Self-improvement; not.

I am sitting in my bedroom where I have a little prayer corner. It is early on Sunday morning. The children are still asleep. Although it is cold outside, I have the window cracked open. I am swaddled in a dressing gown. I am listening to the sounds: a wood pigeon’s coo, a crow’s caw, the songs of various smaller birds I cannot identify, traffic in the distance, a quiet hum whose provenance I cannot work out.

I am not a good person: failure and shame.

Prayer is not a self-improvement programme. You, God, are here. Listening to the sounds is prayer – not merely an awareness exercise on the way to prayer, to something ‘deeper’. I breathe and my chest expands literally and metaphorically. I feel it as the expansion of my rib-cage as the breath enters my lungs, and as opening my heart-and-chest to You. We are listening to the sounds of Your world, You and I. What more is necessary?

Life is not a self-improvement programme, and I do not need to be better or do better. In the end, prayer – life – is just being with You. What is better that this?

Prayer is not a self-improvement programme. To relax fully is to be myself fully. All tension comes from trying to be something I am not. Just now I do not need to be a better person, to get somewhere other than where I am, to be someone other than who I am.

When I open my chest-and-heart to You I know I have arrived.

7 thoughts on “Self-improvement; not.

  1. What a lovely piece for those of us who struggle with prayer and our inner ourselves .
    Thankyou friend, who wrote this.

  2. Tossed your post over all morning as it blessed my inbox whilst I was sitting in bed being with God ~ whilst my children were sleeping ….

    I smiled to self:

    I Am a good person: failure and shame.

  3. I am enough. Calming on a day like today. I have no choice today but to just be & to open my chest and my heart, and the good people (God) who surround me will do the rest. I have released my tension, stopped warning others about the work they will do today, and calmed myself to trust that “I am enough” – I’ve done enough. How poignant to choose to read this this morning! Interesting serendipity/ thanks Julian. Love Beverly Kaye ( though I’m hoping for a little self improvement as a result 🙂

  4. Yes that’s all that matters in the world. Knowing that I’m not alone that You are there. The times when I sense your presence, being with You fills me with peace. Sometimes I don’thave the patience to wait for You I just rush ahead… what?

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