I had a conversation last week with the physio, about some things that may or may not help may. Much of it seemed to consist of drinking no caffeine (gasps of horror from me… I don’t mind decaffeinated versions, but apparently they’re no good either.. :-(). The age-old idea, that what you put into your body effects it.
The same is true about the rest of our lives.
So, I suppose it’s a decision to be made about what we put into our lives and minds. What, or who, are we going to allow to influence and effect us? What is going to control our lives?
But Henri Nouwen moves that on. It’s not just about keeping out the rubbish or unhelpful, but holding on to the good – a very helpful thought.
That was something that came to me yesterday, when asked to reflect on a bible passage. I thought of Joshua 1:5-9, which was integral to my call to full-time circuit ministry. I am currently unable to fulfil that ministry in quite the way expected, but does that mean I drop the call, or the call is no longer there – I don’t think so, so I can continue to live by it and work through it.
So life and faith are not just about shunning the bad things, but also about holding on to the good things – encouraging and nurturing them, and allowing them to encourage and nurture us. And allowing the time for them to do so.
Nouwen then moves that thought on again – to a positive way to live, so that we not only ensure that good comes into our lives, but that good flows out of it too.
Nouwen encourages us to have a “prayer on our lips” wherever we go.
Don’t get irritated – pray;
Don’t despair – pray;
What can I pray for in this situation where I am – right now? What can I do to make good flow?
Take a prayer with you wherever you go
may I watch
what goes into my life,
and what comes from it.
May I think about it
as carefully as I plan menus;
may I look for good things –
to influence me,
and for me to do and say
This year for Advent, some friends and I are using Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen. You’re welcome to join us on this journey. Feel free to comment here, or on Twitter using #adventbookclub