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Ephesians 5:15-20, Renounce Old Ways

God's Spirit in Me

I think I'm smart. I've always been smart. But I haven't always been wise. Smart is an innate capacity to process information. Wisdom, however, only comes with time and attention. It takes years to shape life lessons into wisdom. And just letting time pass isn't enough -- you have to be aware of your own self -- your mistakes and failures as well as your victories and successes. You have to learn from both, and with the learning comes wisdom. 

One of the most profound things I've learned that has brought me to wisdom is this. Viktor Frankl said, "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."

When young, I acknowledged no space between stimulus and response. There was simply... it happened, I reacted. As long as I am reacting, I will never be proactive about how I want to show up in the world. But when I learn to recognize the space between, I can then see that there are infinite responses. I have choices. And with those choices I have power -- power to choose how I will respond -- power not to be swept away in the emotion of reacting. I have cultivated this practice of recognizing the space between with meditation and mindfulness, and in doing so, I have discovered more deeply God's Spirit within me. And I choose to respond with compassion, peace, and love.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Ephesians 5:15-20

Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.