One of the foundational ways that God builds our resilience under pressure is to renew us with attentive love, love that is just what we need to be strengthened for the journey ahead.
All this week, begin by slowing yourself in mind and body. Slowing helps to invite awareness of both God and yourself. If it helps you to move while you pray and reflect, consider a slow walk.
Intentional, deep breathing is especially helpful to slow us, and combining your breath with one of the names for God as a simple prayer (Jesus, Shepherd, Healer,...) helps to open a conscious connection with God. (If you’d like to know a bit more about what you’re doing here and how others practice it, you might enjoy this article: Take Time for Breath Prayer | WomenLeaders.com)
Begin with 2 minutes (setting a timer is helpful) of deep, slow breaths with your prayer word. Feel free to go longer as time and desire permits.
As you finish your “breath prayers,” spend another (at least) 2 minutes noticing yourself today. Notice anything you notice, but, in particular: What do you notice in your body today? Do you find pain?...tension?...peace?...energy?
Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.” He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food...
1 Kings 19:5-8
When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread...Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”
John 21:9, 12
In the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat”…The house of Israel called it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
Exodus 16:13-15, 31
When you think about God and the things God cares about, where does what you will eat today fit on the list? The theme of God concerned about and providing food for the people of God repeats in scripture. Most often, the context represents God as Chef and Host to those under stress. The fish breakfast was served by Jesus to the disciples in their shame and disappointment after Jesus’ crucifixion. The manna came to the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. And, Elijah is offered not one, but two meals to revive and strengthen him after his collapse in defeat in the wilderness.
In many cultures, food is love, a practical labor -- often a yummy one! -- that communicates the heart of desire for another’s good and well-being.
- Think about a time in your life when you were loved by the gift of a thoughtfully prepared meal? Spend some time with that memory, considering the setting (what was the context, where were you, who was there,...), the actual food (was it elaborate or simple, how did it look, smell, taste,..), and particularly how the whole experience made you feel. (If you don’t find a personal memory of this kind, think of a scene in a movie or book that demonstrates the idea.)
- Have you experienced God’s practical, attentive love in your life in a way that parallels the above-remembered one (particularly in how it made you feel)? How do images of God in roles like Chef and Host fit in your picture of God?
One of the foundational ways that God builds our resilience under pressure is to renew us with attentive love, love that is just what we need to be strengthened for the journey ahead. For Elijah, it was literal food, two servings of it.
What do you need to build your strength and resilience in this season? Close your time asking God for what you feel you need. Ask, as well, for eyes to see how God is attending to you and your need in love.
Scripture wisely instructs us to make the spiritual journey with others for the help and support of companionship. As you invest time in personal reflection, invest also in communal connection. Join our 12 PM Zoom Challenge Gathering today (and everyday, Monday - Friday) and/or with your household, your small group, a friend,...
- Share your memories of being loved with food.
- Share how you have experienced the practical, strengthening, and encouraging love of God over the last week. Many of us hesitate to name our experiences confidently as an expression of God. Help one another affirm the ways that God is with us, empowering us to stand and to persevere in the challenging circumstances of our lives.
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