Thursday, May 10, 2012

You've lost that loving feeling....

We have all experienced coolness with our friends, neighbors, family, lovers.  Sometimes it just hits you in the face.  Other times the warmth slowly ebbs away.  Then things warm again (hopefully).  This happens in our relationship with God, too.  You should be encouraged when it happens because that very coolness indicates that you once had warmness and also that you are engaged with a personal God and not a philosophy or head trip. Though we can't control emotions directly, emotions will follow experiences.  For example, if you and your flame are not so warm any more, some time together having dinner and watching a movie can help.  Remembering past good times can re-ignite things a bit.
One of my standard remedies for a coolness in my relationship with God is from a man who lived in the 1500's named Ignatius.  His idea was to spend time in prayer looking at and then trying to "be" in specific moments of Jesus' life.  Spending time with Jesus in this way almost always helps me to re-engage my heart with my mind and beliefs.  Just as one must recognize as a married couple, that even though the ooey gooey isn't there all the time, the relationship is not over, so must Christians recognize that feelings of passion are icing on the cake and not the meal with Jesus as well.  But it is nice to feel something.  If you get down and discouraged and have lost that loving feeling with God you may want to take some time to try Ignatius' prayer method.  An example:
I set aside 20 minutes.  For a few minutes I try to still my mind - like getting a child with a cut finger to be still so you can put a Bandaid on the cut.  Then I choose a theme like joyful events in Jesus' life.  I choose one moment and consider 10 things about it.  The presentation of Jesus at the temple.  I look around.  The temple walls are light colored stone. It's a bit dim inside and smells dusty.  A little cool.  Simeon takes the baby Jesus carefully but firmly.  Simeon is old but his age seems to dissipate as he talks about finally seeing the Messiah.  Mary and Joseph are a little worried about what this means and lean into each other.  Could this really be true?  Why them?  Jesus is a real baby...asleep.  He's wrapped up in a fairly nice cloth but Mary and Joseph aren't rich by any means but it doesn't matter at all to them.  I am there.  Watching from the corner.  They notice me and nod with a nervous smile.  Me too.  The Messiah.  Really?  Time's up.  I go into my day but that was cool, to spend a little time in the temple with the family.  And now I feel something.

1 comment:

  1. Gold. Keep writing, pa. I just talked to a coworker at work about this for a while. This is good stuff, great suggestion for changing up our time with God. Gold.