Daily Devotional LifeJourney Church (MCC)

Role of a Lifetime

April 3, 2012 • Category: Proverbs

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 11:12-21 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Tommy Chittenden):

I doubt there’s one of us that hasn’t said at least once, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” It’s a useful little rhyme to mockingly chant in the face of the one hurling slanderous, hurting words at us on the playgrounds of our childhood.

But be honest, were we not (at least on the inside) on the verge of tears, longing for consoling and reassurance from a loving parent or friend? And what if those moments of consoling, those words of reassurance came too infrequently, if ever at all? And what if, in the absence of loving encouragement, you and I attached a meaning to those hurtful, painful moments — regardless of whether they occurred in childhood, teenage, or yes, even adult years — a meaning that has possibly been the source of self-sabotage despite our best intentions to become our best selves?

We all know that bruises, cuts, and even broken bones will heal. But what can be said for those words, sometimes even directed at us by well-meaning, loving people? You and I can never be responsible for the words that are spoken to us, but we are ultimately responsible for the meaning that we attach to them.

I see this amazing journey we call life similar to a movie or theatrical performance, and everyone in our life has a part to play. Some are main characters, some supporting roles, some are extras, but everyone is playing their role perfectly, They come in (on stage) at precisely the right time, deliver their lines and carry on with their own life. As they appear they bring with them their little boy, their little girl self, their teenage self, their adult self and project on to us exactly what they want to say or do.

Proverbs is one verse after another of contrasting life realities. The writer of Proverbs so eloquently acknowledges these dualistic realities and admonishes us to choose wisely how we will “show up” and perform, so to speak. Are we “acting” from a place of fear or love?

Try this exercise to get a better idea of what I mean by “attaching meaning.” Try to recall your earliest memories of what your mother, father, and closest family members told you about yourself. Consider also friends, teachers, and others who may have influenced you. Pay attention to your emotional responses.

  • “When I was a child, I was told that I was…” (smart, stupid, beautiful, ugly…)
  • “I was told that my limitations were…” (never be a good parent, have a good job, be capable of loving or receiving love…)
  • “I was told that girls / boys should always…” (did you fit the ideal image of what it meant to be a girl or boy?)
  • “Today, I believe that a woman / man should always…”

Our perception of perfection is the reason we reject ourselves; it is why we don’t accept ourselves the way we are, and why we don’t accept others the way they are.

The wisdom found in Proverbs can help reflect all of the dueling realities that make up our world and if we choose wisely, benefit in ways that will transform our relationships, our health, our finances and our spiritual heart! Hafiz, a 14th century teacher said, “Fear is the cheapest room in the house, wouldn’t you prefer to be living in better conditions?”

Thought for the day: Always choose love. Always!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.

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