Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in fear and nature’s night
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray (what the heck?)
I woke. The dungeon flamed with light
My chains fell off and my heart was free
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee
These are words to a powerful, ancient song by John Wesley. Many of us can relate to the imprisoned spirit and dungeon parts. But, this morning, I thought for the first time about the very strange “eye diffusing a quickening ray” line and (from personal experience) translated it as…You focused a laser of life-giving power directly upon me and, in a millisecond, I was free…
So, if today I need freedom (miracles, hope, direction, wisdom, forgiveness, power), can it be that the laser of life-giving power might focus on me, one more time?
Today, I inaugurate myself
As the commander in chief of my own future
I celebrate my promotion
To the role of the productive leader
Of my life, full of promise and hope
Out off yesterday’s role of
Chicken little, hopeless victim, or discouraged martyr
Today I will usher myself
With a flourish and a solemn promise
Into my new position of power
Supported by the noble and the brave
Who have gone before, and will come after
Those who chose, and will choose
Action over words
Mercy over malice
And resolve over fear
My daughter was the absolute least experienced, youngest, and worst player on her middle-school soccer team until she blew everyone’s minds by scoring three goals! At halftime, I said, “Pammy, what happened? How did you do that?”
She said, “I don’t know. I just pretended I was Mia Hamm.”
I now use her simple method when I feel defeated or the most insecure. I tell myself I am one of my role models and then…go for broke. When I see myself as more talented, more courageous, stronger, or more successful, I usually am.
Just one, “I suck at this,” or “I am not good at that,” is a death sentence for my success.
Who I tell myself I am really matters.
- “Yeah, right. Like that would work.”
- “I couldn’t handle failure or rejection.”
- “I’m okay where I am.”
- “I tried but it didn’t work.”
- “I don’t have the time.”
- “You don’t know what I’m up against.”
- “Easy for you to say, you have more _______________ (opportunity, talent, help) than I do.”
- “I can’t afford it.”
I used every one of these lines arguing with possibility. I really believed them.
Yet, saying them caused internal bleeding. My misery spread like a plague on to family, friends, and innocent bystanders.
When I finally decided that inaction was more painful than action, I was able to squelch the censor and breathe freely and deeply for the first time.
Universal response that I also had: “I should have done it a long time ago.”
I woke up sobbing once from a nightmare about unrequited love. In the dream, the harder I tried to get that love back, the crazier I acted and the more I was rejected. Unfortunately, this is more than a nightmare for many, many people. Multitudes live in constant fear and pain over losing jobs, people they love, or something else they think they must have, and are losing their dignity in the process of trying to save it.
It took me way too many years to learn that I already had the significance and security that I craved.
I now stand tall, understand I am valuable, and feel the power of The Universe behind me.
No more begging. Only accepting (and fully utilizing) what I have already been given.
To draw energy, experiences, joy, and the right people toward us, we must have qualities of gravity: the pull, the gravitas, the force.
If we think about the people we admire or enjoy being around, it’s not hard to identify the elements of those qualities.
Yesterday, I noticed these qualities in Lisa Huffaker, a presenter at Last Writes of Spring Literary Festival. She taught kids (and adults) to make their own small magazines, and she was so completely present and delighted in the process!
Passion, childlike delight, presence, courage, contentment, and not taking oneself too seriously; these are the qualities that draw me in. These are the qualities I want to have today. Thanks Lisa Huffaker for reminding me.
Sometimes we need rest.
Sometimes we need to push ourselves.
We can only know which is appropriate if we are willing to do either.
Recently I played a tennis match in bad weather with a bad cold. Halfway through the match I changed my internal dialog from “I can’t do this,” to “I can do this.” We battled for over two hours. Afterward, my cold was gone.
Dotie Olsteen did the same when odds were much higher.
Interesting enough, Dotie’s prayers weren’t about cancer. The theme was forgetting about cancer.
What should you do? Only you can answer that. Both choices take power.
Choose whatever takes the most power.
Let me be content to see the innate value of every human being.
And, may I have the honor of helping others discover and appreciate the power they have over their own lives.
Is that what you were thinking about today?
Or were you just trying to make it through? Were you a little sad that today wasn’t yesterday or next weekend? Were you dreading the responsibility or the tasks it brings? Were you peering into your eighteen-hour future and pronouncing it insignificant? Were you seeing nothing of importance, ho-hum, or the same-ole thing? What a shame!
How do you know that this day is not a portal into your dreams, or the party, or the avenue of honor? How do you know that your presence in this day won’t be of extreme importance to someone else or to many?
Have you figured it out yet? The story you decide to believe about today makes all the difference.
(for a related philosophical jolt into this reality…)
Yesterday, while blogging, I felt hot tension in my right shoulder. This should have reminded me to stop and center my small self in the big world of God’s love before I continued. Instead I worked frantically so I could do my reading so I could get to my class so I could get to an event so I could get home afterwards.
Power only flows through me when I stay connected to the source of all good.
When I lose the connection, I am free to go through the motions…but without the flow.
How do I know I have lost the connection?
A vague feeling of emptiness is usually the first sign.
Frustration, selfishness, and unease are the second signs.
Weariness and depression are often the third.