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Pray 6: Becoming

Question:

What desires are shaping who you’re becoming right now?

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Transcript of Video:

One of my favorite quotations comes from Mahatma Gandhi, the great spiritual leader of India in the twentieth century. He says, “We become what we yearn after, hence the need for prayer.” Now if we look at that statement, look at the first part: “We become what we yearn after.” Gandhi doesn’t mean we just get whatever we want or we become whatever we want. It’s not an automatic thing. What he’s saying is that we become what we yearn after. In other words, what we’re yearning after, what we’re desiring in life will shape who we are. And if wealth is what we desire more than anything – or success, or prestige, or social status, or fame, or popularity, what we desire most deeply – then those desires will shape the kind of person that we become.

And the second part of the quote is equally important. It says, “hence the need for prayer.” That’s why Gandhi says we need times of prayer where we can step back from our lives, where we can retreat as it were, where we can look at our lives, look at the desires and motivations that are shaping them and make conscious decisions about how we want to live and what we want to live for. And one of those decisions that we should make is: are we giving ourselves time to rest, time to step out of our lives and look at the bigger picture, to see what’s driving us, what’s motivating us, what’s really shaping us, and what’s really forming and influencing the way that we’re living in the world? Is this how we want to live, and what choices can we make that might help us to live in a different way?

-Br. David Vryhof

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107 Comments

  1. Helen Chandler on March 31, 2015 at 06:58

    This coming Saturday will be the first anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. In the early days of my discernment I kept going with the mantra, “God doesn’t call the qualified, God qualifies the called.” I was able to hand over to God all my doubts and fears and feelings of inadequacy. Well almost! Well, maybe it is still a mantra that allows me to face my fears of inadequacy!

    When I was a substitute teacher, my goal was to connect with one child a day. There was no way I was going to get to know the children who crossed my path, even in the relatively small community/geography where I lived and taught. But of I could touch one child in some way, then my day would be complete. I realised that I may never know whether I had connected or not. Perhaps something I said, or a smile in the corridor would have an effect down the road.

    As a parish priest, I am now aware that I often say, “One person at a time.”

    My desire is to make contact, one person at a time.

  2. Kimber on March 12, 2015 at 15:44

    This is a hard one to respond to. I haven’t thought much about what my desires are… except to have a fairly easy life—one that is free of stress, illness, drama. I have a dear life-long friend who will be 93 on March 13. If I ever knew anyone who has lived a contented, happy, stress-free life, it is she. I wish to emulate her easy-going attitude toward life. Of course, she has lost many loved ones, had her own health issues (but not many), and her family has suffered setbacks—such as surviving a serious house fire. But she exudes such confidence in God and providence… she is so at ease at all times… she is so pleasant to be around… that I can’t help but love her. I guess that is the kind of life I desire. I have very little use for wealth, fame, popularity. I am known and loved by only a relative handful of people. I minister in relatively small ways. And I strive only to strengthen my relationship with God and to help improve the lives of those around me. These are the desires that are shaping who I become. I’m in my fifties now, so I’m curious to see what the next twenty, thirty years will bring. Who will I become? God willing a person of strength and confidence like my friend Eleanor.

  3. Mary AnnRyan on March 11, 2015 at 10:04

    Each Lenten reflection has hit the mark, probably for the vast majority of us. This issue of becoming what we yearn for has been on my mind recently. What am I yearning for? The questions you pose are just what I need to help my reflections at the Monastery this weekend. Thank you.

  4. Elizabeth S on March 10, 2015 at 09:18

    My desire to be free from the pain of the past, my desire to move forward in a healthy way, my desire to live a Christ-like example for my children (as much as that is humanly possible) is shaping me, but I’m not sure into what? I’m right in the deep middle of it now. I am very hopeful that all the hard work and prayer will continue to result in a deepening relationship with God and with people I can trust. I think that’s the shaping that’s happening.

  5. Lissa Davis on March 9, 2015 at 11:18

    To be whole, not a victim of myself. To live as the woman God wants me to be.

  6. Patricia on March 9, 2015 at 11:11

    I have yearned for someone who really understood and accepted me and we found each other in our mid-60’s. Now approaching 80, I am his full-time caregiver and yet our love is still strong even when he’s not completely sure who I am. God is with us!

  7. Lisa on March 8, 2015 at 15:54

    I desire to grow into the person God intends me to be. I hope to continually grow spiritually, emotionally and live with others in a way that nurtures and feeds them and me. I continually seek to balance my life in healthy ways.

