Day 4 - You are an obstacle!

Day 4 - You are an obstacle!

August 4!  Another beautiful Minnesota day.  The hot weather has subsided for the moment and the deep blue sky and puffy white clouds abound; truly a beautiful August day to behold!

Creating from the heart today is going to be in words!  I looked over todays Mass readings and two different verses left me pondering.  The first is the responsorial psalm, "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts" in Psalm 95 and the second is from the Gospel reading in Matthew 16 when Jesus is speaking to Peter and says, "Get behind me Satan!  You are an obstacle to me!  You are thinking not as God does, but as humans do."  Wow.  

The statement to Peter follows the verses where Jesus has just informed Peter that Jesus is giving him the keys of the kingdom and then wham!  Peter gets blasted with this verse--Get behind me Satan!  I am sure I would not be feeling too good if I were Peter!  

The other day, my son pointed out a less than becoming behavior that I was exhibiting and after I swallowed my pride and ego, I thanked him for bringing it to my attention and told him I appreciated it.  Yuck.  I do many things well but humility is not always one of them but he was absolutely correct.  My behavior was an obstacle.

As I pondered this "Satan" verse a bit more, as well as the Psalm, it occurred to me that I often don't need someone else to play the "Satan" role for me--I am really good at it myself!  I can spew darkness without even thinking about it, especially if I feel like my ego has been bruised or I am on my little self-righteous tirade--watch out!  I quickly can remain in my arrogant human-ness, forgetting any resemblance to Godliness!  Sometimes I joke that I can almost feel my tail feathers rising in that little rooster kind of way and before you know it, I can snap.  I have my triggers and they are typically consistent but I work intentionally to try to change my responses before I cause damage but it is not always easy.  Years ago, I remember someone telling me to "take my inventory" and if I was hungry, angry, lonely or tired, I should HALT. My responses are not coming from a loving place when I am in a HALT place. And so I learn and try to practice humility, grateful for the opportunity to begin anew each day and giving myself permission to HALT if necessary.

My negative behavior or responses are an obstacle in my relationship with God and on my spiritual journey.  I am human and will always have my faults but I really try to keep my heart open and loving so I can hear the voice of God.  

Today I shared with a friend that I feel like God has gotten out the weeding tool and is working on me, digging deep to loosen and hopefully remove some yucky, maybe even poisonous roots that have been in my life for a long time.  As painful as this process can be, I am also grateful for the ability to change and the trust I have in the one who "tends to my weeds."  My friend pointed out that it seems like these things are being removed in a gentle fashion and I am glad for hearing this wisdom; for hearing the voice of God through her.  Gentle or not, changes to ones character and removal of deep roots is unnerving, especially for my driver type-A self who likes to just figure it out and get it done.  Ordinary time is proving to be a real plowing of my field...and I am faithful in knowing that I am gently and lovingly tended.  I look forward to see what will grow in place of the weeds...

May we have the courage to listen for the voice of God and remember to think as we believe God thinks--with loving kindness and the gentleness God offers us every day.

Blissfully, Susan

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def. Bliss: -noun Supreme Happiness, Utter Joy/Contentment; the Joy of Paradise!