a moment to take a knee

Photo by Sharefaith

“that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 (NRSV)

The first time I saw my son, take a knee on the soccer field for an injured teammate, I was moved. My little boy was becoming a gentleman. In soccer, players take a knee to show respect and concern for another who is injured. At that moment, noise and movement on the field will stop, and the attention will turn to the player and those attending to them. It is a moment of support.

In the military, taking a knee is also a show of respect. A soldier in this posture at the gravesite of a fallen friend honors the lost. It is a moment of sorrow.

In prayer, being on your knees is a show of humility. It is an acknowledgment that there is a Divine being who cares for all creation. It is a moment of supplication.

At this time, our broken country reflected in our broken hearts needs a moment of solidarity. As the publicity grows on this subject, the shifting of our focus has also turned. What we turn toward is significant. As a native Louisiana girl, though not a sports enthusiast, I cannot help but be a Saints fan. Watching Drew Brees these last few days first turn toward the flag, showing his love for his country and then after criticism, with humility, turn toward his teammates and show his love for them I am touched. His character, though challenged, is unwavering. “I live by two very simple Christian fundamentals, and that is love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself, The first one is very self-explanatory. The second one, love your neighbor as yourself, what does that mean to me? It means love all, respect all, and accept all.”  

I appreciate Drew Brees; in his faith and posture of humility, his pride in his country, and his love for humanity. I admire how his character demonstrates them woven together with love.

We have lost many lives these past months with Covid-19. We have lost many lives over many years to violence as a result of racial prejudice. We have lost faith in each other. Our country is gravely injured. Our flag represents us all. When one member suffers, all suffer together. Let us with sincerity come together as “One Nation, under God, indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all.”

 Take a knee. 

a moment of turning

Several years ago, I attended a Gottman Institute workshop, where I heard the expression “turn toward” for the first time. The practice of turning toward has since enriched my most cherished relationships. Throughout the scriptures, there are great stories of God’s people turning toward and away from Him. Often, those who turn away find suffering, while those who turn toward find compassion and healing. When we turn toward, we are recognizing and connecting with the focus of our attention. When we turn toward God, we are recognizing and connecting with love.

Now is a time of biblical intensity. We have suffered and lost much during COVID-19. However, through it all, I believe God has never turned away from us. I have confidence that he is with us and waiting for us to turn to him with every challenge we encounter. I believe he is longing for a glance from us so that he can meet our gaze. Today I ask myself, “Am I turning toward Him?”. Have I allowed the media to divert my attention? Have I allowed worry and fear to distract me from his loving gaze? The truth is, sometimes, yes. So I remind myself today, turn-toward.

Turn toward truth.  

Sometimes, that truth will be painful. When we are willing to let God show us the truth about who we are, we will see we have acted in ways that caused injury to God and others. We can receive forgiveness. 

Luke 22:61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Turn toward Love.

At times meeting God’s glance will be empowering and healing. We will see God’s Love and compassion for us in our suffering. We can receive his grace and mercy.

Matthew 9:22  Jesus turned, and seeing her, he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.”

Turn toward connection.

In a world of insufficient answers and little peace, we need each other. Turn toward those who bid for your time and attention. Turn toward those who offer you comfort. We can be encouraged.

Romans 15:6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let today be a moment for turning-toward, recognizing God’s love for you and the love of Christ in others.

He bids your glance. He is calling your name.

At that moment, turn-toward.

John 20:14-16  she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).

A moment for our graduates

Now it is a time of grand celebration! Our graduates are on the cusp between a work coming to completion and a new work begun. Though there is much to be thankful for, our 2020 graduates have been deeply affected by COVID-19. During this unprecedented time, they need our support and encouragement like never before. We should take a moment to honor our graduates and uphold all the emotions they might be feeling at this time! 

I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

Upon entering freshman year, the dream of graduation looked nothing like this! It is okay to be disappointed at this moment.  

With the economic uncertainty, colleges reinventing their learning strategies, and not knowing what the future looks like, it is okay to be afraid at this moment.

With the unusual way the school year ended, and the vast open space of the future, it is okay to feel lost at this moment.

Friendships that have been made distant by the stay-home orders may be even more distant as you move into new experiences. It’s okay to feel sad at this moment. 

Many have lost loved ones, and their absence at this time will deeply felt. It is okay to mourn at this moment.

Mistakes will have been made, and due to the circumstances, they may be unable to be corrected. It is okay to have regrets at this moment.

What’s done; is done. It is okay to forgive at this moment.

…we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts… Romans 5:3-5

You had a dream and lived it; you had a goal and accomplished it, so also, at this moment, it is more than okay to celebrate!  

 Because God is God, and God is good! God has your past, your present, and your future. He cares about your hopes and dreams.  

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

A moment for the inner-critic

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

We all seem to have voices in our heads; some are loud and intrusive, like the inner-critic; and some are gentle whispers like the inner voice of love. One of the most significant challenges in my life has been quieting the inner-critic so that I could hear my inner voice of love speaking and encouraging me to become my best self.

The inner-critic was with us in childhood to keep us safe. It was essential. It protected us from the things that were harmful to us. It is that same critical voice within us, that now lets us know when we are moving into new or dangerous territory. It will never leave us. Our inner-critic will be there to chime in when we approach something new, either hazardous or productive. The complication is the inner-critic cannot differentiate between the two. It is not useful in decision making on its own. We need to be able to hear the other voices inside us for honest discernment.

Perhaps, we can equate the inner critic to a helicopter parent. The inner- critic, with all its good intentions of protecting us and preventing harm or embarrassment, fails to teach and encourage us to become our best selves. It tells us we are inadequate to the task and must not move forward on our own. Like the helicopter parent, the inner-critic operates out of fear and mistrust, which is fair enough in this dangerous world. However, we are in this world and must learn to navigate our experiences for both survival and enjoyment. In addition to the protection we need love, encouragement, and trust.

We should not silence the inner-critic. We need to give it a moment. Identify it, name it, and appreciated it. You will, then, be able to calm this part of your ego. This calming will free your inner voice of love to tell you what your strengths are and how capable you are of tackling the danger or novel situation.

Once the calmed inner-critic steps back, the inner voice of love and empowerment is more apparent. With this dual perspective on your internal processing, you are more equipped to distinguish between what is a new experience and what may be a dangerous one. We can now intellectually weigh the pros and cons, and well informed proceed on the path to becoming our best self.

You can!
You have what it takes!
You are beloved!
You are worth it!

The beloved of the Lord rests in safety— the High God surrounds him all day long— the beloved rests between his shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6