The Gift of Suffering

Photo by  Ryan Cheng  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ryan Cheng on Unsplash

On a scorching day I’ll step out into the sunlight and in seconds begin to sweat. It doesn’t take long for my body to heat up and for my skin to begin to burn. I can only bare the burden for a short while before I need to find relief in the shade of a nearby tree. In the intensity of my struggle, the tree provides welcome relief all while suffering in the sun without saying a word.

Like a tree, may you find your strength to silently suffer along side others in their misery.

You're Positioned

 Motivational speaker Gail McWilliams once said, "You are not stuck. You are positioned." 

No one signs up to be a pawn, yet being a pawn describes how so many people feel —stuck with limited options only to be sacrificed. 

When it comes to the game of chess, the two most important pieces are the king and queen yet neither of them can make a move until the pawn boldly steps forward.

http://www.freeimages.com/ Marcelo Gerpe

http://www.freeimages.com/ Marcelo Gerpe

May the perspective of your position be renewed each day to find purpose and meaning in what you do and may your sacrifice be for a king worth dying for.

Habit as a Gravitational Force

American philosopher, psychologist, and physician William James is considered one of the most influential people on American psychology. In 1887, he published Habit, which is a fascinating historical perspective on the science of habits. Among his many observations, there was one that stood out to me that undoubtedly has its impact on social injustices and interpersonal relationships.

If the period between twenty and thirty is the critical one in the formation of intellectual and professional habits, the period below twenty is more important still for the fixing of personal habits, properly so called, such as vocalization and pronunciation, gesture, motion, and address. Hardly ever is a language learned after twenty spoken without a foreign accent; hardly ever can a youth transferred to the society of his betters unlearn the nasality and other vices of speech bred in him by the associations of his growing years. Hardly ever, indeed, no matter how much money there be in his pocket, can he even learn to dress like a gentleman-born. The merchants offer their wares as eagerly to him as to the veriest swell, 'but he simply cannot buy the right things. An invisible law, as strong as gravitation, keeps him within his orbit, arrayed this year as he was the last; and how his better-bred acquaintances contrive to get the things they wear will be for him a mystery till his dying day.

Today's science has proven that our brains yearn for habits as a means to conserve cognitive energy. From the things we do to the things we believe, our minds create habits and beliefs that cannot easily be untaught. In fact, most psychologists will say that habits cannot be unlearned, but only replaced.

To see changes in social injustices around the world or with existing interpersonal relationships, a study on the habitual thoughts and actions of all parties may be key to finding a solution. As James says, habits are a gravitational force that keep us within our own orbit. To escape such forces usually requires proper motivation, ability, and patience through well planned actions.

May you learn to see the same people each day, newly.

Waiting

Micah, one of the minor prophets spent a lot of time with people who lived in conflict with the Lord's instructions. In his calling from God, Micah continued to preach and warn the people against the way they were living. As is the case with most of the minor prophets, the people did not listen. Their evil continued to increase.

Just as it was for Micah, it is easy for us to become frustrated with long term relationships and the environments where they exist. Enduring long spans of frustration or experiencing recurring moments of what we feel like may be an injustice can take its toll on our morale. Like Micah, we want what we do to provide meaning and purpose and we want our work to bear the fruit we desire —or as long as it's good.

For Micah, his perspective on a frustrating work is something we should all be reminded of on occasion. 

"But as for me, I will look to the LordI will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me." - Micah 7:7 (ESV)

May your patience endure with your injustices as you continue to hope in the Father and the Son.