A New You for the New Year – Renewing Our Images Sermon Downloads, Links & Resources
Engaging the Practical Tip
We inherit all kinds of stories from authoritative interpreters (teachers, mentors, parents, leaders, lovers, and pastors) in our lives and those stories form the basis for how we see ourselves, others, and God–shaping our worldview. What we don’t realize is these authoritative interpreters can often distort our thinking–jacking us up, messing with our emotions, causing us to believe false things about ourselves and God. This is why many of us live with a distorted picture of God–God as the angry boss–punishing those of us who fail to deliver results, while blessing those of us who always perform. This is where we got the idea that God only helps those who help themselves in spite of story after story of God helping those who cannot help themselves. We learned from our authoritative interpreters that cleanliness is next to Godliness. And the list goes on and on, when left unchecked these distorted inherited images disrupt our reality, reshape our worldview, and prevent us from experiencing a Good and Beautiful God at work in our lives.
Inviting God to join with us in our pressures
Using pen and paper, smart phone, PC, ipad, tablet, mac, etc., write down 2 or 3 pressures that you are feeling right now. Focus on today’s pressures (leave tomorrow’s pressures to tomorrow). As you are thinking about pressures, do any embarrass you? Right them down, too. It’s okay. The only right answers are that you are feeling them.
Take a couple of minutes and go through your list, asking yourself if the source of each pressure is within yourself or outside of yourself. If outside, is God the source of the pressure or is God calling you away from the pressure, or neither?
Now take a few minutes and go through your list again, more slowly this time.
Invite God to join you as you ponder each pressure.
Try to be aware of how God is towards you with each pressure (i.e., ahead of you, behind you, along side, absent).
Is God inviting you to anything with respect to the pressure?
If so, how do you feel about responding to that invitation. Share this feeling with God.
Again, how is God towards you now? Feel free to jot down a few notes at this point, or simply move on to the next pressure.
What was your overall experience with this prayer exercise? Are you more encouraged than when you started or discouraged? Did you hear or sense any specific message from God during the exercise? Have you changed the way you see yourself changed in any way?
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.