Advent Day 9: Kung Fu

Advent Day 9

In Him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The lamb is the Light of the city of God
Shine in my heart Lord Jesus.  (Kathleen Thopmson, 1970)

I’m rather late getting this post going today — Monday morning sabbath.

Anyway, as a follow-up to yesterday’s post on counting your blessings, I want to share some thoughts on what we do with the “curses,” or the negative things we experience.

In my view, there are two key points to letting go of negative things.

  1. Imagine what you would like to have happen instead.  Recently we rented the remake of The Karate Kid and I just loved the scene at the end when Dre says he’ll continue to fight the bully, because he doesn’t want to be afraid anymore.  Not that fighting is always the answer!  But he needed a chance to say, “I gave it my all,” rather than, “I ran away.”
  2. Help the negative things travel on to another destination, outside of your mind and body.  In the past, there have been some cruel rituals for banishing sin from the person and/or the community, such as leaving a person to die in the desert.  I certainly don’t advocate cruelty, but I can see what these people and communities were trying to do.  Anything that separates you from God will continue to do so unless you get rid of it.  Anything that drains life will find ways to disguise itself, so you’ll keep on pouring your life down the drain.  (Many of the stories I hear in my office about addiction begin with a person who was angry or scared and didn’t know how to express it.)  Surely there is something we can do to free ourselves, short of being cruel to animals or other humans.

Here are a few ideas for banishing sin and other negative things.  All these seem pretty tame, so if you try them you’ll need to ask the Spirit to give them the power they require.

  • write a letter and tear it up
  • go to a body of water and lay your sins upon small pebbles or twigs you find on the water’s edge, and toss them into the water
  • imagine a jar with a hole in the bottom.  You keep trying to fill it with negative things, but they fall out.  (You can also imagine a second container for blessings, that keeps filling up and expanding.) See Morgan’s book on the “Resources” page for more details on this.
  • vent with a friend and then have a prayer together.  I know a guy who sits in his church every Sunday before services, ready to have anyone come vent and pray with him.  He doesn’t advertise at all, but people know about it and they refer their friends.  He is rarely alone during this time.
  • write, write, write in a journal.  Then go back and read it weeks or months later.  You may experience some release as you write, and an even more complete release after you sit on the issue and revisit it.
  • get a punching bag.  Really.  Women especially need a safe physical outlet for anger, because we don’t have a lot of socially acceptable ways to express it.
  • try saying what you mean, without cruelty, for one day.  When the boss asks you to work late for the umpteenth time, and she hasn’t asked anyone else, calmly tell her you don’t understand why she is doing this, and tell her honestly whether you can comply.  (Scary, I know!)  You may find out that you’re the only one she trusts.

Today’s daily Scripture readings from the PC(USA):

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