  8. Sophfronia on March 7, 2015 at 21:35

    My desire to be a certain kind of literary/spiritual writer means I become all the challenges, both the exhilarating and the frustrating, that come with the endeavor. I believe the journey is well worth the effort.

  9. David Cranmer on March 7, 2015 at 20:56

    Jesus said to His disciples, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.” I yearn to love Jesus so that I do a better job of keeping His commandments.

  10. Ed Covington on March 7, 2015 at 18:26

    My desire is that God will continue to mold me to become the person he would have me to be. A good husband,father and friend to my fellow man.

  11. shawn on March 7, 2015 at 10:23

    I am praying for God to remove the unrelenting anxiety and desolation I am experiencing. I wait for Grace and it comes but so easily wains.

    I have failed at every attempt to live a “normal” life. I was not able to succeed at anything…even to have a family or relationship or home. I had a very difficult childhood. Many say it’s a miracle I have survived it. But I am so frustrated at never having the simple things. Now at 62 I am in constant anguish that there is no time left for even a hope of these things.

    When I pray I only want Him but when I am in the world I want what others have and I do covet….I am so sinful with covetousness and jealousy…it is deplorable.

    I do have a relationship with God but I constantly feel he has left me out. Why? I get so tired of hearing about people’s families and children and all the stuff that goes with it.

    • Gary on March 8, 2015 at 14:23

      Shawn, contact the brothers and set up a time to visit them. They’re kind, wonderful, helpful and very smart. Ask them for guidance.

  12. Susan Zimmerman on March 7, 2015 at 07:19

    …Choosing to Love juxtaposed to the Christian polity of Scripture, Tradition, & Reason and not having my values accepted via constant legalization, which implies that polarities are, at minimum, not ‘intellectually’ recognized. Complimentary polar opposites should not be legalized rather it is a place for constant prayer and vigilance, where one ‘works and prays’ to maintain balance between opposites. Legalization for all polarities is a ‘jump rope’ for anything and no one but God has Absolute Freedom.

  13. Mark on March 7, 2015 at 07:14

    I just a new church last month and it a different denomination from the church I left so trying to ‘guidance from God in order for him to shape me in the paths He wants me to walk down.

  14. Verlinda on March 7, 2015 at 00:38

    The desires shaping me now are for peace–personally and in the groups that I’m a part of. For myself, peace comes with learning to say no, to set limits, to refresh myself, to spend time with God in prayer and presence.

    For the groups that I participate in, it’s helping to set a tone that fosters communication and cooperation and keeps the big picture foremost in mind–especially groups within the church, which can get bogged down in the details and lose sight of the purpose.

  15. Karen Fast on March 6, 2015 at 23:22

    I find myself stretched a little thin with volunteer commitments right now. I may be wanting to please others more than myself, more than God. I feel some pressure right now to get neglected things done for myself. Yes, it is good to be honest about all this. Trying to witness to a loving God while feeling pressured doesn’t make much sense.

  16. Susan on March 6, 2015 at 23:20

    My desire is to live from love, to be able to see God in all things, in all people and be a servant.
    But I’m preoccupied with making a living: I want to be good at my work, and I want to invest in ongoing spiritual and professional development. And I want people to pay for my services so that I can fix my house, live well in retirement, take vacations, be generous with my friends and family, be generous in charitable giving.
    Most of the time I live in the list and not in the truth of my most heartfelt longing to live and act and serve in the love of God.
    But the truth is that I cannot be all giving, as I am when I imagine myself living and expressing the love of God. In fact I think that is a bit of an unhelpful fantasy of me as saint or angel.
    I suppose I could just say that I long to dive into love, every day, as best as I can.

  17. Christine white on March 6, 2015 at 19:39

    I desire to change my career and follow my passion which I am still realizing.

  18. Tracy on March 6, 2015 at 19:18

    Great to see so many responses, but also desires! I’m no different. I really, really want to meet God – in a supernatural way – but I so love comfort. I desire popularity. I desire the fulfilment of who I am most of all & I feel so lost. I know I can do many things – if only I had the self discipline – but I don’t & won’t – so my choice in the end seems apathy & comfort- with little self respect & under achievement.

    • Susan on March 6, 2015 at 23:24

      Tracy, God bless you. Would it be helpful to think that you could let yourself be lost and trust that you will be found? Would it be helpful to start with care and compassion and kindness towards yourself and trust that if you are strong in love in your own heart you will naturally have things to give?

  19. Harold Pound on March 6, 2015 at 18:55

    I desire to be a servant of God. I’m 74 years old (or young) and I have my eyes and heart on the homeless men I work with three times a week. I am the chaplain for 20 beds in the respite center. I also will meet with a few members of the 68 beds on my own time. I must pray for me to be guided to use my mouth in proportion with my two ears. I also ask in prayer what I can learn from those I meet with. When I do both things, I’m amazed at the results and the wonderful warmth in my heart.

