The Courage of My Convictions

Some days I pick up The Good Book and it’s a surgeon’s knife. 

The story begins with Daniel, a young nobleman taken by force into captivity in Babylon, sometime around the year 600 BC.

Daniel, serendipitously chosen to be trained in service to the King, is assigned a daily amount of food and wine from the King’s table. However, Daniel resolves not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, considered ceremonially unclean according to his faith. And even though refusing the King would likely cost him his life, Daniel stands firm in the courage of his convictions.

I lay down The Book. The two-edged knife-words cut deep… “the courage of his convictions”.   

The probe digs deeper still: when have I demonstrated the courage of my convictions?  The confidence to do what I believe is right, even though other people may not agree or approve? 

I tend to capitulate far too often in order to keep peace (many times sacrificing my own inner peace in the doing).  Yet I have stood firm a time or two in demonstrations of the courage of my convictions, albeit with shaking knees.

My mother always taught us that if people don’t agree with you, the important thing is to listen to them.  But if you’ve listened to them carefully and you still think that you’re right, then you must have the courage of your convictions.” 

Jane goodall

For me, those demonstrations of the courage of my convictions have resulted in my greatest life lessons.  Yet I suspect, albeit with shaking knees, that more opportunities await just around the corner. 

So I pray that I might first listen well. And then, if need be, I pray for the courage of my convictions.

Love & Peace,

“But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Photo by Wouter de Jong on Pexels.com

Black And White With A Pop of Color

 

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I look back down at the page.  Black and white with a pop of color.

          Red letters pop … ”If you can believe, all things are possible …”

          A black-letter comeback … “I do believe—help my unbelief!”

I got trust issues with God.  I believe.  Then again sometimes I don’t.  It’s just that He can be so … unpredictable.  

“Do I contradict myself?  Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”  Walt Whitman says it.   Reminds me of God.

A Contradiction.

I whisper to myself the words of the Psalmist, “How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand…”

An unearthing in the dew-drenched garden of my heart.  New understanding emerges.

Could it be that when God seemingly contradicts Himself, … my heart, mind and spirit are being s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to receive the multitude of His thoughts towards me?

That in the place of contradiction, the Spirit of God desires to reveal Himself to me in a new way?  An unveiling of sorts … an encounter with His thoughts that enlarges me?  That causes me to know Him more?  That causes me to love more?

Dressed in black and white with a pop of color, I walk my best-dressed self out of my office and onto the sidewalk.

Businessmen and women on every corner; in the restaurants and cafes, outside of Starbucks discussing local politics and drinking Macchiatos.

And then I see him.  A homeless man sprawled out in the middle of the alley.

A contradiction.

Delivery truck about to make a blind turn into the alley.  I run, arms waving  like a madwoman.  The driver makes a quick maneuver around us and keeps on going.

The man is not moving.  Not sure whether he’s dead or just had too much to drink.  I lean in close.  No question–too much to drink.  And hasn’t had a bath in a while either.

A passer-by calls 9-1-1 and keeps on walking.  I kneel next to the man and wait.  He’s agitated.  Wants to be left alone.  Don’t care.  I’m not leaving.

I place my persimmon red, over-priced designer purse under his black and white bedraggled head.  Black and white with a pop of color.

A contradiction.

“Why are you here?”

“Because I’m your friend”.

“You’re not my friend.”

In the contradiction, I remember the words, “How precious are your thoughts towards ME-HIM, O God.”

In the contradiction, I recall the words of Terence, “I am human.  Therefore, nothing is alien to me”.  

In the contradiction, I encounter the love of God for one of His own and I am enlarged.

“Yes, I am.”

Quiet tears escape and run down his bristly face.

In the moment, a decision made.  It’s really okay if God seems contradictory.  His  thoughts towards me are vast.  He is large.  I am small.  And it’s in the unpredictables of life, that I am enlarged.  It’s in the contradictions of life that I learn to love.