Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


Mid-January Blues


Traditionally, this week, is known to be the lowest for people with regards to 'happiness'. The reality of winter has set in, people face debt after their Christmas spending, schedules increase and some of our intentions for new beginnings have hit the wall. But perhaps there is more to it than just winter-blues . . .

"Saint Augustine once said that God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them. If our hands are full, they are full of the things to which we are addicted. And not only our hands, but also our hearts, minds, and attention are clogged with addiction. Our addictions fill up the spaces within us, spaces where grace might flow. It is important to remember, however, that it is not the objects of our addictions that are to blame for filling up our hands and hearts; it is our clinging to these objects, grasping for them, becoming obsessed with them. In the words of John of the cross, "it is not the things of this world that either occupy the soul or cause it harm, since they enter it not, but rather the will and desire for them."  p. 17-18, Addiction and Grace, Gerald G. May, M.D.

The signs of addiction that Gerald points out in this book are tolerance (the wanting more of something), withdrawal symptoms (the stress of not having it), self-deception (the mind tricks we use to justify behavior or deny), loss of willpower (failure), distortion of attention (can't stop worrying or thinking).

So, consider December: parties, people, excitement, gifts, activities, community, entertainment, stress, busy schedules, relatives around, friends over, games, movies. . .

Are you feeling some withdrawal? Some loneliness? Some lack of what was and is missing now? Did something about December offer you a sense of 'life' that is now missing?

"Lord Jesus, we admit that yes, there is a longing for more, more of something, something that takes away an ache that we have that we are maybe not even aware of. December was full of activity and for many of us, a distraction. Here in this quiet, steady, cold month of reality, help us to admit our need for grace from You. The giver of life and love and joy and peace and truth! Freshen our minds, give us strength and power, loosen our grip from those things that offer false life or love. You are our Shepherd, and we lack nothing!  Thank you Jesus. Amen"