  20. Kathy B on March 6, 2015 at 15:27

    I can’t right all the wrongs, but I want to contribute what I can. I desire to make a more effective impact, to be a more gentle leader, and to avoid being distracted by things that don’t matter. At the same time, I want to be more comfortable in my own skin, in who I am, and make that part of my contribution.

  21. Enid Shields on March 6, 2015 at 15:01

    My desire for love, to love and be loved.

  22. Linda on March 6, 2015 at 14:58

    True words. Since the loss of my husband last July I have no sense of what I want to be or do. I know two things, the overwhelming sense of love I have felt since he died both as in love as well as in grief and that God has a plan for me. May I be strong enough, courageous enough and wise enough to recognise that plan, accept it and do my best. My husband was his plan as I certainly would have missed that love if he hadn’t told me it was a gift I could accept if I chose. It was my life goal to make one person happy in life and I did. Can it be done again?

    • NA on March 7, 2015 at 09:14

      I am sorry you lost your husband, Linda. That is a huge loss. It takes everyone different amounts of time to work through their grief at losing a loved one, which is one reason grieving folks are often encouraged not to make any big decisions for a year after a significant loss. So the answer is that God is still at work in you and in your life and that the path will emerge when and where you need. Rest in God’s love for you and may He send you the forms of comfort that will most ease and support your heart.

  23. James on March 6, 2015 at 14:04

    I want to know what is shaping my longing for beauty, truth and goodness, in company with like-minded friends with whom I am in regular and sustained conversation. I want to share what I find–both what is motivating me as well as identifying what is beautiful, true or good–and receive what others are finding.

    • gwedhen nicholas on March 6, 2015 at 16:25

      I can relate! You are so right.

    • Susan on March 6, 2015 at 23:26

      Perhaps you are called to religious life?

  24. Nicki on March 6, 2015 at 13:35

    In my eightieth year, I’m yearning, still, to be articulate and strong when voicing my convictions, particularly to hurtful people, whether in person or by way of op ed letters. Early on I learned to “Handle” opposition with silence and disappearing. Surprisingly that worked for decades, but the time has come when the pent up anger has gotten cumbersome and burdensome. My desire is to turn my anger into a tool that will work for me. We’ve been talking about love, with love, so it’s hard for me to bring up this topic, but I am sure that I can release a lot more love when I feel this turning take place, because I also have a great deal of love pent up!

    • Randy Ruffin on March 6, 2015 at 22:02

      Your desire rings a real bell with me, as I’ve often stayed quiet when someone has said or done something that really seems wrong to me – or when I’ve read something in the paper that I feel “someone” should challenge. I’ve stayed quiet because I didn’t want to rock the boat, or felt I didn’t have the right words, or the time to write. But I yearn to have more courage to speak up, or to write and a willingness to trust that with help from the Good Lord and enough work, I will find the right words. Just over a week ago I did write to our local paper challenging the oft repeated assertion these days that our President lacks both faith and patriotism. It was given pride of place in last Sunday’s paper. To have the dare to challenge what seems wrong or unjust to me is one thing I’m learning for and to get out of my comfort zone and risk opposition to do so.

    • Randy Ruffin on March 6, 2015 at 22:08

      My yearning is to become better at pastoral care and spiritual companionship – a better listener, a wiser person, a healer.

    • David Cranmer on March 7, 2015 at 20:50

      Similarly, I too for many years would not speak up. But I hope that I am learning to speak the truth in love, hoping that the “in love” part will allow others to hear the truth about what they have done and said.

  25. Clare Keller on March 6, 2015 at 13:32

    My best answer to this comes in a prayer I happened upon this morning – a prayer from St Frances, that spoke so perfectly to my condition that I share it here:
    “Be at Peace. Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life; rather look to them with full hope as they arise. God, whose very own you are, will deliver you from them. He has hitherto, and he will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will bury you in his arms. Do not fear what will happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day. He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.”

  26. Charlotte Williams on March 6, 2015 at 13:30

    As I become older I needed to have some real focus in my life, not always be so fussy and anxious. Then one day God gave me a call to be a holy woman. I certainly couldn’t do it by myself. But God did not leave me on my own.

    I am a Child of God; a Child of Christ. (God created me in His Image; He is my Father.) He protects and preserves me, cares for me.

    God pours His spirit on me so that I may know His ways, know Him, the Living God, my Maker and Creator.

