January 27, 2021
I had to do some serious self-reflection
I’ve been journaling during this pandemic. For a few months, it was a daily morning prayer ritual that got me through a time of uncertainty and soul-searching.
I would pour out all of my questions, my fears, anxieties, wonderings, dreams, anger, joys… you name it… to God – the Ultimate Listener.
I needed a safe place to express myself and to see my situations in writing, get them outside of myself and onto the page, to be able to sort through what it was I was really dealing with – with God’s help.
And as I read back through those conversations with God, the following response sticks out as popping up over and over: “Cultivate that which is good.”
- What’s my next move, God? “Head toward that which is good.”
- Why am I so angry? “Understand that which is good.”
- Why am I so sad? “You lost something good, but it is all good and SHALL be good.”
- I’m scared, God. “I’ve got you – you’re good.”
I’m paraphrasing. But that was the consistent take-away.
Through these written conversations, I discovered that what really needed to change is my FOCUS.
I had a choice!
What do I CHOOSE to spend my mental energy, physical energy, and oh-so-precious limited time on this planet cultivating? Being informed is important, but what do I DO with that information? Do I use it for good?
What thoughts am I allowing to take up space in my head? Are there some that just simply serve no loving purpose? I can choose to gently say, “No thank you,” to those and stop them before they do any further draining damage.
During this pandemic, I’m sensing a bigger invitation than ever to (surprise!) cultivate that which is good. Especially since we’re in the midst of what can seem like a hundred opportunities to be drawn into that which is impatient, overwhelming, contradictory, confusing, inflammatory, misleading, draining, or deflating. There is so much external stimulus around us.
Are you prepared to choose good?
But one of the bright spots within the current state of the world is that we get the opportunity to prune, to shed things that no longer serve us or give life. If something triggers us emotionally, it’s often an invitation that something within us is clamoring to be healed, understood or let go of, so we can also choose to pay loving attention to that.
What attitudes and ways of looking at the world are ready to be let go of? Do you find yourself stressed out? Anxious? Judgmental of a person or situation without delving into all the facts and quick to anger or snap? To do this is to be human, but to grow beyond it is so freeing and loving! As someone who’s a recovering anxiety-aholic, I assure you I don’t downplay the challenge of an anxious mind, but I invite you to challenge your mind to cultivate attention on that which is good.
Give yourself the gift of making time for soul nourishment. In the midst of all the things many of us are being asked to give up, we still get to choose what we focus on at any given moment. That piece of it is within our control. There’s so much that can deplete us. It can be easy to become despairing in the midst of these challenges. We can choose to take refuge in time spent with God, who’s love is within us and all around us. Choosing that which is good is sometimes a muscle that needs to be built with repetition.
Fortunately, God is always there waiting for us to turn to his love and make a connection, to lend us light, courage, peace, perseverance, and strength. We only need to seek it!
How about you? If you could pick anything good to spend time focusing on, what would it be, and why? Where do you sense God within that?
Prayers of blessings and encouragement to you, my friends, as we navigate this time together. Cling to God’s promises in time of adversity… God’s got you – you’re good.
April Nible, Certified Spiritual Director