Tag Archives: awkward

Prayer. All By Myself.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 17, 2018

monk kneeling at prayer

Prayer. All By Myself.

Father Nouwen says some intriguing things on these pages, in discussing inner silence—or, not so silent. Oh, how difficult it is to turn off that internal dialogue! Many people cannot stop that chatter, that constant whispering or commentary or even that committee in their own heads. “When there is no one to talk to, and no one to listen to, an interior discussion starts up which almost seems to get out of hand.” [1]

Yes, when I was a tween and teen, I disliked being alone. I liked to be with people. Even into my twenties, I wanted to be with people almost all the time, and did not care to be alone for very long. (By the way, that aspect of myself has changed.)

Have I changed, all that much? Sure, I enjoy, even relish being alone today. I can be silent sitting next to my husband, while both of us are working on the weekends. It’s a companionable silence, between the two of us. Dear Jesus, is that the kind of thing You are looking for? Is that the relationship You would like with me?

I am sad to say that I still feel some awkwardness in prayer. Yes, I have prayed for decades, and I still occasionally have deep and significant times of prayer. However, the prayer interactions are not always comfortable for me. Sometimes, it seems too stressed and forced (on my part, not on the other end).

Dear Lord, help me to feel comfortable with You, more regularly. Thank You for the possibility to be silent before You. Thank You for the love and caring You show to me, on a regular basis. I know I am not in a good situation…but as long as I am here together with you, Lord, I don’t have to worry. Father Nouwen is certainly correct; being calm and quiet takes a great deal of attention, but it is worth it. A relationship with my dear Lord Jesus? Thank You, Lord.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 19.

Listening to My Higher Power

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, November 23, 2015

prayer to God as I understand God

Listening to My Higher Power

I used to be a people-pleaser. I would do my best to be everything or make myself into whatever people wanted or needed. I would run, do, speak, or not speak. Almost always at half my acquaintances’ beck and call. When I was a teen and in my twenties and thirties, my poor sense of self-esteem kept me going overtime. (And then some.)

I gradually learned how to navigate my way through the awkward conversations, extra-long telephone calls, home visits and play dates. (Fearful of running afoul of the modern-day Pharisees, though.)

As my reading today from Keep It Simple tells me, trying to be a people-pleaser will get me exactly nowhere. Nowhere except hurt or angry, and feeling taken advantage of.

How on earth am I to stay centered and focused? Ah, ha! My reading gives me two good ways: by listening to my internal voice (“To Thine Own Self Be True”), and listening for my Higher Power’s voice. I do have wisdom inside of me. I have dreams and aspirations. I am worthwhile. What’s more, I also have God as I understand God. My Higher Power has my back. My Higher Power will never leave me nor forsake me.

So, I thank God that I no longer am a people-pleaser. (Well, hardly ever, that is.)

Let’s pray, using the prayer for today from the reading. “I pray that I’ll listen to that gentle, loving voice inside me. Higher Power, help me make my ‘conscious contact’ with You better.” [1]

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 23 reading.

Facing My Mistakes, and Learning

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, November 8, 2015

don't let yesterday use up today

Facing My Mistakes, and Learning

Ah, how difficult it is to face my mistakes! But, what if I sweep my mistakes under the rug, or minimize them, or even pretend they didn’t even happen? That is the sure way to unhappiness. A definite way to unmanageability, too.

If, as the daily meditation (from Keep It Simple) for today reads, I run from my mistakes and try my darnedest to avoid them, they will follow me. [1] However, if I am able to face my personal mistakes, all to the good! (That includes my fear for an awkward or downright unpleasant mistake at work, or with my family, or an acquaintance. Just to mention a few situations, of course.)

The reading today points out that “Native American culture teaches us that all mistakes in life are gifts. The gift is that we are all given a chance to learn.” [2] Yes, I can find lessons in practically every mistake I ever made. Isn’t hindsight called twenty/twenty?

Yes, I can ask my Higher Power for help. I can pray to God as I understand God for the knowledge and wisdom to acknowledge my mistakes, not to cover them up. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my humble prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 8 reading.