    Christ enlightens me, protects, loves, and teaches me.

    My job is to turn from darkness to Light, be a holy woman and walk the path of the just.

    The Risen Christ, who is the way to God, is the path of holiness.

    He is all power in heaven and earth; He is eternal life.

    I do believe that God and Christ cherish me and want the best for me. They are Yes, affirmation. All things work together for good.

    I find myself just about as fussy but not quite so anxious since I made this decision.

    PS I think I can say that this new focus and a better understanding of myself is due to the series.

    May God Bless your work.

  27. Jeff Lowry on March 6, 2015 at 13:20

    Great question ! When not praying for others ( known and unknown ) to experience the love of God and love in general;for myself, I pray that I may be as love to others and be able to experience love again.

  28. Karen on March 6, 2015 at 12:51

    I have been yearning and praying to reach my full potential. I want to be a creative, productive person. And I won’t deny that money has been on my mind because as my mom ages, she needs more and more support. But mostly I want to become the person that God meant for me to be. So I pray for energy, motivation, and patience.

  29. Craig Sugden on March 6, 2015 at 12:48

    I pray to be the husband my wife needs me to be, the father my kids need me to be and the teacher the students and staff need me to be,.
    Also want bigger arms and a smaller stomach 😉

  30. Alison Vogel on March 6, 2015 at 12:14

    Many years ago I admitted to my spiritual director and my husband that my deepest desire was to become a saint. My spiritual director said “let’s explore that” and my husband was appalled and said “what? no more sex?” I reassured my husband that it didn’t mean that at all–my notion of being a saint had more to do with being given than being “good.” I’ve been exploring the notion of becoming a saint ever since (and this is the first time I’ve ever admitted this to anyone else!), and I now believe that such given-ness is impossible without having the mind of Christ. There must be many ways to get there, but one way I know of is to spend time with him in prayer. This yearning of mine is definitely shaping who I’m becoming–thank you Br. David for making that clearer.

    A new desire is to find a job that pays well with a company that treats its employees well. I hope my old and new desires can co-exist in harmony.

  31. gwedhen nicholas on March 6, 2015 at 11:50

    The desire which is shaping me right now is one to devote my life to God; the be aware of Him throughout the day, and thus to pray constantly. I want nothing to come between me and this.

    • David Cranmer on March 7, 2015 at 20:46

      me too.

  32. Dee Dee on March 6, 2015 at 11:46

    After many years of desiring to be insulated, protected from emotional pain, to have my life “just so,” I found that my life had become what I yearned for….and it was not fulfilling at all. I had, in essence, been living in and from a place of fear. One day, God said “This doesn’t have to be your life” and, thankfully, I listened. Today, my desire, my yearning, is to live a life of love and courage– love for God, love for other people, love for myself, and love for all of creation — and the courage to live into that desire. It isn’t easy, because I have allowed myself to be vulnerable to profound brokenness and pain, which has recently made me want to put up the walls again. But I am determined not to do that. I am thankful to God every day for helping me choose love over fear. Love + Courage > Fear

    • NA on March 7, 2015 at 09:04

      Good for you. It does indeed take courage and love to break free. Sometimes the familiar insulation calls at us, and it is then we need yet a little more courage to walk further away so we cannot hear it and wind up allowing ourselves to build the walls again. It helps to remember that in walling others out, we do truly wall ourselves in.

      That puts me in mind of a few lines from Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall:”

      Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
      What I was walling in or walling out,

      🙂

  33. Emily on March 6, 2015 at 11:45

    To find contentment in “being” in the here and now where I am at with whom or what I am present. And to let go of the anxious ways of the world that I have let rule too many moments in my life.

    • NA on March 7, 2015 at 08:54

      So that sounds like you want to give up texting and cell phones, eh? 😉 In all seriousness, I think they are one of the prime ways our culture encourages us not to be where we are and with who we are in that moment. We’ve all seen someone in a restaurant sitting with someone else at dinner and texting with someone who is not there instead of just being with the person who is. Sad to say, we waste a lot of life and connection that way. It’s a challenge, that’s for sure, since it is far too easy to get caught up in the Next instead of simply being in the Now.

  34. Mary Ann on March 6, 2015 at 11:40

    Yes, that prayer of Mother Teresa’s has become an important part of my prayer life too. It helps me to remember
    that I live to be an example of God’s love to all I touch. “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Who cares about making it into a history book; care about living for God!

    • NA on March 7, 2015 at 08:46

      And yet Mother Teresa’s small things done with great love created such resounding echoes that she has definitely gone down in the history books as synonymous with love and caring. What a legacy for such a humble woman.

