Lent 2015 … Day 21 … Being in the ‘mood’ for God

woman stressedThe person that we see standing or sitting in front of us, holds a myriad of experiences and feelings, however when we look at someone we can only judge how they are feeling by what they present to us.

The mind can play tricks on us, it controls our thoughts and processes, and some people even can hear voices. It can control our behaviour, our emotions, our relationships and yes even our faith.

It’s easy to think of a God who is loving, accepting and caring when we are receptive, yet how do we respond when we are not receptive, when we are gripped in the spiral of depression, stress, or anxiety?

As people, we are social beings, and whether we like it or not, how or what people think about us, can affect our behaviour. For example, if we are constantly being told “you look tired”, you will eventually start to feel tired, whether you are or not.

How we feel about ourselves, can directly affect our relationships with other people and also with God. How often have we said to ourselves” I am not in the mood for ‘them’ today” . Is it the ‘mood’, or is it the person?

Depending on how we feel, this can also depend on whether we are in the mood for God. Many people say that their faith is their Rock and a sturdy foundation, however what happens we feel that our faith is on shifting sands and we sense that instead of a sturdy foundation we are standing on precarious rocks?

For people who are stressed , anxious or depressed, Faith can be a source of anxiety for they feel they have to be in the mood for God, yet the revelation is that is does not matter to God if we are not in the mood for a one-to-one chat with Him, God is always ready and willing to love us …as we are , even if it means we are not in the mood for God.

Believing in God does not mean that we will have a trouble-free life or that we will not succumb to stress in our lives. It simply means that a life without faith and without a God of Love makes coping with stress an impossible and often debilitating task.

God ,

Help me

When I feel alone

When I feel sad,

When I feel anxious

When I feel afraid

Send your peace

A peace that is truly beyond my understanding

And lift my sadness and replace with hope

Amen

RD

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Sunshine and showers

sunshine and showers

The summer weather has been a mixture of the two S’s …sunshine and showers.  Mostly the sun has been shining, and when this happens, everyone seems to be happier and more positive, yet when the showers did come … gosh did it rain !! Dark clouds, thunderstorms and the rain pounding onto the pavement and grass….. much needed water for the plants and crops.

For most people, the weather can affect us quite significantly. We feel positive and optimistic when the weather is sunny and warm, however wind, cold and rain can bring gloomy thoughts – even despair. Like the weather- each of us as individuals, has a sunny side and a shadow side. Many of us feel we always have to put on a ‘sunny’ face, always be cheerful and positive  ….and yet yearn to have someone listen to us, to tell them of our fears, worries and doubts.

God knows us intimately, the sunny side and the shadow side, and with his unconditional love and grace he always will love and treasure us. After the heavy shower and the sun starts to peek through the clouds we sometime get a rainbow, or beautiful rays that shine through the dark clouds, a reminder of God’s promise to us and bless us with abundant love.

If life is treating you harshly, or you feel that you cannot allow people to see the real you….if you are fearful of being judged or feel excluded in some way from society and community, remember there is one loyal and true friend you have who loves and totally accepts the whole you, the real you , the you that no-one else sees or knows …and that is Jesus.

 

Prayer

 

God of the sunshine and showers .

In the days when I feel depressed , and full of despair

When the dark clouds loom ever closer

And all I feel is emptiness

Enfold me in your tender care

 

In the days I feel unworthy and excluded

When my loneliness pulls me to greater depths

And hope is replaced by fear

Enfold me in your tender care

 

In the days when I feel uplifted and full of joy

When the sunshine lifts my Spirit

And every moment brings a smile

Enfold me in your tender care

 

Enable me Lord to see beyond the rain

To bright skies and a soaring Spirit

As the eagle rises on currents of warm air to glide high above the earth

May we who are part our your body

Rise to new heights within us

To capture the essence of your Grace

so we may forever bathe in your goodness and light.

Amen

 

O God ..I’m stressed!!

sunsets

As I have been preparing my sermon … stress seems to be uppermost in my mind. The stress of a daughter preparing and surviving a wedding, the stress of a family whose family member is in prison, the stress of growing old, the stress of meeting deadlines, the stress of being a Mum, daughter, sister, friend, confidante, grandma .. and of course minister !!

However as I ponder on this subject, I realise that I am not alone … I am surrounded by ‘stressful’ people. The knack is to recognise the stress, and ask for help … asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength… and know that we are surrounded by ‘angels’ who will ‘pick up’ on our stresses and help us to relieve them. That is not to say they will take them or even make them go away, but by compassion, gentleness and tenderness they help us know we are not alone… then we can face to new dawn.

Jesus was surrounded by his friends who sometimes did not recognise that he was stressed, but Jesus did say that we must be a  ‘neighbour’ to those in need… that means being ‘nosey’ and keep alert if there are problems with those around us…..then one day …they maybe able to be there for us…..

Prayer

God who understand our stresses and strains

Be with as we go about our daily responsibilities.

Enable us to see the bigger picture.

And when situations arise-

where we are confronted

with putting the values of faith, or values of self first

remind us that Jesus also experienced this balancing act

which causes Stress for him

When division erupts,

Bring your healing light to bathe wounds

Bring your calming wisdom to speak words with integrity

Bring your inner peace to soothe troubled spirits.

May we always be aware of Stress, division and conflict that surrounds us

And through your grace

May we always be peacemakers…

Through the Christ

Who felt the stress of life as he walked this earth

Through the Spirit who strengthened and supported him

Amen