Wednesday Prayers: The Origin of Words

Because I can be a slow learner, I was in my early 30s when I finally realized that if someone is saying unkind things about others to me, they are almost definitely saying unkind things about me to others.  (Note:  I am 31 now.  Yes, the obvious is a recent revelation for me.)

I also realized that when I say harsh things about people, it's usually because I don't have the ovaries to express my needs and wants directly.  And that's my problem, not someone else's.  Hurtful words aren't the responsibility of the person they land on, they belong to their place of origin.  If I'm being a snot, it's because my heart is not aligned with God's.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the commandment to love my neighbor as myself.  Specifically, I've been thinking that THERE IS NO COMMANDMENT TO BE LOVABLE.   If I'm not loving you, that's my problem, not yours.  Actually, that's my sin, not your deficiency.

Now, you know I don't think that means I have to be everyone's friend.  It might not even mean I have to be in relationship with them.  But I have to respect that they are deeply valuable, that God is present in them, and that within them is infinitely more than I can know or imagine.

For the times when I find it hard to love, 
For the days when I get tired of listening, 
Lord, have mercy.
For my short temper and my self-centeredness, 
Christ, have mercy.
For my lost authenticity and courage, 
Lord, have mercy.

And God?  Please help others to love me, too.


Wednesday Prayers: Autumn Holiday Edition

Whether you're celebrating, or recognizing that this simply isn't a season of celebration in your life this year, may God continue to be with you this week.


Enneagram Exercise: Day 1

Well, I learned one thing on the first day of this exercise:  my brain is perfectly capable of outfoxing me.

"I have to finish one project at a time?  Fine.  Guess what, sweetcheeks?  I don't have to finish what I don't start."

Oh.  Also there was  the mid-afternoon meltdown.

(Which occurred because, despite having a degree in English Lit, I am not capable of writing a 5 page paper.  Any evidence to the contrary has been a complete fluke.  Monkeys at typewriters, hammering out Hamlet.  Ergo, I cannot sit down and write the whole paper, because if I sit down with that intention I will be trapped in the Chair of Failure forever.  No paper will be forthcoming.  Only the horrendous taunting of a blank screen.)


Enneagram Workshop and a Week-Long Exercise

I first heard about the Enneagram several years ago, and pretty thoroughly brushed it off.  It's a personality type tool, and because I'd been mistyped, none of the information seemed all that insightful.  About a year ago, Shauna Niequist mentioned how much she loves the Enneagram, and I gave it another shot.  This time, I took the survey and reviewed the types for myself, carefully evaluating each one.  WHOA!  SEVEN! Well, NOW it's helpful!

Unlike the Myers-Briggs, the Enneagram offers insight not just on what you're like, but how you're most likely to make unhealthy choices (and how to make healthier ones).  As I read about each type's unique motivations, I started to understand that I am not really the baseline for normal.  (Yeah, that came to me a little late.)  When other people made choices that didn't make sense to me, I finally began to think, "they must have different needs from mine" instead of "what an idiot!"

This weekend, I went to a workshop taught by Michael Naylor on the wisdom of the Enneagram.  For each of the types, Michael recommended a week-long exercise of abstinence from that Thing We Do that keeps us from spiritual growth.  Of course, that Thing We Do is also the thing that helps us dodge the relentless Inner Critic.  (Nobody said it was going to be a fun week.)  In fact, it's pretty reasonable to talk about some type-specific habits as addictions of personality.  For some it might be helping too much, for others it might be isolating themselves.

For still others, it might be refusing to commit when there are so many possibilities and options out there.


When Michael got to Sevens, the assignment was, "For one week, FINISH one project at a time before moving on to the next one."

Wait-- what?  No, you don't understand-- if I did that, I couldn't do lots of different things!


I'm trying it this week.  If I perish, you'll know why.  I will have clawed my way out of my own skin to avoid being trapped.  I'm going to try to let you know how it goes.


Wednesday Prayers: New and Old

I'm much slower to consider people "friends" than I used to be. New folks get parked in "acquaintance" or "buddy" status for quite a while. Friendship is a Big Flipping Deal to me. I don't take that type of intimacy lightly. Heck-- I've never rushed into ANY kind of intimacy. Good friends are, as a wise woman observed to me this evening, the ones who make us feel known. It's hard to get more personal than that with our clothes on (and truthfully, sometimes we're not that personal with them off).

I believe I'm called to love everyone, but that doesn't mean I'm called to be everyone's friend. There are obligations to friendship (many of which I shirk to an embarrassing extent) that we don't owe everyone, though we do owe respect and kindness.

It's nice to notice that this week holds both old friends and people I think are becoming new ones.

I'm praying with gratitude for both old and new friends-- but I'm also holding in prayer people I'm committed to loving without being friends. I'll be asking God to guide my judgment and actions in all kinds of relationships. (As always, I'd be grateful for your prayers in that, too.)

Are there people on your mind as you pray this week? Would you like me to pray with you?


Cat Gork

Me: I love that we've been buying flowers at the Farmers' Market every week, but your cat keeps eating them and throwing up.
Dave: Once!
Me: No, it happens every week!
Dave: Right-- only once with each bouquet.



Cranky Sunday Night

Measured hall closet.
Bought shelf.
Assembled shelf.
Threw away box.
Realized I should have included the floor trim in the closet measurements.
Called Target: Can I return assembled furniture?
I can.
Unfortunately, I can't fit it in my car.


Wednesday Prayers: Autumn Walks

I took two beautiful walks today, one alone, and one later with Dave. The lovely neighborhoods and the ginkgo in the streetlight are enough prayer for now.


Wednesday Prayers: Right Here

Today (tonight, really), I'm praying for presence, for the ability to be still.  There are enough different things going on at the moment that I keep noticing my mind scurrying away from the task at hand.  I'm missing the depth that comes from close attention.  I'm praying for the peace and trust to stay put, exactly where I am, at any given moment.

What are you praying for?