  35. Janet on March 6, 2015 at 11:38

    Thank you, thank you Brother David for this revealing insight. I think I have known this in my heart because it feels so true. I yearn for the love of God to shine through me to light the lives of others.

  36. beth on March 6, 2015 at 11:02

    I yearn to be the very best mom I can. I yearn for peace and contentment; and I am actively trying to figure out the path for me.

  37. Jane on March 6, 2015 at 10:46

    As a newly retired person living in a new community in a new part of the country, I am yearning for a meaningful life but am still trying to figure out what that means for me. It is definitely a gift to have so much more time for my prayer life. But beyond that, I haven’t found activities yet that help me feel like I’m still a contributor to the world around me.. Maybe I’m expecting too much too fast… Every day, I’m putting this in God’s hands.

    • Michael on March 6, 2015 at 14:58

      I am in the same position. It helps to know it is not just me

  38. David Bowring on March 6, 2015 at 10:43

    I yearn to be harmonious relationship with God > life creation. Right now I yearn for relief from chronic pains.

    • gwedhen nicholas on March 6, 2015 at 16:32

      I just sent an arrow prayer for you!

  39. Margie Faulkner on March 6, 2015 at 10:38

    Sometime I feel I’m too old to have desires other than to be with Him in my house alone and live out my life with just Him as I feel I failed at my desires in my younger years.
    Then I have the desire to go again and be the EMT I was and care for people and show people love and patience when they are hurting….just as He has showed me my whole life with all my mistakes.
    That is my desire to continue on until the day I die taking care of people and loving people. Showing my family nothing but love even though they cannot return it.
    I pray to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit that this be Your Will for me and I can continue on my life with You in earthly things I love.

  40. Gretchen Crawford on March 6, 2015 at 10:37

    I desire peace for all people, and this planet and all it’s creatures. I desire that loving-kindness trump militarism . I desire that the active nonviolence of Jesus and Gandhi live and grow in people today until there is justice and peace all over this world.

  41. Norm Anderson on March 6, 2015 at 10:33

    My desire of wanting to fulfill what God yearns for me to become is the not-so-hidden center of my life.I yearn to please God and become more fully grown into the person who cares for ALL and is not selective about who God’s children are. I want to become more compassionate, more passionate about loving others and live out that Christ-like goal as well and as long as I am able. As I grow older, I am less inclined to waste time and more inclined to spend time on substantive things and activities.

  42. Jose L. on March 6, 2015 at 10:23

    Br. David, what a timely and provocative teaching you gave us today! Soooo in line with where I am in my life now: celebrating good health after a very scary experience last year, watching my business grow…and seeing myself slip back into the very same “success-chasing” mode which probably led to my illness in the first place. Despite that tendency, what I truly “yearn” for is that balanced living that SSJE’s Rules, workshops, and teachings all encourage. Time to rest, time to play (like in Luke’s excellent workshop last fall, where I was surprised to learn that I’m not a bad sculptor!), time to work.

    I’m getting there but the constant challenge is to temper the rat race habit which is so ingrained in me. Thank you and the rest of the brothers for all these wonderful tools which serve as daily reminders of what really matters!

  43. Ginny S on March 6, 2015 at 10:03

    Truthfully….far too often I find myself yearning to be thinner, younger, etc, rather than striving to be healthy, whole, and grateful for my strong, healthy, middle aged body. That’s why I need prayer every day –I have a short memory. God answers my prayers by helping me see the beauty in others regardless of their age, size, color, abilities. I work for a Christ centered organization that operates a hospital ship to provide surgery for the poorest of the poor. Each day I see the how people live with incredible deformities. We provide hope, love, compassion and healing. They also provide us with hope , love, compassion and healing in a very different way. My desire is to be more accepting of self as is, more loving and giving to others. More like Christ. It begins with our thoughts.

  44. Christopher Epting on March 6, 2015 at 09:52

    My deepest desire is for a truly just and peaceful world. I need to step back more often and see how it is that I am, or am not, living out that desire in my own life — not just on a vast and global scale, but personally. How am I living a “just” life? How am I living a “peaceful” life?

  45. Christopher Engle Barnhart on March 6, 2015 at 09:40

    I am retired now from the everyday world. My time is my time and not someone’s elses. In a sense I am my own boss now. How I use my time is up to me. I wake early in the morning. This time for me is my time to read, to study, to better understand the teachings of Jesus Christ through Daily Lectionay readings, reading daily meditations, reading daily sermons from SSJE and responding to the the the questions asked. This time is God’s time for me. It sets the tone for my day.

