Shortly after I wrote this post, in which I shared about practicing a prayer and meditation exercise called “palms down, palms up” for the very first time, I learned just how powerful such a prayer exercise can be.
In the final, listening portion of that first exercise, I had received from God these four precious words: “I am with you.” Even though I had known this truth cognitively for a long time, that day it became even more personal. The truth of it reached deep into my being. I heard God speaking it directly to me, and I believed it was true in a deeper way than I had believed it before.
I soon came to see that those were four words received in due season, as over the course of the next several days I found myself in two very difficult situations that required me to press forward in courage. Both times, it was the experience of having received those words, “I am with you,” that gave me the courage to do what I needed to do.
In the first instance, I had become aware of an unnoticed spirit of resentment that had been growing in me toward someone I care very deeply about. It had begun to manifest itself in occasional sharp words and thoughtless gestures. Once I became aware that tacit assumptions on my part had slowly bred some resentment in me, I knew I needed to confess those assumptions and resentment in order to bring truth and healing to the relationship.
I was scared to death to do this, to own the truth of my anger and the way I’d been wronging this person in my heart. Hearing God’s quiet voice in the stillness of my being saying, “I am with you,” gave me the courage to speak the truth, ask forgiveness, and turn away from the assumptions and resentment I had tacitly believed were justified.
A few days later, that same person expressed a desire to voice how they were responding to what I’d confessed. I could tell they had a lot to share, and all the alarms tied to fears of abandonment and rejection and judgment began going off in me. I was afraid to receive their response. I wanted to protect myself from a truth that might bring me pain.
But again, I heard God’s words to me: “I am with you.”
Through the hearing of those words that once again settled deep into my being so that I knew without doubt they were true, I had the strength to receive what this person needed to share with me. I was able to see that even if the worst possible scenario occurred in that moment, even if they were angry with me and wanted to cut themselves off from the relationship in some way, that God would still be with me. Nothing could change that. And that enabled me to turn toward them, to receive, and to truly listen.