Lean into God's love, centering your attention and focus toward Him.
Think of a recent "stress" - it might be vocational, relational, financial, personal, medical etc...
Clench your hands as if you're holding onto that stress. As you tighten your fists, pay attention to where you feel the stress in your body. Is it manifesting somewhere besides your fists?
Notice your breathing - as you think about this stress, what parts of your body "tighten" - does your heart beat faster?
Now, take a few minutes and imagine God walking toward you. What is He inviting you to do with your burden?
Take a few deep breaths and as you exhale, slowly release your hands:"Lord, I consent to your love and care today."
Evaluate honestly how you are as you come into His presence.
As you imagine God coming toward you and as you release your grip on your burdens, what else are you feeling? How would you describe to Him your "just-as-I-am" self? Take a moment, and without any pretense or masks or candy coating, tell God how you feel. Maybe even consider expressing it bodily (i.e. do you feel happy - get up and dance a little jig; are you angry? Slam your fist into a pillow. etc)
Notice what stirs your soul as you interact with the following:
1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
Romans 2: 1-4
Trust Him to open your heart toward fully receiving and living into His love.
During this Lent season I've been very convicted about my judgmentalism...it is especially evident when I'm behind the wheel of the car. I can't believe what other people do (drive into "my" lane to avoid hitting a pedestrian (that's good) and nearly killing me (that's not so good). Why doesn't that person just slow down until it's clear? A few miles later - I do the same thing. Sheesh.
I have caught myself judging the people I'm standing next to in the checkout line, the neighbors who smoke like a chimney, the weather forecasters, the others sitting around me in church, and lock my door when I see a "sketchy" looking character walking my way. Such arrogance. No, I'm not committing murder or adultery - but these little things evidence the insecurity of my soul. These judgments condemn me at worst, but convince me that I'm not as needy of a Savior as her...as him...as them... In essence, they evidence my unawareness of His Kindness toward me.
A significant point of Jesus' death and resurrection is that my life must be radically reoriented - not just in the big things. Not just in me going to church, tithing, being involved in ministry and being moral on the "big" issues. But these little judgments of my soul - how they reveal a subtle but cancerous contempt for (trifle with) the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience. I am walled away from Him and others as a result.
- How does this radical reorientation (toward Him) happen?
- How might I embrace His kindness today?
- Do I even want to have His kindness radically reorient my life?
- Take a moment to imagine yourself being free of the need to make judgments...unflustered by others' "idiocy" or not needing to measure your own superiority (or inferiority) based on your assumptions of others. What does that feel like? What words describe living that way?
Take 3-5 minutes in silence to listen to what He might be inviting you toward in regard to embracing His kindnesses toward repentance (turning toward Him).
Pray to God your heart's response.
As you leave this space, ask God for the grace to notice when you are judging others - turning quickly to embrace His kindness and live without the need to defend your ego.
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