When we’re open to them, new paths are waiting to be explored. This issue of Just For You includes a podcast, a poem, and a prayer and provides ample paths of learning and reflection.
The guest in this episode of The Best of You podcast talks about growing up in extreme poverty and realizing that it wasn’t only material poverty she overcame. She worked to overcome what she believed about herself, her family, the world, and her work in it. Mary Marantz is the author of Dirt: Growing Strong Roots in What Makes the Broken Beautiful. We all have limiting beliefs – those stories we tell ourselves that hold us back from all God wants for us. Part of our spiritual formation involves becoming aware of these beliefs, understanding how they’re hindering our growth, and asking God to show us the truth. Still not sure if you’re tangled up with some limiting beliefs? I encourage you to listen to this episode to learn more about them and how to overcome them.
A friend sent this poem to me because she knows I love the woods and I’d just said some difficult words to someone I love. It meant so much to me and lifted the sadness for a moment.
How I Go Into the Woods
by Mary Oliver
Ordinarily I go to the woods alone,
with not a single friend,
for they are all smilers and talkers
and therefore unsuitable.
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree.
I have my ways of praying,
as you no doubt have yours.
Besides, when I am alone
I can become invisible.
I can sit on the top of a dune
as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned.
I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing.
If you have ever gone to the woods with me,
I must love you very much.
A Certain Hope
This is a borrowed prayer from a church father who was born to wealthy merchants in northern Italy. According to John R. Tyson in his book Invitation to Christian Spirituality, Francis served in the army of Assisi and was a prisoner of war for a year. He returned home a more religious and reflective man. He experienced a conversion and call to Christian service in 1207. Saint Francis of Assisi is known for his appreciation for encounters with God through nature. I sometimes pray this as part of my morning “quiet time.” I prefer to call it liturgy now but the Baptist in me still has its way often, and I love the Baptist in me.
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me, Lord,
a correct faith,
a certain hope,
a perfect charity,
sense and knowledge,
so that I may carry out Your bold and true command.
Yes, Father God, give us what we need to carry out Your bold and true command.