“Make me to know your ways, O Lord…”
“God? It’s me,” I said as the sun poked her head up over the horizon. “Thank you for this new day.” I looked out of the window at the little universe in my garden slowly waking up. I was just about to start my usual morning prayer and ask for a whole bunch of things that I need when something stopped me. I turned my face to the heavens and instead, I asked, “How are you this morning, God?”
God whispered, “Thank you for asking.” I heard the birds singing. I watched the clouds chase one another across the sky. The majestic magnolia tree across the street bowed in the morning breeze. “I’m fine,” He said. I smiled, knowing that God was having a good morning.
Sometimes I forget that my relationship with God needs to be a two-way street. I have to remember to stop talking about my problems and needs. I need to remember to ask God how He is doing. I challenge you today to not ask God for anything. Instead, ask about Him. Then, be quiet and listen. What you hear may surprise you!
“People look at the outward appearance…”
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But when we look at things, our eyes don’t tell us the whole story. We see skin color. Gender. Nationality. Age. We may even be able to discern religion or even sexuality. We judge people by what they look like and how they look determines how we feel about them. But when we close our eyes and look with our hearts, we see so much more. Our hearts sees that everyone is a precious child of God. Our hearts recognize the Spirit of God in everyone.
Today, don’t look with your eyes. Look with your heart. Keep your eyes closed and your heart wide open! Put aside all of the labels you use to separate yourself from others. Put away all of the judgments you use that make you feel superior to others. You aren’t. God doesn’t love you any more than He loves anyone else. When we look with our hearts and see that we are all equal, all intertwined by God’s hand, our eyes begin to work better. We stop seeing differences and we start seeing the truth about each other. We start seeing love.
“In all your ways acknowledge him…”
When God has closed one door but hasn’t opened the next one, praise Him in the hallway. It is sometimes easier said than done, I know. But it’s such good advice to take to heart. No matter what you face today, God is there with you. It’s going to work out for the best, even if the storm seems darker than anything you’ve ever seen before. Hold onto God’s hand and remind yourself that you are in His great care. Don’t tell yourself scary stories and believe them. Don’t rely on your own understanding. Instead, rely on God, fully.
I know the hard times test our faith. It’s a challenge to wrap our heads around why God allows suffering. Instead of asking “Why?” ask “What?” “God, what can I do to serve you while I’m in this place of darkness?” Then praise Him! It’s interesting to note that when we praise God in all things, we re-wire our brains for the better. Praising God actually makes us smarter and healthier in the long run! Praise God today, no matter where you are.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”
“I’m so stupid!” I smacked my hand to my forehead. “How did I make that mistake?” I shook my head and sighed. I had a busy day ahead. My mistake would add a good hour to my workload. I went for my morning walk, but it didn’t help my mood. I couldn’t enjoy the birds singing, or the gentle breeze.
“Are you going to beat yourself up all day?” God asked me just as I was turning the corner towards home.
“I made a stupid mistake. I’m so dumb!” I said.
“Be careful with your words, Sparrow. They create your reality,” God said kindly. “You are what you think you are.”
I walked up the steps to my house. I thought to myself, I’m human. I’m fallible. It’s okay because I am a child of the living God who adores me. With that thought, my mood brightened. As I opened the door, I could hear the finches at the bird feeder singing. I could feel the gentle breeze ruffling my hair. “I’ll do my best to remember that I am as I think I am. I’ll think good thoughts!”
“Atta girl,” God whispered in my ear, a verbal divine fistbump. I grinned from ear to ear as I got ready to go to work feeling happy and capable.
“The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come…”
~Song of Solomon 2:12
I’ve walked the streets of my neighborhood for years. I know the front yards of many of my neighbors. Being an avid gardener, I am always looking at other’s landscaping. So it was with great surprise this morning that I noticed white camellia blossoms on the ground in a yard just a few doors down from my house. I had never noticed the bush before! It was tucked away against a wall and partly hidden behind a rather large tree. I felt as if I had discovered a new treasure. I was delighted. I walked on and pondered why, in all of the years walking past that house, I had never been consciously aware of the plant. What else might I be missing in my life? What else might be hiding in plain sight?
I thought of many things that I probably don’t see all of the time; people’s goodness and courage came to mind. What else? I asked myself. I often don’t see God’s grace and abundance. I overlook His forgiveness. I also fail to see that I am a part of this creation on equal footing with every animate and inanimate thing. I’m not special. I’m simply a part of the whole. I’m sure that I don’t always see my character defects or shortcomings.
I rejoiced for having seen the camellia. It made me realize I’m not seeing quite a bit in my life. It opened my eyes to God’s incredible glory and to things I’d like to change within myself. What might be hiding in plain sight in your life?