A Devotional by Margot Cioccio
I'm feeling better today. I still have a hacking cough and a lot of congestion. I am seeing small improvements each day. I have been thinking a lot about how I can simplify. I've been asking myself a lot of questions, but I don't always have answers. Sometimes I don't like my answers. Sometimes I feel stuck, often I feel like I should be working on something but seem to lack the energy or the passion or maybe the conviction to pursue any of the things I can see in the event horizon ahead of me. In some ways I realize that in trying to do what I believe God has asked me to do to "slow down" leaves me feeling restless. Which reminded me of this song. I've attached the video so you listen to it. If you get this by e-mail you will need to click the post title
As I stop and watch the video from beginning to end. I am singing along in my head because my voice is still scratchy. I let the images, music and words wash over me. I am reminded of the words of the 23rd Psalm. In reading it I am reminded that it is the Lord who is doing all the doing in this Psalm. Do you see it - I'll put it in bold for you.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I suppose if anyone could make resting difficult it would be me. I tend to complicate things and make them harder than they need to be. I get the mistaken notion that I need to be busy and always doing something. While there are some wonderful images of running a race to reach the prize. I am learning that rests are part of the music of life. The white space on a page is as important as the text. To much text crammed on a page makes it harder to read.
I was reading about a woman called Peace Pilgrim. For roughly 30 years, from 1953 -1981 she walked on a personal pilgrimage for peace. She vowed to "remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food."
"No one is truly free who is still attached to material things, or to places, or to people. We must be able to use things when we need them and then relinquish them without regret when they have outlived their usefulness. We must be able to appreciate and enjoy the places where we tarry, and yet pass on without anguish when we are called elsewhere. We must be able to live in loving association with people without feeling that we possess them and must run their lives. Anything that you strive to hold captive will hold you captive, and if you desire freedom you must give freedom."
"We can all spend our lives going about doing good. Every time you meet a person, think of some encouraging thing to say - a kind word, a helpful suggestion, an expression of admiration. Every time you come into a situation, think of some good thing to bring - a thoughtful gift, a considerate attitude, a helping hand."
She walked around the country talking to people and encouraging them to simplify their lives. She talked to them about peace. She is an interesting character, someone I had not even heard of before yesterday. So I spent some time on line reading about her. Here's a link to one of the things I found interesting to read. http://www.peacepilgrim.com/steps1.htm. I don't think the Lord is asking me to wander the country with nothing but the clothes on my back and whats in my pockets in order to live a quiet simple life. He does ask me to follow him day by day, step by step. I can relieve myself of a fair amount of mental clutter if I would just stay in this present moment. I have been working on reeling in my thoughts that want to unscramble the past and figure out the future. How can I make the most of this moment and this day. How can I keep my attention focused on what the Lord is doing right now in and through me.
Prayer: Lord I pray you would help each of us to relinquish the mental clutter of the past and the worries and spin about the future. Embrace each of us in this moment. Allow us to feel your love, breathe your life into us. Refresh us, restore us and lead us through this day for your glory and your delight.