It has been my great fortune to take some time away from composing these reflections. Life has been interesting, contentious, and yet gentle. In my professional role, I am often placed within circumstances to observe others, which offers me places to examine myself deeply.
Unfortunately, some people take narcissism to a level where most research studies struggle to find helpful results. They are gas lighters, don’t tell the truth, lack integrity, and create pedestals for themselves while speaking of being clay and of God being the potter (Isaiah 64 v. 8). They lament and dig. Yet, when we remember who is in control, a whole level of gentleness covers these situations. This gentleness comes from God because we know the Lord is always near (Philippians 4 v. 5).
The critical point is to allow this gentle presence of God to flow in. This gentle progression flows from discernment, listening, and deep prayer. In this presence, we move forward with no rush. The lines of such paths may swerve, or they may be straight. And yet, we move ahead, allowing specific or impromptu spaces to guide us as teachers when we refer to God’s words. The seeds continue to be planted, and those that may stray sprout alongside those placed in well-designed holes of nutritious soil. They are planted in the soul. We become better listeners, we rest when rest is needed, skate on the ice of winter—we skate and make swerved paths. And in looking closely, our hearts rejoice at beautiful designs. Although the ice doesn’t stay smooth anymore, there’s still beauty.
“Winter knows to hush, still, listen, so the soul can speak.”
We learn to accept the love God generously gives to us! We learn to love others too! Even those who bring significant challenges to our lives because we know God also sees them. He longs so much to clean up the mess of chaotic lives. These lives are given (born into) and those created. No other time of the year provides the time to explore such a thing, as winter.
A Thomas Wentworth Higgins quote says this:
“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose if there were no winter in our year.”
Winter is a glorious season of the year, and no matter how much some would not want it to visit, it comes. Even in Florida, the calendar marks the winter season. And although the sun shines brightly and it is probably 80 degrees in Florida on December 21st, winter still resides in the soul’s soil of some residents there.
Healing begins when we look at this soil’s condition. It comes when we allow God’s nourishment to break down heartfelt matters as we take root and continuously grow into refreshed beings. We propel in joyous optimism through God’s Spirit of accompaniment. Holy Spirit encompasses that element of the great divide we occasionally experience with Him. We love better when we understand that no worries should be given to those things we cannot control. This is a waste of valuable time!
In God’s kindness, we are saved where Jesus’ virtues have been delivered, in which we now practice. In Him, we unite. We unite with God in stillness and silence. We unite in Him, and we listen. I used to say it’s important to love ourselves before we can love others. I’ve heard this from the pulpit of some ‘positive messages’ churches. But through intense biblical studies, I’ve learned that this maxim contradicts what the Bible tells us. This belief preoccupies the self, dispelling everything God informs us.
I continue to study John 15 vv.12-13, which shares this:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Then when we explore more of John’s writings, we see this:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.”- 1 John 4:7-8
We can never love ourselves more than God loves us. But if we follow His words, we grow confidence in His everlasting love. We can then love others so much better! When we are present, we allow slowness, quietness, and realness to enter and offer us sustenance. Presence opens the eyes wider to see better, to experience all God provides. In utter appreciation, His love is practical. In splendid awareness, His love lingers.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.