Monday, April 6, 2015

A Short (Monday) Meditation After I Turned 40

I had a wonderful birthday yesterday.  It was also Easter (or Resurrection Sunday, depending on what you call it).  Sophia told me on Saturday she felt bad for me because at church, everyone would be coming up to me saying, "Happy Easter," instead of "Happy Birthday!" I told her, in a moment of divine inspiration, I was ok with it because I was glad to share my birthday with the most important day in the history of the universe.

(I don't know if she internalized that or not, but I did.  I think most of the time, what I say to my kids is really for me, not them.)

I got lots of presents and blessings.  My husband really went all out and even wants to keep going.  He wants to take me out, just the two of us.  I got to find a sitter!  He has been incredible, despite just a few "old" jokes.  I can take it, although I've, truthfully, been waiting to be 40 for a long time. 

For whatever reason, I feel legitimate now.

This sounds egotistical, but I don't mean it that way....but I feel like my age has finally caught up with my experience.  I've felt like an "elder," for awhile, but now, I could really qualify to be one.  (I'm sure those of you over 40 reading this will get a good chuckle about that statement.)  I still can't run for president, but that's not on my bucket list anyway.

I have a really good feeling about 40. 

It was a parade of blessings yesterday: an incredible worship service, lunch at my parents and then pizza/movie night with our little motley band.  Even so, I slept poorly.  I woke up with a heavy mind.  I have had many cares to take to Jesus.  We have an incredibly busy week - Natalie is going to 5th grade camp but between the time she leaves and right after she gets back, she has a practice STAAR test, private swim lesson and 3 softball games.  That and I caught her up reading after lights-out last night, when she looked like she was about to fall over.

Dave is also traveling this week and I continue to circle Sophia in prayer on her academics, which she is making progress but not there yet.  My best friend is sick, I was under the weather a lot this weekend and Ella is full TWO YEARS OLD.  Add to that other struggles I'm interceding for at church and other friends, I felt like I am was carrying a mountain on my shoulders.

I keep adjusting my verb tense because when I got up for my quiet time this morning, the Lord had me do a simple exercise.  After confessing I was worried, He had me look into my heart and see those weights/burdens/worries as rocks.  Then He had me take each of those weights out, one by one, and put them in His hand. Then He had me thank Him for each of them.

I can't exactly explain how all this took place, but it was an exercise for me directly "cast my cares onto Him because He cares for me."  I actually used my hands, acting it out, rather than just visualize it.  It was very powerful and I know this because I'm completely at peace now.

The thanksgiving part sealed the deal.

Gratitude and praise open the doors of our hearts wide for God to come in.  He is the Prince of Peace after all, so when we make room for Him to come in and sit, we quickly find He changes the atmosphere of our heart from fretful to peaceful.  That spills over into our mind and emotions.  Instead of viewing my day/week in terms of all I HAVE TO DO, He wants me to sit quietly in His presence.

In Matthew 6:34, Jesus specifically commanded us not to worry.  He didn't tell us or make a good suggestion, it was a full on - general to His troops - direct order:

Therefore you shall not be concerned about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be concerned for itself. A day's own trouble is sufficient for it. (Aramic Bible in English)

My translation?  Quit projecting your anxiety over your whole week.  Stop looking so far ahead. Be present in this moment, in each moment, because that is where I am.  I am with you and will help you but you have to stay focused on Me.

Oh, the intentionality of the ministry of being present!  So simple in theory, yet so hard in application.  Worry takes our focus off of what is happening now and puts it on what might happen later.  The Lord wants us zeroed in on this present moment, on His Presence in this present moment.

Easier said than done, it certainly does take practice.  He reminded me to practice it today.  My prayer is this then: This first day of my next 40 years will be marked with more peace because I am focused on His Presence.

I could pray about the next 40 years, but I won't.  That would be disobeying a direct order.  He said to focus on today, so I will.  The next 40 years will take care of themselves.  I hope you, too, can learn from this and make today  Monday is going to be a good one!

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