Loosen My Grip: Loder

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I just found a quiet space to think, ponder and pray.
I’ve turned off the news…turned off my phone…and am trying to turn off my busy mind.

As I settled in to pray, I read a prayer by Ted Loder to center my tired soul.
I felt the refreshing Spirit fall as I was reminded to loosen my grip.

If your grip has been too tight, take a moment and pray it too…

Loosen My Grip-Ted Loder

O God, it is hard for me to let go,

most times,

and the squeeze I exert

garbles me and gnarls others.

So, loosen my grip a bit

on the good times,

on the moments of sunlight and star shine and joy,

that the thousand graces they scatter as they pass

may nurture growth in me

rather than turn to brittle memories.

Loosen my grip

on those grudges and grievances

I hold so closely,

that I may risk exposing myself

to the spirit of forgiveness

that changes things and resurrects dreams and courage.

Loosen my grip

on my fears

that I may be released a little into humility

and into an acceptance of my humanity.

Loosen my grip

on myself

that I may experience the freedom of a fool

who knows that to believe

is to see kingdoms, find power, sense glory;

to reach out

is to know myself held;

to laugh at myself

is to be in on the joke of your grace;

to attend to each moment

is to hear the faint melody of eternity;

to dare love

is to smell the wild flowers of heaven.

Loosen my grip

on my ways and words,

on my fears and fretfulness

that letting go

into the depths of silence

and my own uncharted longings,

I may find myself held by you

and linked anew to all life

in this wild and wonderous world

you love so much,

so I may take to heart

that you have taken me to heart.

The Lord Is My Pace-setter

Stress.words_

We are a stressed-out nation. Very often, we wear our stressed-out, over busy, crazy lifestyles like a badge of honor, all the while knowing that we are losing something very important in the chronic insanity of our culture…our sanity and soul.

There are many reasons that stress is so prevalent, but according to the American Psychological Association, the following are the key issues at hand:

* Money, work and the economy continue to be the most
frequently cited causes of stress for Americans, as they
have every year for the past 5 years. In addition, a growing
number of Americans are citing personal health and their
family’s health as a source of stress.

* Significant sources of stress include money (75 percent),
work (70 percent), the economy (67 percent), relationships
(58 percent), family responsibilities (57 percent), family
health problems (53 percent), personal health concerns
(53 percent), job stability (49 percent), housing costs
(49 percent) and personal safety (32 percent).

* The percentage of adults reporting that family health
problems are causing them stress (53 percent) increased
in 2011 compared to the last 2 years (47 percent for both
2009 and 2010).

An unhealthy pace of life has become an addiction in our country, and is something we desperately need to address if we are to regain our soul, and most importantly, listen to the voice of God. When our lives and minds are drenched in over-stimulation, over-communication, and excessive busyness, the voice of God becomes a distant memory, and we begin to justify why God is no longer speaking. No matter the theological gymnastics and/or other reasons we create to comfort our unease concerning the seeming silence of God, the truth is that He is still speaking, all around us, all the time, but our minds are too full to discern His still small voice in the storm of noise.

I love how Toki Miyashina re-wrote the 23rd Psalm and reminds us that the Lord needs to be our pace-setter:

The Lord is my Pace Setter, I shall not rush,
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals,
He provides me with images of stillness,
Which restore my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency,
through calmness of mind; and his guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for his presence is here.
His timelessness, his all-importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity,
by anointing my head with his oils of tranquility,
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruit of my hours,
For I shall walk in the pace of my Lord,
and dwell in his house for ever.

It’s okay to live with balance…

It’s okay to have moments in your week that are not crammed with rushing around…

It’s okay to still, slow, and even stop in order to breathe more deeply and practice divine awareness…

It’s okay to say “no” to the requests that don’t align with your purpose in life, for if you don’t, you will miss your purpose in life…

It’s okay to be healthy and unable to “one-up” your friends who are trying to impress you with their busy schedules…

It’s okay to have joy in your soul, hope in your heart and serenity in your mind because you choose to allow God to determine your pace, and not the culture or the people around you.

May you have a life that responds to God’s grace with energy, His voice with delight, and His love with service.

Do You Hear What I Hear? (Tim Hawkins)

Well, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, and the Christmas season has officially come! This Sunday marks the first Sunday in Advent, and to set the season off to a positive and funny note I was thinking about what Tim Hawkins had to say about the song “Do You Hear What I Hear” when he was at SVA last year…too funny.

So, here’s to a season where we focus more on the “why” and the “who” than on all the “wants” out there…

Relax and smile 🙂

Monty