    • shawn on March 7, 2015 at 09:35

      Good for you! I have always been a morning person and somehow got out of synch. I don’t get to bed early enough to get up early enough because I have gotten hung up in other stuff. I am praying for the discipline to change this. I get up at 7:30 but it isn’t early enough for me. Thanks.

    • Susan Dredge on March 7, 2015 at 13:57

      I am like you Christopher, a now retired person. Most of my days are mine to do as I wish but not always. I am content in my life but my yearning is to be a better person and stand back and patiently wait for God’s guidance. I am sometimes too hasty, too impulsive, too impatient with too much to say. I know God has a plan for me, I just need to stop, stand back from myself and listen to what He says to me, and then act on it. I am not in charge!

  46. N on March 6, 2015 at 09:15

    My soul is sadly disordered right now – I feel that I am being pulled in many different directions both at work and outside of it. I know (I hope!) that this Scylla and Charybdis is temporary but while I am in it, even my prayer time is not as focused as I wish it to be. I so long to be worthy of the Lord’s love and light.

    • Jennifer on March 6, 2015 at 10:29

      You are!!

    • Alison Vogel on March 6, 2015 at 12:23

      I will hold you in prayer and pass on to you what I have been told (so many times that perhaps someday I’ll learn it): let go of judging your prayer time, what you wish or expect it to be.

  47. Lucia S. on March 6, 2015 at 09:07

    These very questions have been on my mind a lot lately as I contemplate retirement in the next 1-2 years. I’ve spent so many years doing what the job needed, or my husband’s career needed, or someone else needed, that I kind of lost my own path. I’ve got some basic ideas, but have not yet figured out how to turn them into a plan or bring them to fruition. My father always admonished us to “have a job before you leave a job!” I think what Brother David’s video is reminding me is that I need to pray about it and have faith that God will make His plan known to me if I listen.

  48. Linda B on March 6, 2015 at 08:44

    I desire more than anything to become the person God sees when he looks at me not the person I presently am. My heart’s desire is to know Jesus more and more everyday. To see and feel His presence in everything and everyone around me.

  49. Jennifer on March 6, 2015 at 08:37

    I want balance in all things. I want health. I want to be one of the helpers. I want my child to grow up into a confident young man of faith, so that he, too, will be one of the helpers. I want friends, and I want to be a good friend. I want to help others learn something important.

    I want to keep walking along God’s path, putting together his jigsaw puzzle, seeking his face. I want him to help me clear out the yuck that distracts me.

    I like the Amplified translation of Matthew 7:7-8:

    “KEEP ON asking and it will be given to you; KEEP ON seeking and you will find. KEEP ON knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking the door will be opened.”

    So this is already true–it’s just a matter of who we’re asking, what we’re seeking, where we’re knocking.

    • Lucia S. on March 6, 2015 at 10:16

      you’ve just put one of my father’s favorite mantras into great perspective! He always tells us to “Keep on keepin’ on!!” thank you!

    • gwedhen nicholas on March 6, 2015 at 18:24

      That is so profound.

    • Maria on March 6, 2015 at 22:50

      Yes! Thank you, Jennifer!

  50. Pamela Smith on March 6, 2015 at 08:37

    My deepest desire of late is to put God’s will for me first. Of course, this is easier said than done. Most days I take my own will back before I even realize it. But, perhaps over time, this desire will creep into my very being. I’m hopeful!

  51. John on March 6, 2015 at 08:34

    Gauging what I yearn for by reflecting on what I do is not satisfying or effective…in getting at what I am yearning after right now. So my sense of the second pert of MG’s statement is that because I don’t know what I yearn for therefore I need to listen in prayer to understand the desires of my own heart and soul. That is a work in progress.

    • Jennifer on March 6, 2015 at 17:32

      Wow, so true. Thank you.

  52. Kenneth Knapp on March 6, 2015 at 08:01

    As I begin my retirement, the desire to read, think, research and write are dominating my productive agenda. The desire to watch a lot of basketball is dominating my nonproductive agenda.

    • Mimi on March 7, 2015 at 13:43

      I am in the same boat. For years I longed to be retired so that I would have more time that I could direct as I pleased. Now that I have it, it’s a struggle to make sure that it goes towards walking outside, yoga, preparing healthy meals, reading, and learning, instead of playing Words with Friends.

  53. Ralph Ladd on March 6, 2015 at 07:57

    My desires are named legion… Exploration, adventure, spouse, family, church family, service to others, laundry list, spring cleaning, cooking, travel, etc… in other words,,, business as usual. Reflecting on the words of MG, what I’m becoming is spread out. And that is how it kind of feels…

  54. Tom on March 6, 2015 at 07:48

    The sadness is that I am so entangled with day-to-day struggles and work that I do not take the time to “step back from our lives … and make conscious decisions about how we want to live and what we want to live for.” This Lent is the beginning of that quest for a life filled with conscious decisions and not driven by the minutia of outside influences. It will be a difficult journey, but one necessary for life itself.

