Sunday, October 30, 2011

Courageous

I took my husband last night to see the movie Courageous. It was a great movie. We laughed, we cried, and our hearts were touched.  It's one of the few times in my life that a movie has so touched me I was motivated to run out and buy the books that go with it, The Resolution for Men and The Resolution for Women .  Both my husband and I began to read that night, and I'll share with you the reflections that came just out of that first chapter.

The book recommended that before reading the first chapter, I pray that God help me to really open myself up to receive its message.  Here is my prayer:

Lord, I can feel you leading me down a new path. I know it is your hand guiding me to this book and to the changes it will bring.  Help me to open my heart and mind to fully receive your message, to accept the challenge to change.  Grant me the courage to confront those areas of my character that need to change and the perseverance to see things through.   Flood my spirit with your holy presence and my mind with the wisdom I need to see how it all applies to what I'm facing ahead of me.  In the name of your son, jesus Christ, and through His precious blood I offer this prayer to You, oh Lord.

I read through that first chapter, notebook in hand as they recommended.  It was me. It was my chapter.  It spoke about a woman who, at age 35 - just before her 36th birthday, is brought to the realization that she's been rushing through her whole life rather than savoring each precious moment.  She says, "By rushing through life, I'd been subtly devaluing those around me and the experiences I was involved in, not appreciating the importance and significance they bring to my life at this very moment; not grasping my responsibility for holding dear and treating well these gifts God has entrusted to me." - p. 14

I have been guilty of this, always in such a rush to get through the places that are not of my choosing - so busy that I miss enjoying life, miss the beauty of the scenary.  I hurry to finish books, food, drinks, even things which would benefit from more attention.  I think there's a real lack, on my part of GRATITUDE for what is in my life right now, right here, in this present moment. This must change.  Every moment is precious, every step of the journey worth savoring, even those steps which are taken with the weight of the cross on my shoulders; maybe even more so on those days, for it is that weight which sanctifies me best, teaches me the most about God's love for me, and carries me closer to heaven.

I've been hurrying to get to a better home, a better job, a better life; but in doing so I have been overlooking the gifts I've already been given and devaluing the life I have today and the people who are in it. Ingratitude is a form of blindness - it blinds you to the beauty, blessings, and truth about what God is doing in your life.

It's hard for me to pinpoint all that I have missed in my hurry to get to a "better place" in life. I know that I missed so much of my son's growing up when he was younger, missed out on sharing in the awe and wonder of watching the world dramatically change for my husband during those first months of his conversion.  I know I've missed out on some of the best parts of my life because I was in too much of a hurry to enjoy them until it was too late.

I resolved that night: Starting today, I will take my time.  I will focus solely on the present moment. I will try to stop planning my days before they arrive and live each moment as if it were a gift - because it is. I will stop rushing to finish everything and will instead learn to enjoy the process.  I will begin and end my day by thanking God for 7 moments or 7 things I notice.

Today, I woke up with a mild sinus infection which hinders my breathing.  It gives me cause to thank God for that gift I so often take for granted: my lungs, so I thank God for the infection and I thank God for my lungs.  I woke up beside my husband, and I thank God for that. I woke up at all, and I thank God for that.  I woke up warm, in a home, with clothing to wear.  I thank God for the home, thank God for the heat, and thank God for the clothing.  God is good - all the time, and all the time God is good. If you haven't taken your spouse to see Courageous, please do. It's the best $16 I've spent in a long time, and the mark it will leave on  your family will last a lifetime.

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