Colossians 3:9-11 “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all in all!”
I’ve just decided to give up one of my grant projects, for very good reasons, but I’ve never been a quitter in life, and any type of giving up inevitably sends me spiraling down into a circle of self-doubt. Last night while I was examining and trying to make sense of my feelings, I recalled the way in which my spiritual director in New Jersey would often ask me, “How does God feel about you and about those feelings, and what is God calling you to?” So, despite my fear about really allowing myself to feel my feelings, I let God in and God’s wisdom was nothing short of insightful.
I had identified four chief feelings: feeling unsettled, self-doubt, anxious, and guilty (or lazy), so as I focused and prayed on the first one, I heard God saying, “Embrace the uncertainty instead and trust in my steady hand, trust yourself and trust me.” As I opened my eyes and looked at the next feeling I had penned on the paper, self-doubt, I realized that God had known my heart and had already led me to God’s vision for me in emphasizing self-trust and trust in God and others. Praying on self-doubt, I heard God further say, “Receive my grace and allow yourself to rest in my certainty.” When I opened my eyes and saw the next word anxious, I realized that God again had beat me to the punch by calling me to rest in the certainty of who God is and God’s love for me. Finally, meditating on guilt or laziness, I heard God say, “Confess your sins before me and before others, and move on, move forward, that’s where my grace is, it’s hardly in the past with any of your own disappointments, fears, and sins.”
It was a simple five minutes of meditation on God and who God is that got me to realize the possibility and the promise (rather than my inabilities and self-doubt) that God is calling me to. This method that I learned from spiritual direction is one that takes us out of our own negative thoughts and into an experience of God’s grace. So, I challenge you to do the same today: find what you are feeling and then ask yourself how God feels about it and what God is calling you to? I am finding more and more that we not only often sell ourselves short, but we also sell God’s love for us and God’s vision for our lives short. I find that when I rest in the certainty of what God has done for me and what God promises to provide me, I can hardly trifle with my fears, anxieties, and uncertainties. Like the verse from Colossians says, God is clothing us anew, and that new knowledge comes according to God’s image not our own!