Seeing through the brain fog is hard these days… I was on such a spiritual high earlier this summer, but now there’s this restlessness. Still delighting in things of a quasi-academic nature; still enjoying the exercise of what they taught me during my degree. Those things I can be thankful for – to the point where the perfectionism and the temptation to over-edit enslaves me; then I’d rather lay them to rest and get on with something more important.
1) Since yesterday’s ordeal I’ve fallen sick with a head cold. But I’d like to thank God for friends who care, and who pray for me. They are my hands and my feet right now. I was at my usual fortnightly Bible study tonight, and some of them were there. One of our friends who hasn’t been for a while had come too – I was really glad to see her. I can be thankful for that. There seemed to be a vibe of guilt, or of under-confidence about her. I wish I could have made her more comfortable and reassured her. Such a precious lady. I had wanted her to relax and feel at home.
2) What a joy it was three weeks ago when the Lord let me host my own Bible study for the first ever time in my own home. It remains fond in my memory even now. What a delight it was to have these men and women of God whom I so respect furnishing my living room with their presence, and our good friend leading the Bible study. How wonderful it was that my Christian seeker friend could come, and didn’t find the discussion too hard for him, and liked listening and contributing. May God enable me to have a gift of hospitality one day. It was such a joy to see their smiling faces, and to know that they found the surroundings comfortable and the company pleasant, and that they liked the cookies I had baked for them. How happy I was that so many stayed for up to half an hour after the end, socializing contentedly and drinking my tea and coffee, just like my student friends had done in brighter days, when I was a final year Oxford student and had hosted prayer meetings in my room. My cup ran over. It had been such a frightening task, inviting them all to come. It went against my usual scripts. God knows I have a big enough voice for debate, or for explorations of ideas or concepts, or for talking about my life on verbal autopilot, but usually I’m assailed by too many doubts and fears to even attempt to make overt social gestures like inviting church friends around to my parents’ home. I’d been wanting to pluck up the courage to do it for so very, very long. It was just like the good old days. God of heaven, grant me the courage to do it again one day. It gave me so much joy.
3) I was really thankful towards the friend who hosted the Bible study tonight, as he gave me some of the tomatoes from his harvest to take home to cheer up my mum. It was wonderful to be able to lay them out on the table, and to say “At the Bible study tonight my friend gave me these for you to have in your lunch tomorrow”. What a witness that act of generosity enabled me to show when I got home. My friend was so kind for letting me do that.
I feel much better now. Meditating on lovely blessings and being thankful to God for them really does transform your mind. Even my headache has lifted slightly. The Apostle Paul’s exhortation is true wisdom from God:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
~ Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Thank you, Jesus.