I have always appreciated God’s gifts in nature, so to say I stop and smell the roses is an understatement. I not only smell them, I cut them and fill my house with the their fragrance. After Mass about a week ago, as I walked to my car, my knee buckled underneath me and caused a sharp, unusual pain. I didn’t give it a second thought, but then it happened several more times. After seeing the doctor, he said that it was a torn meniscus.
Because I exercise on a regular basis, this setback has made me slow down, but I wondered why God allowed this. I’m not upset, but not being able to accomplish normal tasks is frustrating. Attending daily Mass is part of my regular routine, but giving up my position of Eucharistic Minister was definitely a huge sacrifice. I can’t take the chance of dropping the Body of Christ because of a bum knee.
Why God Slows us Down
I have been feeling a void in my spirit. I’d pray but to no avail; it felt dry and I knew something was missing. I went to my confessor and explained the vacancy in my soul. I had given up shopping for Lent, so I was making up for the lost time by shopping online. Many wasted hours of online shopping were becoming part of my daily routine. When the packages arrived, the euphoric feeling lasted only a few minutes. I was stuck in the middle of a road leading to a world filled with worldliness. I felt the detachment: nothing was satisfying, purchasing new clothes had turned into a monotonous grind. From that came another bad habit of Netflix, which captured the boredom and turned it into a fixation. I suffer from addictive behavior and, as much as I do not want to come to terms with this, all this had taken over the spiritual part of my thinking. Yes, I was praying, but all the distractions were taking me away from reaching a deeper spiritual level. This troubled me because it was not characteristic.
When my confessor told me to stop talking, I did not understand. I asked, “Do you mean for me to go into contemplative prayer?” “No, just stop talking,” he explained. I was still in the dark, and did not understand. So again I asked, “Do you mean stop talking now?” “No, just stop talking,” he replied. As my penance he told me to say one Hail Mary but to take ten minutes when reciting the prayer. Needless to say, I was puzzled. It took a few days to realize what the priest meant. It was about my interior dialogue, you know that self-talk, the language inside your head. It was beating me up because I had temporarily fallen from grace.
When we allow the Devil to get into our brains, he is going to ambush us through half-truths. In my case I was not praying with fervor, but my negative self -talk was telling me that I was unspiritual. I am not! I was greatly distracted, and the enemy knew how to harass me by reminding me that something was off with my prayer life.
Did you know that only 18% of our brain activity comes from the outside, but 82% comes from inside, through self-talk? We are either building ourselves up or tearing ourselves down. If our self-talk is not in harmony with the Word of God, it’s self-defeating. People who suffer from depression or anxiety are negative self-talkers. When we bring into our adult lives the hurtful memories we experienced as children we are using the same self-talk but now it is imprinted into our brains. While many of us can shrug off these painful memories, many of us suffer because we believe the lies – that’s what the Devil wants us to keep in our memories.
Did you know that the average person speaks 150 to 200 words per minute? But when we internally dialogue (self-talk) we process even more, as many as 1,400 words per minute. With self -talk comes images; our minds go even deeper into what we are thinking. We create an environment with what we think. Words spoken against us will stab our hearts if we allow them to penetrate our spirits. (Ps 64:1-10)
The Torn Meniscus
When my knee buckled over, I felt a deep, sharp pain. Throughout the day I had more painful encounters with my right knee. After a quick examination, the doctor suspected a torn meniscus. I talked to certain people with the same problem; some shared stories that they had never healed after surgery, while others said it was an easy procedure. On Tuesday I am scheduled for an MRI. I have no idea what the outcome of this will be, but an appointment with an orthopedic specialist is scheduled eleven days later. I have not given it a second thought; worrying about this has never crossed my mind. I understand that this is in the hands of God, and He will see me through this ordeal.
I know some people who worry about everything, so much so that they mark their calendars to remind themselves to worry. There is a perfect Bible verse for people like this:
Being Silent Before God
When I empty my thoughts and pray, it brings peace. To silence your mind is necessary because you are exercising a part of your spirit to become one with God. We need all of our senses to obtain this glorious union: our taste, sight, touch, smell and sound.
happy are those who take refuge in him.
To hear the voice of God, you must be silent. We can’t hear Him if we are speaking. In comparison it is as if you are speaking with someone who will not let you get in a word because he can’t stop talking.
This Sunday the Mother’s Day homily confirmed the content of this Blog. It was about being silent before God. I experienced His love as I felt a tear trickle down my cheek. It was a silent, private moment I shared with our Lord.
Dear Lord, never allow us to become so distracted that we lose sight of You. Help us to develop a deeper relationship with You. Allow Your Holy Spirit to reign in us forever! Amen.