I recently read a question that helped me label something that I didn’t know was missing a label. We all know that some labels are superfluous and can make things complicated, but this one sunk in for a few days and has really helped: “Do you have a rich inner life?”
About a month ago at the MC Women’s Breathe Retreat, I gave thanks for this same thing, but I called it something different at that time; It went like this: “I am thankful for conversations in my mind and heart, that I can now attest are between God and I.”
I have often wondered what other people’s thoughts look or sound like, the ones that the rest of us can’t hear or see. It’s simply reality, but also perplexing, that we’ll never completely understand how someone else dissects, decides, or untangles things in their mind. I like this newfound name for that experience, “inner life.”
This week at Midcurrent, Sten finished up the 5-week series called Dan the Man, which has focused on the topic of integrity. We’ve been learning how Daniel faced major conflict in his life and the choices he made in the name of his God and his beliefs. The writings in this book have given us a glimpse into Daniel’s inner life.
Are your inner thoughts conversational in nature?
Do your questions achieve some answers?
Do you have more words or more visuals?
Do you give God some room in there?
Perhaps your focus can get scattered, like mine does (frustratingly so!). When we’re tired, overwhelmed, stressed-out or faced with fear and conflict, we may not have the gumption to make the right choice all of the time. Our patience wears thin and our tolerance runs out. So how do we maintain our integrity in these circumstances? Easier said than done!
[The first thing I picture is my sweet and sour 2-year-old, pushing Mommy right to the very edge before saying, “I sorry Mommy, I lub you” with his ‘nice touches’ brush of the hand on my leg. Aghh!! I’ll never regret maintaining my integrity in parenting when that little apology eventually follows.]
Sten told us the secret! Prepare for those inevitable, exhausted moments by practicing your
conviction and faith consistently. Practice, practice before you perform! Behaving with integrity
under pressure will come most naturally if you show up in your life prepared.
This is the opportunity:
What practices need to be added to your inner and outer life, in order to show up prepared for life’s challenges? How can you condition your own automatic reactions that will remain aligned with your beliefs?
And thankfully, Sten also reminded us that our habits don’t need to be perfect in order to be consistent and create our strengthened mindset.
As we finished up 5 weeks about ‘Dan the Man’, here’s my short reminder to take with me:
Conviction, Faith then Consistency = Integrity with Ease
Dear God, Help us to create a rich inner life and relationship with you as we contemplate the obstacles of human life. Help us understand that self-discipline is not an inconvenience, but a dedication to our striving to emulate the character of Jesus.