For me, it is in the early morning, before dawn, that I feel the freedom to go search the depths of thought and feeling.
Giving myself time to go deep – rather than waking up “just in time” – so that I can study or pray or write or research or read. The “just in time” leads to shallow skimming of the surface of each quiet thing I can do more fully in the pre-dawn.
Doing so while others sleep insist on my being quiet, slow, and soft. And deep.
I would rather ponder and pray,
Than in my bed I might rather stay,
So that I can approach the depths of my soul.
And if I take time for rest,
May the next time I better invest,
A deeper dive to quietly know myself whole.
In this life, you’ll occasionally receive some criticism. You may or may not deserve it. You may or may not respect those who give it to you.
In this life, you’ll receive some praise here and there. Maybe you earned it, maybe not. Maybe you respect those who give it, maybe not.
Don’t get hooked on avoiding the sting of criticism or addicted to the sweetness of praise.
Either way and in any case, don’t let either criticism or praise affect you too much. It could distract you from your goal.
You can’t control either, so don’t let either control you.
I felt his presence again just the other night. It had been awhile. Time was prime for his appearance. I was tired. There was a crowd about us. In a hurry. The person before me was … in a mood. And then, it happened.
A verbal attack thrust upon me. Or so it seemed in my weak state. Calm, yet pointed. And he almost got out. My old self. My prideful self. The one quick to anger and adept with pointed words. On the tip of my tongue he sat, ready to pounce.
The battle on the outside is really a battle within.
The Holy Spirit is always more ready than I. I remembered Psalm 119:165 (no need to be offended). I recalled Prov 13:10 (contention is caused by pride) and Prov 26:20 (no wood, no fire). And 2 Cor 4:17 put things in proper perspective (this problem is lightweight compared). In my mind’s eye and ear, I watched Stephen stoned and heard his last words of forgiveness (Acts 7:60).
My old self was kept at bay. A sincere and courteous parting I offered to my opponent. I departed in victory. Yet, I struggled for a few moments as pride from the victory began to rise up within me. The wrestling match continues (Eph 6:12).
I know that only by the mighty power of God was I able to withstand these so small battle. Only because of the gift of God was I able to bear a good witness. Only because I have access to God through Christ, was I able to confess these innermost thoughts and rest assured that I am cleansed. Victory over the battle within.
Jesus knows. While hanging from the cross, innocent yet punished in the worst of ways. All the while, knowing why and for whom (for you, for me). Blameless. So that He could say, “It is finished,” and be for each who receives His gift, the way and the truth for eternal life with Him (John 14:6). Thank you, Jesus.