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.”
What a lovely piece for those of us who struggle with prayer and our inner ourselves .
Thankyou friend, who wrote this.
Thank you, June. It is my hope that we all struggle less with prayer, so I am touched by your comment. J
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.
Thank you, Amber.
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 🙂
Thanks, Beverley. How lovely to hear from you, on today of all days. We’re all rooting for you on this side of the planet. Love, Julian.
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…..to what?