I am coming to you today with my real and transparent thoughts from the past week that has followed months of pandemic mayhem.
On Monday, I watched the sun set on a day that was one of the most unproductive and pointless days I have had in a long while. I had scrolled through posts and video feeds of various news items and commentaries all day.
I cried and prayed and cried and snacked and wandered aimlessly around our house, because I am overwhelmed feeling all the feelings around me right now.
I felt helpless and confused.
Every so often I walked to the door of Russ’s home office and told him I was not accomplishing anything. He would nod his head and go back to work and I would repeat my spiral downward.
The arena of social media that exists outside of posts by friends of their family gatherings or favorite verses or blog posts shared to encourage is a new playing field that I was unaware of.
The freedom of people to blast negativity onto a live video from someone else was something I have never encountered. The downright rude and thoughtless and ignorant barrage of unchecked thoughts spewing from every angle took me into a world that cannot be ignored, but also cannot rule over me.
I have been sheltered from the raw ugly of hate that flies around out there and I have to admit I prefer polite conversations and quiet “agreeing to disagree” more than the confrontational arguments and outright vitriol of comments that people slam others with through what has become our “third place” …. the internet.
My heart’s desire is to do what Scripture tells me which is to care for those who are oppressed and defend the fatherless and the widows, to use the blessings I have been given to bless others and to show justice and mercy to all.
But the rapid-fire words of anger and hate and retaliation that bombard the atmosphere rendered me incapacitated as I tried to separate out truth in the midst of so many loud voices.
So yesterday, I turned off social media and determined to live in the day and do what I could do right in front of me and ask God to remind me what only I can do and then give me strength and boldness to do THAT thing and not be anxious about how it is perceived or judged or received by anyone but Him.
That is not to say I am ignoring the pain around me. That is not to say I am not going to do better to find answers to my questions about how I can make a difference. That is not to say that I will now go back to burying my head in the sand and ignore what I see and hear happening on so many levels.
It is to say that I have to choose God’s righteousness first and then let Him lead me to the places where I can minister out of that in ways that bring His Kingdom here.
- His Kingdom is best for all of us.
- He is all about the dignity and sanctity of every human life.
- He is all about justice and He is all about mercy.
- He is all about every human being treated as valuable and precious.
- He is all about tearing down world systems that do not support His plan of redemption, wholeness and healing.
This morning as I was doing my devotions, each one seemed tailor made for the current conditions of our world and my own struggle to stay focused on the tasks at hand. And so like God, they each supported one another and culminated in a time of prayer that was based on a prayer written by Stormie Omartian in one of her books that is so applicable for all of us.
I am sharing the prayer points and my thoughts here:
Show me how to express deep, unconditional love in a way that is clearly perceived and received.*
Lord, I confess that I tend to love conditionally. I don’t want to be that way, but I know that my love is more open and flowing towards others when they fulfill certain conditions. I tend to love people I like… people I prefer.
(I beg you…please readers, do not read race into this…we are walking on egg shells right now and I am compelled to say that I do not like and prefer based on anything except my gut response to human beings I encounter…they are all sizes, shapes, colors and backgrounds…it is an enigma to me what draws me to certain people and makes them easy to love when I struggle with loving others….)
Even worse, I often find I withdraw love from people I like and prefer when their behavior or attitudes or decisions hurt me or go against what I desire for them or for me. This is not right. This is not righteous. I need Your help to love unconditionally. I need Your love poured into my heart so that I can truly LOVE..even when I don’t agree…even when I don’t understand.
To love does not require me to approve or prefer or be okay with someone’s choices or behavior or attitudes. Help me to grow in my understanding of YOUR love so I can just love people.
I also pray that my love will be perceived and received. I understand that others may have preconceived notions about me. I need Your help to break down the barriers of misunderstanding on all sides so that Your love is poured out of me and onto my family and friends and acquaintances and even those who I do not know, but share the road with in this life.Laura Reimer
Remove any barriers that have been formed in me through disappointment and pain in my past*
Lord, this struck me deep in my spirit and soul. As I sit and just hold my heart out to You, I am aware that I have carried and buried some disappointment and pain from the distant and recent past deep down.
Because I have not let You heal me of those things, I am weak and useless in helping others who are experiencing disappointment and pain. I need to understand that You heal in layers and I will continue to need to bring my heart before You to receive Your next level of healing until I stand perfected before You.
Their pain reminds me of my unresolved hurts and so I am handicapped to offer the kind of love and support that is needed. Rather than recount these things, I am just acknowledging to you that I am a broken person in need of Your love and Your peace and Your healing.
I receive the ministry of Your Spirit searching out those places in me and I open my own self up to be healed by You. You are the only one who can completely heal me and equip me to become a minister of Your healing and reconciliation.Laura Reimer
If there is a place in my heart where I feel rejected or unloved, I bring that to You for healing*
Lord, again I open up the deep places of my heart where I have experienced rejection and where I feel unloved. Search me and shine Your light into those hidden places that fuel my inability to hear the cry of others.
I cannot extend the fullness of Your bountiful love until I have allowed Your love to fill up the holes in my own heart.
I receive the ministry of the Holy Spirit again right now as You bind up my wounds so that I can extend that grace and mercy to others who expressing their pain and perceptions of being rejected and unloved.Laura Reimer
If there is any unforgiveness in me toward anyone, show me and I will confess it. I do not want to carry unforgiveness in my heart because it separates me from You and my prayers will not be heard*
Lord, as I offer up myself for examination, You bring names and faces to mind. Very few hurt me intentionally.
The offense was usually because of the human condition of the offenders heart…like me they were more concerned with self and I got wounded as a result. Often they have not even been aware of how they have hurt me and so an apology is never going to take place.
The work of forgiveness and reconciliation falls on me and then I think of how I have also offended and wounded with no idea…and I would want to be forgiven by the ones I hurt….so Lord, thank You that by the power and work of the Holy Spirit in me, I can forgive and let go and hold nothing against my offender.
If I have been intentionally and purposefully wounded by someone, You will be my example as You said of those who crucified You..forgive them. I will rest in Your healing in all cases.Laura Reimer
So there you have it…a little visit to my time with Jesus this morning.
I hope you are turning to Him first before you turn on the news, the social media feeds or your mouth.
I am doing better today at this then yesterday and the day before.
May He guide us through these times in ways that bring heaven to earth as we journey onward <3
* Power of a Praying Grandparent; Stormie Omartian, Harvest House Publishers, pg. 26