately to recharge in the midst of life. Perhaps this is all a little too self obsessed and I am open to hearing the feedback because I want to constantly learn and grow beyond myself.
3) When I consider myself as the beloved of God, I can’t help but look around and be overcome with the reality that I love my wife and kids, love my church and my family in Cali. I love them and love my job too. I have a great life, and every day is a gift and that is the perspective I want every moment of my life. I truly am blessed. That was the message I ultimately heard- that God is here and present and that he calls me his beloved and showers blessings over me!