Monday, March 4, 2013

Be of good cheer

I try to pray every morning.
It has become a habit that I deeply value - helps me get the day started right, refocuses my thinking, slows me down to pay more attention to thoughts that come, inclines me to respond to those little nudges that guide my day.

Here I am, nearly 60 years old, still learning how to pray.
It's not just a long list of requests, you know?
I'm trying to do more listening and less talking during prayer.

So a couple of mornings ago, I was feeling pretty blah, a little overwhelmed, maybe just a little worried about some dear family members slogging through life...

Trying to listen.

And the answer that came? Be happy.

That was all. Just "be happy."

Which is a choice, you know. Not something that happens when the bluebird lands on our shoulder, oh no, but an honest-to-goodness decision to look around at the messiness of this mortal experience, and be happy anyway.

When Christ said, "Be of good cheer"--which he said quite a few different times--he wasn't just giving us a little wave and saying, "Have a nice day."

It's a commandment.
Be of good cheer, even when the world is crappy.
Be of good cheer, because no matter what else is going on, Christ atoned for all of the frustration and pain and sometimes downright awfulness of mortality.

Be of good cheer. Be happy.


Polly @ Helping Little Hands said...

Thanks for the thought. Love you, Mom!

David Mayer said...

I love that insight. I've often found for myself that my best listening prayers often occur when I am praying out loud while driving. Perhaps it's because when half of my brain is driving and the other half is praying, it doesn't leave a half a brain to wander (which is a frequent problem for most of my prayers.)

Last night I was driving to the store and I turned the radio off to have a prayer. I told Heavenly Father about all the stuff going on in my life and all the things I was worried about. At one point I said something like, "Father, I'm whining a lot, and I really don't want to be a whiner." Then the thought came to me to sing the hymn "Count Your Blessings." So I did.

As I sang that song alone in my car, a couple of thoughts occurred to me. First, I felt the Spirit, and knew my Heavenly Father was aware of me. Second, it occurred to me that it has been a long time since I've heard myself sing, and I missed it. Third, I realized that I was fulfilling inspired words as I sang the second verse:
"Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by."