In more active preaching days, I tried to listen to my own sermon as I was preaching. Looking back I am not so sure I listened to my own pastoring of others. What I mean is that I tended not to fully apply to myself the compassion and kindness of God that I was encouraging others to believe in. Why is it that we tend to be hard on ourselves? I genuinely try and obey the command to do unto others what we would have others do to us, but when it comes to receiving what I seek to offer to others in the Name of Christ, find that more difficult.
Boringly I have to say my health has not been good at all. As well as the underlying lung problems that caused me to retire early I have seemingly got pneumonia. Rest seems to be the best thing for me, and yet I find it so hard to allow myself to do that. Would I encourage others to “rest” if they were fighting the same things? Of course.
I have tried to write blogs while resting (!), but have been unable to do so. My daily dose of steroids have been multiplied by 4 along with other added medication. One of the effects of that for me is my brain gets filled with the most ludicrous quick fire thoughts and images, which in itself very tiring. It also means that I have to make sure I don’t confuse steroids for the voice of the Spirit of God. How do I do that? Well, all of a sudden in the midst of this river of thought flowing in full spate, there comes a thought which I sense has the Life and Peace of God about it. I reach out and grab hold of it and it seems to have an anchoring effect.
Why am I telling those of you who read my blogs this? Well, if I have anything worthwhile to say in the next period of time, it will be one of these anchor thoughts that I think has come from God. Any blogs for the next while are likely to be very short, just the sharing of a thought. I hope they prove an anchor to you. Some of them may seem like a word from God especially for you some days. Hold on to them, and in holding on to them may you find Christ’s strong grip of merciful, kind and compassionate love holding on to you in whatever type of river you may be trying to swim in at this point in time in your life.
In the mean time, here is a repost, linking up to my opening thoughts. as I once tried to put my own sermons into practice I am trying now to fully receive my own blogs!
“I have met Christians over the years who seem to look at any sort of writings from the fields of psychology, psychoanalysis etc. with a great deal of suspicion. My own feeling is truth is truth. Just a couple of quotes for this blog and not much else. They have come back to my mind recently as I come to terms with certain changes in capacity. It is easy for me to fall into a wrong type of disdaining of myself.
I hope what I share here may help. I am pretty sure some of us would struggle with quite a lot of what Carl Jung says, however I hope you can hear an echo of the compassion of Christ in these particular words , and can think of the obvious Scriptures that are relevant without me telling you. I hope they might challenge you to love the tender and weak places in yourself, the parts of you that may even hide from you! I hope what I quote here will help some of us become a safer place for ourselves. By the grace of God and the power of the Spirit I pray these various hopes I have will be fulfilled.
Here are the quotes:
“The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ — all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself — that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness — that I myself am the enemy who must be loved — what then? As a rule, the Christian’s attitude is then reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the brother within us “Raca,” and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves.”(By the way Raca means calling ourself “fool!”)
– Carl Jung in Memories, Dreams, Reflections
“You cannot apply kindness and understanding to others if you have not applied it to yourself.”
– Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 515-516
Happy thinking. Allow your self to come out of hiding and be loved by God and by you.