Be kind to yourself.
It’s hard to be happy when someone
is mean to you all the time.
When my friend shared these words, they landed as soft on my heart as a butterfly on my finger AND yet it was as if the butterfly could bite. It was true and amazing. I believe the encouragement is rooted in what Jesus taught:
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
This is one of the very reasons Zoweh deeply desires to create environments for people to connect with God and each other. Receiving love from God… being loved… is foundational to Life. Jesus said, ALL the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Several years ago, we were with some friends and the subject of "getting your heart back" came up. I had learned about it from Brent Curtis and John Eldredge in The Sacred Romance (1997). I was so impacted that some years later, I had to write about the heart in both Search and Rescue (2011) and The Heart of a Warrior (2015). Our friend wasn't being unkind, just stating that she was unclear when she asked...
"It all seemed rather selfish, all this attention to your heart. Shouldn’t we focus on others?"
I knew both the answer and her heart... selfish, no, because it is virtually impossible to help others when you are laid out on the floor and in need of attention yourself. It reminds me of the flight attendant spiel…
"In case of a loss in cabin pressure oxygen masks will fall… put your mask on first. Then, assist others."
It is the KIND thing to do, to take care of yourself. Secure your safety (Prov. 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart), care for you, then you are able to love your neighbor. As if Life depended on it.
When we ask the question, Who is your biggest critic? the universal answer is... Me.
Sadly, I know from experience, it's true. There is a part of us (or maybe more accurate "a part in us") that criticizes, accuses, doubts, fears, questions, and judges relentlessly... if allowed. I say, "if allowed" because it often goes unchecked, and worse, undetected.
To often we identify with this unruly character as if it were us. IT'S NOT US. The false self (often referred to in scripture as the flesh) isn't us, but it will run through the scenes of our life with self-serving and self-promoting ways... bringing ruin to our capacity to love... both to offer and receive love. This is a problem! It is in the way of us becoming who we truly are and giving what we truly have to offer the world.
So, today we pray for the mission of Zoweh and The Heart of a Warrior Weekend (April 7-10). The mission and the weekend in which we pray to expose the false-self and invite God's Love to transform.
Dear God, Holy Trinity, we worship you and we praise your name. Thank you for Life and thank you for teaching us and training us up as your sons and daughters. You are Life. We confess we need you. We need you for everything. You are our provider, sustainer, and the one who gives and holds our Life. In you we breathe and move. You are Love and your Love is Life.
Jesus, we pray your Love and Life over Zoweh and over the Heart of a Warrior Weekend. Guide us, Holy Spirit, in creating the environment that weekend for men to make a comeback—men coming to you to receive Love, coming to you to care for their hearts so they can in turn be settled, covered, and empowered to love others well—starting with their marriages and families then to their friends.
Father, we pray for your blessing, your anointing over Zoweh for this mission for the hearts of men. Bless the inviting process and stages of this weekend. The conference has begun and the battles of invitation are afoot. Father, woo men to yourself. We pray you would give Zoweh favor in the churches and opportunities to share the message of the Larger Gospel to men encouraging them to get away with you for Life.
Jesus, protect Zoweh and its team from all the enemy's plans to thwart these environments. Protect the team and their families. Train them up in how to come to you to care for their own hearts, pull them into quiet and intimate times so they are full and strong to offer You and your Kingdom to others… pointing to you, setting the table for you to meet with them and teach them how to thwart the false self—the UNKIND agent that relentlessly assaults a man or woman’s heart.
Holy Spirit teach us how to fight, or to let go, or to resist the pull of the false self and the kingdom of darkness. Give the Zoweh team the eyes to see and ears to hear so they can share what you have revealed to others, encouraging them to take back lost ground and walk with you into your glorious ways of Life and Love. Bless this mission, bless this ministry, bring your Kingdom, Jesus. It is in your matchless name we pray, Jesus, Savior and King of our hearts. Amen and AMEN.