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Pressing on

Words are my friends. I cannot express myself in ways that people understand what is going on for me. I don’t cry. I don’t shout. And most days, I can put on a front that all is well. Words are all I have to communicate where I am at.

The past few days have been dark. Not within me, but around me. Well, there’s plenty of darkness within me and I often find myself kneeling before the throne of God humbled by his love for me, a sinner. But the darkness is around me too. And silence has set in because I have no words. I have no understanding. I have no wisdom.

Marks were posted today and despite doing well most of the term, my final exams brought most of my marks down by quite a bit. For this, I also have no words.

The path moving forward in all the situations I find myself in is unclear. It seems I have a mountain to climb before me and it seems impossible.

It is with a heavy heart that I turned to prayer this morning. As you probably know by now, I pray through the Celtic Daily Prayers daily. They have scripture assigned to each day and a meditation assigned to each month. The meditations, since they are repeated each month, have become my friends. So are the canticles in the morning and evening prayer liturgies as they ground me and focus me on a God who is with me and loves me and is faithful to me even when I doubt such faithfulness. The scripture passages often meet me where I’m at each day. This is something that always amazes me when I follow a lectionary of some sorts – for the verses assigned to today were there long before today happened, when only God could know what today would hold, and he speaks through these words to my heart today.

Today’s epistle reading is familiar but fitting.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:12-14

I was talking with my aunt the other day who mentioned that we are called to someone and not necessarily something. As I look at the darkness I find myself in and my utter lostness of how the night came and how to move forward to the light, I see my own insecurities and neurotic thoughts. And dark words – unkind words – pounce on these insecurities. This passage reminded me that I must abandon myself to God – he must be the one I seek with all my heart, soul and mind. It is his purposes and his delight that I seek. Indeed, it was only a few days ago that God spoke to me “Well done, my good and faithful servant” – a moment that I treasure and left me tearing up on the subway ride to an event. I am to abandon myself to a God who has shown me mercy time and time again and unfailing love.

Instead I look to others for approval. I look to people who will disappoint, hurt and will not give me the love I am searching for. I am not speaking of any person in particular. This is a general tendency I have- a common one, I know. The problem is that if I put my hope in people, I cannot press on. I will forever be trapped.

But if I abandon myself to God alone – one who delights in me, is always faithful to me, and is constantly forgiving me, then I can press on. I can move forward, forgetting what is behind and strain toward what is ahead. I can dwell in the darkness of depending on others for my self worth, or I can cling to the One who passionately loves me.

One of the most influential sermons I’ve ever heard was from someone who said that at the end of the day, God asks two questions: do you love Me? and do you love My people?

All else is meaningless in comparison.

So today, I press on to love God and to love his people, forgetting past failures and resting in the arms of my Beloved.

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