Chaplain John DeBlieux
Walker Baptist Hospital
A New Year has begun and maybe those New Year’s Resolutions have started to fade. Maybe you made some spiritual resolutions, along with ‘push-aways’ from the table and an exercise regime that Arnold Schwarzenegger would do. I’d like to share a spiritual resolution even I could do. I was in my 20’s, out of school and realized that there had to be life after the party, instead of just being the life of the party. I had three really bad habits and I wanted moderation in them. I really needed to stop them altogether. My resolution was to pray three minutes a day for moderation for 90 days, and you know what? Those three minutes seemed like an hour (you see I’d never really prayed before). Every day I debated for hours on end not to do it for it seemed so absurd, but I kept at it, despite myself and six weeks in, things started to happen, plus it started getting easier. By the end of the 90 days I liked prayer. Early on, God rewarded my steadfastness of my 180 seconds a day! As time went on, I started praying longer and more than once a day.
You know if you want to get to know someone you have to spend time with them. It’s no different with getting to know God. I’ve come to know a really neat God who would rather die for me than to be separated from me. One whose arms are stretched out to embrace, despite what I have done, am doing, or will do. And you know, by spending time with him I want to stop doing what hurts Him because he’s become my friend. I’ve learned I’m less stressed, less angry, and quicker to smile and forgive. I’m becoming someone I’d like to be friends with.
Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” At first I really didn’t love myself so I really didn’t have anything to love my neighbor with. I also realized God is my neighbor, par excellence, for as the Bible says, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Forgiving others can be hard, but forgiving myself was much harder. So I set out with my new friend, Jesus, to get to know the person he liked enough to die for. Jesus kept telling me to give me a chance, you’ll get to not only like him (me); but love him (me). I still have arguments with Jesus that I’m not so great, but he always wins when he shows me those wounds and say, “You’re worth everything to me, my friend.” Can you imagine he calls me, ME, friend!!!
Prayer: Jesus you teach us to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves.” Help us not to fail to see that we are “very good” as Genesis says; that we are more than thorns, thistles and weeds and that you love us right where we are and want to love us into the image of yourself, if we but say yes. Amen.