    • Lucia S. on March 6, 2015 at 08:59

      Tom, I share your sentiments and quest! May God lead both of us in our journeys.

    • Jennifer on March 6, 2015 at 17:31

      Tom, I’m in a very similar place. I think I need to take the Sabbath idea seriously in order to get that time to think about the big questions.

  55. Michael on March 6, 2015 at 07:41

    Unfortunately, I have always wanted to be more than I am. More widely recognized, richer, smarter, and the list goes on. As I think about it, I’m afraid I have to admit it has not left me feeling happy or satisfied. While simply making the decision to live in a different way, towards a different outcome sounds fine and reasonable, I have never been really able to maintain it long enough to make any difference. Hopefully I can decide again and this time give myself some time to make the changes needed, and include God in my journey.

    • Maria on March 6, 2015 at 22:47

      Michael, changing how we live in the world is really hard. The familiar tugs every so strongly to hold on. And we can’t do it alone. Getting support has been key for me. Wishing for you gentle patience and God’s guidance as you start again—-and again.

  56. Marta e. on March 6, 2015 at 07:37

    I desire living closer to God more frequently and longer through breathing prayer and my interpersonal relationships. Reading Thomas Keating’s The Better Part, and The Miracle of Mindfulness (Thich Nhat Hanh)

    • David Cranmer on March 7, 2015 at 20:39

      Just February 27 a Buddhist speaker at our World Religions class introduced us to Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Miracle of Mindfulness.

  57. Griffith Mark on March 6, 2015 at 06:57

    Dear Brother David,

    Thank you for your words, thank you very much. For some reason, at this moment, this very day, they speak fully to me. Grifith

  58. NA on March 6, 2015 at 06:56

    Healing and Wholeness, but not just in the usual physical health-related sense. Although there are some specific health needs for healing in my circle presently, the Healing that my heart yearns after is more along the lines of wellness and wholeness, health of spirit even more than that of body, not only for myself but for others.

    Our world is beautiful but broken, and my desire is to be on the side of wholeness in whatever small ways I can contribute. It’s not about saving the world. It’s not even about results, as I may never know what a moment’s contribution might be or yield; it’s about being faithful each day to help my little corner of the world to be a little better, more beautiful, safer, and more loving in whatever way presents. The potential ways are many and often seem prosaic. It can be as simple as writing a letter or making a phone call, planting flowers the commuters going past our house can enjoy, taking the time to encourage someone, listening, praying, or even making people laugh and feel happier. Perhaps an individual contribution might seem small, but like Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

    • David Cranmer on March 7, 2015 at 20:37

      That last quote by Mother Teresa is part of the prayer that I say every morning.

    • Paul on March 7, 2015 at 22:44

      How beautifully expressed. Recently our church bulletin carried on its front cover these words (I’m sorry; I have lost the attribution): “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. As yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” These words have helped me greatly to let go of the all-consuming dread that the news media promulgate in our often-frightening world, and to do what is necessary to take my attention from the negative and turn it toward the positive. In several recent studies in this series, others have commented in a similar way. I feel very heartened by knowing that this wisdom is shared amongst many.

  59. Roderic Brawn on March 6, 2015 at 06:55

    My desires are to be physically healthy, so I can maximize the use I can make of my body. I desire to find a way to live with my wife within which I can honour my desires to make music, be a willing participant in the life and work of our four-person household and to be a charitable and helpful individual while using my God given abilities, and study-gained, talents (enhanced by God-given opportunities), in our community.

  60. Linda H. on March 6, 2015 at 06:54

    At 72 with a husband in a nursing home, I want to stay healthy, safe and comfortable. The healthy part is positive, safety is important, but the comfortable part leaves me with mixed feelings. Being comfortable means giving up on adventure and new activities and people Who are different. Who and what will stretch me to know more about the world and the people who live here? So, I guess my desire is to keep learning and experiencing new things but limiting the risks or stress.

    • Pati on March 6, 2015 at 09:09

      Well said .. Thank you ….

    • Mimi on March 7, 2015 at 13:39

      Experiencing new things is also a way to slow down our perceptions of the passage of time. One of the reasons life seems to fly by as we age is that the novelty value of many experiences declines. So it’s important to keep trying new things!

