Last Sunday at church I thoroughly enjoyed the baptism of one the newest members of our community. This six-month-old little one had been much awaited and is much beloved by his mom, dad and extended family. I follow his mom on Instagram and, I must say, he has a unique face for a baby–almost like a little man. Expressive, inquisitive, cherubic. He is a delight to watch, as is the love his parents shower on him.
As our bishop was holding the little one so that he could pour water over his head, the baby leaned his head way back, almost in expectation. The entire congregation gasped, then giggled as this sweet one contorted his body. So much love. So much delight. Overwhelming love was directed at this one, innocent, perfectly-created little human.
I am an average woman and not related to this child in any way, and I felt overwhelming delight. My mind immediately turned to God my Father. Can I imagine that God, my own Creator, might have that same sense of delight in me?
It was a gift that the delight in the room on Sunday was so palpable. I think it may have been the push I needed to believe, at a new level, that I am indeed a delight to God. If we, as “mere mortals” took such delight in a little one, then God surely is capable of much more love and delight than we expressed.
So word #1 for the new year is delight. Are there ways in which you still struggle to believe that you are a delight to God, and that you really are delightful? How would it change your view of yourself if you lived from such a place? How would it affect the quality of your relationships, your work, your life?
By now, it is no secret that I struggle with anxiety. On any given day you can find me, at least once, catching myself fretting. I’ve come to understand that I’m usually in that mode because I do not think I have enough time to attend to the things that need to get done.
The last time this happened, I stopped in my tracks and asked myself, “Do you have enough time?” “E n o u g h t i m e,” I repeated slowly. Of course I have enough time. I actually have more than enough time. So why am I acting like I don’t?
Word #2 is enough. Do I have enough time to accomplish my work in peace? Do I have enough time to love the person in front of me? Do I have enough time for rest? And what is enough to eat? What is enough to own? What is enough to do? What is enough to know?
In my practice of contemplative prayer, I typically choose to focus on words like God, Jesus or love. But lately a new word has opened to me and has proven helpful to bring my mind back to focus on God’s presence. That word is here.
When I say this word out loud, I enjoy a sense of comfort, peace and presence. With one small, simple word I remember to rein in my thoughts and simply occupy the space in which I am sitting. I am here. God is here. That’s all that matters in this moment of prayer.
It’s nice to feel small once in a while. Grand plans and ideas for my life and work are fine, but simple presence is a true gift.
Word #3 is here. What does being here mean to you? In what ways can you experience the power of being right here, right now? How can you be more here today in your relationships and work?
I hope one of these words proves helpful to you today. Feel free to use some of the questions to spark your own prayer and discernment in your current season.
I plan to carry these three words with me throughout the year. My prayer is that they will open to me new levels of knowing the love and presence of God in my real, everyday life.