Daily Devotions

Attempting Patience

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"Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him." (Psalm 37:7)

Patience has not been my friend. One of many confessions is my lack of trust in God. I worry and am anxious about any number of issues, at any given time. Then, what starts out as an appropriate evaluation of a given situation, far too quickly turns into obsessing on the situation in a unproductive fashion.

Throughout the Psalms, the cry to God for patience continues. It isn't just the two of us that struggle with patience. Patience through trusting God has been difficult throughout history, as well as with faithful people today. While I wish and regularly pray for God to give me a deeper more trusting faith, it does not mean that I do not have enough faith. If God only supported those without anxiety and with infinite patience, Adam & Eve and just about every other Biblical character thereafter would be unacceptable.

While you pray today for patience and trust in God, do not forget to pray for self-acceptance. We are forgiven by the grace of God, so relax. God will use you and me, amidst our imperfection. It takes huge faith to try hard and work diligently, living with the discomfort with anxiety and impatience. Bless you for living your faith, especially in the uncomfortable moments. Pray for God's continued strength and faith.

Beyond the Narcissus in Us

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"They plot mischief while on their beds; they are set on a way that is not good; they do not reject evil." (36:4)
"For in you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light." (Ps. 36:9)

The word "mischief" is a lot more serious than it sounds. The actions of the evildoers continually make themselves the center of their own universe. The evil turns one into an narcissist. In Greek mythology, Narcissus "was proud, in that he disdained those who loved him. Nemesis noticed this behavior and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus drowned. Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one's physical appearance." (Wikipedia)

When one is so fond of him/her self, there is no room left for anyone else, human or divine. The one who plots sinfully is not attempting evil against another, as much as an inward focus upon the self. Even harboring resentment isn't truly about the other person, but about the "wrongs" supposedly done to the narcissist's self. It is almost entirely self focused.

Meanwhile, the good and divine is focused beyond the self. The "light" of God is not turned inward, but is shining out to others, because others are the focus. God can be in relationship with those who offer themselves to God and others. To the evil, they are so self-focused, there is no room for anyone but the self, which is a definition of evil.

Pray for God to open your heart beyond yourself. Pray for the self-control, that in moments of inward anger or even rage, to move beyond the self, to focus not on what the other person is feeling in that moment. Pray for the unhealthy part of self focus, which makes us oblivious to the needs of others. Pray that God will give you space in heart and mind, for God to enter and pull you beyond self, and into God's light and the love of others.

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