  61. JGlow on March 6, 2015 at 06:43

    My desires are similar to Bob’s. I am working towards a PhD in nursing and I wonder if I made the right choice. Esp. when a paper gets heavily criticized! I think, “what made me want to do this?” There won’t be any financial or career benefit.
    I decided to go this route because I love learning and because in my research I might be able to make life better for others including future generations of nurses.
    I’m not smart or courageous so sometimes it feels like a sham. But then I meditate on Psalm 19 and I recognize that God restores my heart, enlightens my eyes & gives the simple understanding. Discipline is hard but it means I am his child. I’d appreciate prayers to help me not to give up!

    • Jane on March 6, 2015 at 10:33

      It so often seems to me that the people who don’t think of themselves as courageous are the most courageous of all. Doctoral committees can be brutal! But you can do it!! You are doing it! Step by step!! I will keep you in my prayers.

    • Alison Vogel on March 6, 2015 at 11:43

      I will hold you in prayer.

    • Kathy B on March 6, 2015 at 15:16

      You CAN do it – and it is the right thing to do. It’s not a matter of being smart or courageous, its a matter of seeing what is supposed to be done, and realizing that you are the one called to do it. The criticism is just the shaping of the clay, even if it’s discouraging. When it gets rough, try the collect For Guidance (#57, pg 832 BCP) – “…that in all our works, begun, continued and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy name…” Hang in there!

  62. Agatha Nolen on March 6, 2015 at 06:39

    I realize that I will become what I yearn for, even if it isn’t a good thing. I think that is why it is in this week’s lessons: we have to pray first. We pray about what God wants for us, and then God’s yearnings become our yearnings. It is why we hear, “Ask and you will receive.”

  63. Joan Alayne stevens on March 6, 2015 at 06:34

    I desire to be the best person I can be. This is part of my prayers after I sm thankful and after I have prayed for others. Decades ago while in college I wrote a mission statement for my life: to be a happy, healthy, productive member of society and though I have thought of revising it over time, it still works for me. Becoming the best person I can be and living into my mission statement is a work in progress.

  64. Nancy W. Del Borgo on March 6, 2015 at 06:09

    My desire is to be forgiven, and to be welcomed into the arms of God.

    • Margie Faulkner on March 6, 2015 at 10:30

      Turn to Him and you will see that He has forgiven you and His arms are always open to anyone who desires Him. We are hard on ourselves while He is just waiting for us to turn to Him in everything. It’s a journey but He is with us every step of the way.
      Blessings and feel His Peace.

  65. Karen on March 6, 2015 at 06:06

    My desire to finally live out of the ways I protected myself as a child and live into the person God made me to be is finally shaping who I am becoming. This desire, which I’m sure originated from God, is allowing me to learn how to have deeper more meaningful relationships; most importantly with God.

    • NA on March 6, 2015 at 07:01

      Good for you, Karen. That is hard but necessary work. When you can get the chance, stop a moment as if you were resting after a climb to the top of a hill. Look back along your path and celebrate how far you have come! 🙂 Blessings to you on your journey.

    • Maria on March 6, 2015 at 22:27

      Karen, your comment resonated deeply with me. Thank you. Growing into my authentic self is indeed difficult but my heart is joyful. It doesn’t mind the hard work. It’s my mind that barks, but learning to treat myself gently during the barking has been helpful.

  66. bob on March 6, 2015 at 03:21

    I desire to be recognised as worthy by my colleagues at work, of academic progress, and of being held in high regard by those in my community. Those are all very selfish ends, and it’s only by actually stop to reflect and I see.

    The subject of my work is improving the care of children and young people with cancer, but it’s not always clear to me that was this is clearly good thing, it’s actually the reason I am engaged in the work.

    • Marta e. on March 6, 2015 at 07:40

      I am sure that you are living close to God as you undertake each task with each patient. I am sure that God has given you a special job in what you have chosen to do. I am sure that as you work to heal each patient every day, God is holding your patients and you close. Each breath is a prayer, so use your breath to remind you of God’s love. Peace.

    • Kimberly McCarthy on March 6, 2015 at 15:28

      To become a Spiritually, physically, intellectually & emotioning whole being for attainment of healing. They are so interwoven in well being. Grateful, as ever.

    • Maria on March 6, 2015 at 22:35

      Bob, as someone who did Pediatric ICU nursing for many years, I understand where you are coming from. I found that that the striving and working to be the best nurse that is in my capacity, naturally, without effort, brought the respect of both my patients and colleagues. Indeed, God is with you and your patients and pleased with your and their hard work….

      • bob on March 7, 2015 at 04:50

        Thank you. Your words are greatly appreciated.

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