...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Monday, December 9, 2013

Wonder- See God Anew

Holy wonder can give us a break in the "too much" we create
A sense of wonder lifts us out of the anxiety and stress of the holiday season. Wonder is healing and life-sustaining. Other such "transcendent" emotions, such as humor, appreciation, gratitude, and hope can also nurture our spiritual connection with God and others, but wonder seems uniquely organic to the Christmas story. 

Wonder by definition is awe, astonishment, marvel, admiration, reverence. It often comes as the fruit or byproduct of seeing God's life and love revealed to us in a new way. Wonder usually comes with surprise, because it undoes even our best schemes for self-producing happiness.   

Wonder invites us to relinquish our tight gripped illusions of control. It's a sharp counter- balance to our fixation on having, buying, and making for ourselves the perfect Christmas. It's also a correction for all the voices around us and in us, promising us happiness if we only buy or do more. How often do I choose to listen to those false consolations?  

Only with the gift of wonder can we see anew the small and unnoticed things, like a seed growing silently, without hullabaloo, or simple kindnesses, such as a smile, a hug, or a visit. In O Little Town of Bethlehem, there's mention of the angels' watch of "wondering love." Seeing with the eyes of wonder and love may help us experience the presence of God here and now. For even in Advent, God is near and available to us!  (Phil. 4:5)     

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

Making Good Decisions