Saturday, May 12, 2012
Affirmations of Life
I find myself once again needing a solid place to rest my faith. I am in a season of transition, called to move to a new place in heart, mind, and especially practice. But this new territory is strange and unfamiliar. It is so completely unlike any place I have been before. I realize I cannot get there on my own. To find my way I need a new head space and heart space to lead from.
How does one do this?
It's actually quite simple. For those of us who grew up in the church, we are already know what to do (even if we don't realize it).
Let me be honest. When I was a kid I thought church was boring. I hated it. The only perk was that I got to dress up, which was kind of fun. (Until Jr. High when I was completely self-conscious about the clothes I wore, worrying about whether I had enough or if they were pretty enough.)
My family always attended the local Methodist church. Since those were the days before contemporary worship, every service in every local Methodist congregation generally looked the same. In an effort to help it go faster, I would follow the bulletin looking for each part I could check off: The Call to Worship, The Lord's Prayer, The Offertory, The Apostle's Creed, The Gloria Patri, The Doxology, The Benediction. I knew them all by heart.
What I failed to realize was that each Sunday was another opportunity to reinforce of the faith I would need later on. That simple reiteration of the basics each and every week helped build a stable foundation I could build upon.
And this is where one must start when moving to a new head space and heart space. It's all about the Affirmations of Faith that we speak into our lives.
Truly we do this already. An affirmation is "the declaration that something exists or is true." Everything we speak to ourselves is an affirmation of one kind or another. How familar are these phrases: I wish I could ____________. I'll never be able to ___________. Why can't I _________? Every word or phrase we say to ourselves is creating a truth we live into. The Bible says faith comes by hearing. How different would life be if we heard ourselves saying things that affirmed the life right into us?
That's what I'm most hungry for right now. I want to affirm the Life right into me with everything I've got. Because I know I cannot manufacture it on my own. I know I have to reach toward Grace, to listen closely to the Still Small Voice, and HEAR what it says about me. Then I have to speak it into my heart, mind, and soul until I believe it. Until I can stand upon it. Until I can act as if it is the truth of who I am.
So here is how I began.
Step 1. Listen for the Spirit's Call. What exactly is it that God is leading you toward? What truth is God inviting you to live into?
Step 2. Open the Word. What passages reflect, define, build upon, explain, flesh out this new territory you are being led into?
Step 3. Write it Out Loud. Copy the passages in your own messy handwriting. There is power in writing truth with your own hand. Change the language into a first-person belief statement. Include the book, chapter, and verse.
Step 4. Tape it Somewhere conspicuous. By the toilet. In the fridge. Over your bed. On the dashboard. Wherever you will see it every day, several times a day.
Step 5. Read it OUT LOUD. Every time you see it, read it to yourself. Make it your bed-time story or your morning kick-in-the-butt. Even more powerful than writing it, seeing truth written in your own hand, is saying the words yourself, and hearing the words spoken in your own voice.
That's it. That's what I'm doing. I'm considering it a kind of "Holy Experiement." I just know I need to be convinced that God has something more for me, that I have not lived the best days of my life, that the more that is to come is truly Something More than anything I've already lived. And so these are the Affirmations I am learning to live by.