Daily Devotions

We are more than...

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We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

In my devotionals, I’ve tried not to substitute them for book recommendations. But I am going to break my rule, and write a book recommendation/devotional. In the last month I finished a novel by Robert Dugoni entitled, “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.” I couldn’t put it down. It is about a boy named Sam Hill, but most people called him Sam “Hell,” because his eyes were bright red. Throughout his life he endured prejudice and ridicule, but his honest responses made his life extraordinary.

I won’t say any more about this extraordinary novel because I don’t want to ruin it for you. The vast majority of us have something challenging, frustrating, and/or worrisome about ourselves. For some, it can become more noticeable. Too often, at this point, we move within ourselves, and slowly, subtly push others away.

In this process, we foolishly believe we are somehow diminished. The subconscious tells us if we aren’t perfect, we aren’t worthy. What a bunch of malarkey. Red eyes, a limp, noticeable skin lesions, you name it, is not the totality of the person. For example, I am more than my Ulcerative Colitis. You are more than whatever you have, red eyes, bad colon, or a frustrating hearing aid. You are more. If anyone else doesn’t understand that, it is their issue, not yours.

Stand tall today. Offer your red eyes, or whatever else makes you uncomfortably noticeable, up to God. Ask God to give you the courage and the humility to see beyond just one small part of yourself. You are made in the image of God – red eyes, sore legs, or whatever else you or I might experience. Offer a prayer for courage, to get up, live fully, and without diminishing ourselves. When we live joyously, there is no end to the people we can bless, not unlike Sam Hell.

The Courage to be Honest

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My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. (Jn. 10:27)

We all have voices within our own soul, some are blessed and guided by God’s Spirit, while others have been sad voices from within our subconscious that try to keep us from fulfilling our God given call. “Pilgrimage of the Soul,” by Phileena Heuertz, provides a window into this example of negative self-evaluation. Here are examples the author provides of her honest voices. “Phileena, you are what others need you to be. You are only as good as you are able to meet the needs of others. You exist for the sole purpose of supporting others and helping others realize their dreams. Those dreams that your mother sang of in the morning hours are not yours to be had. You have no dreams to be realized. You don’t need dreams. Your purpose as a godly woman is to elevate others to realize their dreams.”

Listen to the ways Phileena described her own negative language. It is amazing Phileena was able to write this book or remain productive. But, if I am honest with myself, and many of you feel similarly, it is amazing we’ve been able to make a productive life with the negative voices within ourselves. All of us have many reasons to fail. It takes an act of will, and Divine support, for each of us to move forward, and risk, in order to make a difference in this world. 

First, rather than jump right in, abusing yourself for the negativity within yourself, instead, applaud the good you’ve been able to accomplish. Second, look in your own “window” the way Phileena did. Write down the words your negative voice continues to whisper in your ear. Only then will you be able to address and overcome them rationally. Try to step outside yourself and treat your list as someone else’s. Do this because we ordinarily treat other people better than we treat ourselves. 

Third, recognize that these inner statements are false, or at least warped in such a way to keep you from being productive. Today, write down those statements, and review them honestly. Seek forgiveness for any morsel of truth. Then, ask God to remove the false statements from your inner voice. Then, conclude by thanking God for the ways you’ve been able to succeed in spite of the negative inner-talk. When we do this, that inner voice becomes more honest, and less abusive. As this occurs, our lives become more positive, and a feeling of healing will take place in your life. Thank you, Phileena, for the courage to be honest with us, so we can be honest with ourselves.

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