[2] Ibid.

Focus on My Living Redeemer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, September 21, 2015

Job 19-25 I know my redeemer

Focus on My Living Redeemer

I’m choosing a Name of God found in the Bible, my word of the day. My Name of God for today is Redeemer. So, I tried to center today on this Name. “Tried” being the operative word.

I love the Name of God I chose. The whole concept of Redeemer seems super-human, superhero. Larger than life. And, such an interesting place to find this Name of God. The book of Job, chapter 19 verse 25.

As I centered and focused on this Name, I didn’t have too much difficulty. But then, I started having random, interfering thoughts tromp through my head. And I mean, tromp! Not just tiptoe. I got upset at several thoughts. (The thoughts were particularly awkward and irritating, dredging up a situation from the past I thought was over with and done! Apparently, not.)

After sending up a quick pleading prayer, I was able to get back to my centering. For a little bit, anyway. Then, my questing mind started in. I know what my 21st century concept of a Redeemer is. What was the concept of a “Redeemer” at the time the book of Job was written? This is probably the earliest book written. Their religious and theological understandings must have been fairly rudimentary, compared to the Jews at the time of the first century of the Common Era. Much less to religious and theological thought today.

And, those were just a few of the random thoughts that paraded through my head, interrupting the focusing, the centering that I was supposed to be doing.

Words, words, words! Dear Lord, I am sorry I have so much difficulty centering on a word. Resting in You. This meditative prayer is such a challenge. Yet, I persevere. Thank You, God, for such a meaningful word, such a Name of God as Redeemer.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

My Personal “How” Circle—and Ignatian Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 7, 2015

meditating Jesus - unknown artist

meditating Jesus – unknown artist

My Personal “How” Circle—and Ignatian Prayer

I read the passage from Luke 1 again tonight. I still am not too excited about the Annunciation passage, but that was what Margaret Silf next suggested as a prayer opportunity in her book Inner Compass. So, I did it.

This assignment had to do with the “How” circle of my life. (It did not mention the “How” circle of Mary’s life, but I immediately went there.)

What is a “How” circle, you ask? Great question! The “How” circle is that area of my life where I have some ability to exercise some choice, as Silf suggests. Things do continue to happen, it’s true. However, I often have the ability to decide how I will respond to them.

So, given these parameters, Mary had a “How” circle, too. What were her choices, following the Angel Gabriel’s announcement? Fascinating exercise, positing some of Mary’s immediate and long-term choices. (For instance, what would she tell her betrothed, Joseph? And how ought she to let him know?)

As fascinating as that may be, that wasn’t the assignment for tonight. This particular assignment involved me, and drawing several concentric circles around my “Center.”

The outermost circle has the label “Where am I?” and involves all of the things/facts and circumstances in my life that I cannot change. For example, I was born in Chicago to two college graduates, the youngest in my immediate family. I am at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation. I am nearsighted. These are indisputable facts. Simply speaking, where I am.

I’ve already mentioned the next concentric circle, named “How am I?” Last, the innermost circle is labeled “Who am I,” and involves the center of my being where I am who I truly am. In and of myself, and before God. This is also the circle where I am the most true and the most myself. The most stripped away. The most honest and open, if you will.

Yet, my traitorous thoughts keep wandering back to Mary. What does her “Where” circle look like? Is it compounded by the choices she makes, as a result of the Annunciation?

The concentric circles of Mary and my concentric circles seem to be more of a Venn diagram, overlapping. Mingling. Are most things in my life static, and already chosen for me? Were they chosen for Mary? How about both sets of “Who” circles, and how honest and open am I? How honest and open is Mary?

I feel awkward about this meditation. It brings up SO many questions, questions about which I have only a limited ability to answer.

I’m going to pray. You can join me, if you would like. Dear Lord, gracious God, this meditation distresses me, kind-of, sort-of. My mind keeps on flitting away from myself, and going to Mary. But—that’s good, isn’t it? Especially in Ignatian prayer? Lord, help me to orient my mind in this imaginative way of praying. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .