Every night I go to sleep with the word “Believe” watching over me. This word holds a lot of meaning to me. I know from experience that miracles happen when belief is present.
You see for the past few months I haven’t been feeling well physically or emotionally. Despite my best efforts, I’d wake up every day feeling worn before the day began. I’d feel overwhelmed. Depressed. I’d cry on the drive to work or even after I’d get out of the shower. I would do this when I wasn’t even PMS! Oh my! I had nothing to blame it on. This darkness even stayed with me on my vacation.
Last weekend I went for a walk with my best friend. We walked by a Catholic School which had this verse from 1 Corinthians 13 on its sign: “Love is patient. Love is kind.”
Something struck me about those familiar words. It was as if God was saying to me, you’re feeling miserable because you’re not being kind. I had been doing a lot of soul searching over the past few months as to how to change my life, and how to feel better both physically and emotionally. Could it be that being kind to others was the solution? Could that really be the answer?
On the surface I considered myself to be a kind person. But I knew better. I knew my thoughts and feelings towards others and myself weren’t always kind. In fact I liked to harbour a lot of bitterness and self-pity. I thought it was my right to feel offended and wronged by certain people. “How dare they not appreciate me” I would say to myself or out loud. Although outwardly I would seem pleasant to those I was bitter with, I knew my heart was not vibrating with the energy of love or kindness.
The next day, I was listening to a Joel Osteen message on being good to people and letting go of bitterness, resentment and self-pity. Again, I felt the impression deep within that this message was meant to help me. I sensed it held the key to my freedom. As I listened, I grew more and more excited.
So, later that day I made a decision. I was going to try my best to be kind not just outwardly but inwardly. I was going to give up the right to be bitter and offended. I said a prayer and asked for God’s help with this because I know that in my own power I am lacking in mercy. In my own strength, I find it hard to forgive. I also know that I can be hard on myself...very self-critical so I asked too that God would help me to be kind to myself. I need to accept that I will never be perfect and be OK with that.
I know in the past when I’ve prayed similar prayers God miraculously worked a change in me that I can’t take credit for. I knew it was time to do the same thing again. No sooner did I pray then I felt lighter...freer, more energetic, and more hopeful about the future. The depressing thoughts I had been carrying around with me for months seemed to vanish.
Maybe you don’t believe in the power of prayer. I get it. You may think it's weird or too religious for your liking. Maybe you think things are just a coincidence... maybe they are. It just amazes me though how many “coincidences” happen when I pray and how much more positive I feel.
So was my week perfect? Was I able to be 100% kind and loving all week? Well of course not. After all, I am human (as anyone who knows me can attest to!).
But I do know I feel more joy than I’ve felt in a long time. I laugh more. I am more excited about the future than I’ve been in a very long time. I believe I am changing and circumstances are changing for the better. I feel hopeful.
Maybe you’re like me and find it hard to love certain people. You find it hard to be kind and to wish someone well who has hurt you. Maybe you even find it hard to be kind and love yourself.
To those of you who feel like you have nothing left to give and that the future looks dismal, I say, BELIEVE. Believe that with the help of God ALL things are possible. You can change. The situation can change. You can be set free from the prison of bitterness, resentment and self-pity. That is what this Easter weekend is about. Believing. Believing is the beginning...