Here’s a little twist on an old idea I used this morning that helped me get into the praise mode: with paper and pen, I started with the letter “a” and wrote down three words that I associated with God: amazing, accepting, amicable, etc. Then I, of course, worked my way through the alphabet.
Because of the way my crazy brain works, I ended up switching between adjectives and verbs….I found the verbs meant more to me at the time. I say this because I don’t think you should let the structure of an exercise restrict your spirit. If you find something else works better, by all means “go with the flow.” That said, you will find that you can get bogged down in this little prayer practice….that it becomes a bit tedious, thinking of yet another word that starts with a certain letter.For me, it helpful to push through these moments, to make my brain really work for it, to search deep into my soul for connections. And I find I’m usually rewarded by a significant, but simple and subtle nugget of inspiration.
For example, this morning when I got to the letter “w”, I was actually getting tired of the little game. I was feeling that sense of relief that it was almost over. Anyway, I searched for yet another word that started with “w” when the word “weld” came to mind. Strange, I thought. I’ve never thought of the word “weld” in relation to God or the spiritual world. But there is was, a fresh new word and potential metaphor for my spirit to play with.
Hmmmm, what needs welding in my world? What has been welded together in my life? You know how when things have been welded together, there’s that little scar? that seam? That everyone can see the imperfection but it doesn’t really matter? For things to be welded, it usually requires great heat, a blow torch even. It produces a flame so bright that you can only look at it through a filtered glass. Makes me think of relationships that are bonded under the intense heat of difficulty….the comradery that is formed from liminal experiences. My mind also thinks of those sculptures we’ve all seen of scrap steel junk welded together into some recognizable form. Could that be who I really am? That God’s been able to make something of me out by welding together the bits of junk in my life? I kind of like that idea!