This afternoon I was having a hateful moment and writing and rewriting a ‘retalitory’ e-mail in my head. After several variations I was still steamed and God was nudging me – is this loving this person? Would sending them this e-mail be pleasing to me? No was the obvious answer even though I must say my hurt flesh felt very justified in wanting to do so. I know my pondering on it (even though I had already decided against sending the e-mail) was not pleasing God. In fact I could hear him asking me to pray for this person on my 40 day prayer journey. I was not wanting to obey and told Him so in no uncertain terms.
My children made me switch gears to work on a lenten activity book with them and waiting in a section talking about magnifying the Lord with your voice was this: ‘We magnify the Lord when we praise him, and St. Paul tells us to do the same for each other: ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:11).’ It had an activity suggestion to find a bare branch and make it a lenten tree – cover it with notes of encouragement for others during the lenten season. We immediately went outside in the glorious afternoon sunshine, went on a long walk to find the perfect lenten tree together, enjoyed God’s magnificent creation and I got a big attitude adjustment in the process. God brought to my mind the familiar and beautiful words of Philippians 4:8-9
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
I was able to free my mind from my angry thoughts and able instead to reflect on all the lovely things that were surrounding me on this walk – my children, the trees, warming sunshine, nature sounds, some time to talk to God and ask for forgiveness on less angry terms. I relished in the peace was there waiting for me, taking a long time to go home again. When it got dark and we finally headed inside, I looked up those words and was (not at all) surprised to see these verses just before in Philippians 4: 6-7
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.