How does your garden grow?

No. I’ve not been convicted of a crime that could see me sentenced to a ten stretch….but I have been spiritually convicted.

Long before I became Catholic, being ‘convicted’ was a popular turn of phrase in the Baptist/Charismatic realm in which I had worshipped in my late teens and early twenties.

It was in a happy-clappy spiritual community that I was encouraged to allow the Holy Spirit to ‘convict’ me. I was never quite sure how to go about being convicted, but it seemed that it involved waiting for someone to speak; whether a preacher or a friend, and then sometimes something would resonate with me. I would share this with my brethren and they would inform me that I had been ‘convicted’.

So, conviction can be a good thing that may subsequently lead to a person’s spiritual development. As a Catholic, I am still ‘convicted’, and not just when I am looking inwardly, examining my conscience, but by Scripture, by reading the lives of the Saints, the Church Fathers, the great spiritual thinkers…. also in the words of the Clergy, or of friends and of family members – I can’t tell you how many times my own children have convicted me! (or perhaps wished they could have me convicted)

I don’t always like it, because conviction almost always picks great big holes in the ‘I’m doing so well spiritually’ theory that I might like to present to myself or to others. But that’s precisely why I need to know just how much work is yet to be done, so that with God’s grace, I can co-operate with Him and move ever closer to becoming more like Christ and less like my sinful self!

Last week I had the good fortune to hear a diocesan Bishop give a talk and one of the things that ‘convicted’ me, was when he said something like;

“It’s not difficult for us to know the things that entrap us and prevent us from growing, from fulfilling our potential….we usually can know those things that entrap us by simply thinking ‘what do I think of first thing in the morning’?.”

And just why should such a sentence as this convict me?

Because the first thing I think of when I awaken is generally, either…

“Oh! I’m still alive, how about that!”

or

“where are the children, oh yes, they’re in their beds, of course they are in their beds, but are they okay? I didn’t hear anyone break in during the night, oh of course they’re okay, stop being mental, but what if something has/will happen(ed) to one of them…oh goodness….oh Lord, please watch over them and protect them this day!!!”

or

‘I must get downstairs before anyone else, so I can go online and check my blog/email/bloglines etc”.

How sad is that last thought? Yes, I am convicted by that last thought, because all too often it is my first thought on waking. The thing about conviction is that we have to make a response to it. We can choose to do nothing, or we can choose to do somehting about it. Now, I’m very fond of my blogging, but do I need to go online within the first few moments of waking up? I don’t think so. I’m therefore going to try to go online later from now on, and get back to praying first thing, just like I used to do. It sounds ridiculous when I put it that way, but yes, I actively put the computer before God at the very start of every day. God gives me each breath I take, and yet it is the computer that gets my attention first.

I read something recently that invoked me to the respose of, ‘Thank God for that! And it was this that I read….

” God loves us the way we are, but too much to leave us that way”.

Well, don’t we just all need to pull out the weeds growing in our spiritual gardens and encourage the flowers to grow? After all, how can the good things grow if they are choked by all those things that harm them? The good in my life is so often stifled because I allow greater presidence to be given to my will rather than His will for my life. Yes, it’s time to once again do some spiritual pruning!

How about you? What is your first thought in the morning? *Clean* responses in the com box please!

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12 Responses to How does your garden grow?

  1. Joe says:

    Hello UKOK! Good thought. My first thought is either ” I way overslept and am late!” or “so much to do and I am so tired”. But when I am not pressed, it is…”I hope I can get something posted to glorify God before the clamour starts”. Spiritual pruning never ceases. That is why we are to examine conscience, confess and commune at least once weekly. This week I am facing photos of my wife (in the Roman catholic church only) marrying in some kind of Greek or Byzantine church, and she MAY be showing! How wonderful for her if she is in fact with child, and how difficult for the new family. May God be glorified by all creation!

  2. ukok says:

    Joe, thanks for stopping by. Just so I understand you, are you saying that your (possibly) pregnant wife is marrying someone else? As in, you have divorced, the marriage is or is not annulled and she is marrying someone else and is possibly having their child?

    ….Or am I as mistaken as I hope I am!

  3. barbszy says:

    Just remember, things are not always as they seem.

    As far as “first thing in the morning” I haven’t the foggiest what I think, very first thing, but I will say that if I don’t get up and shower and pray BEFORE DOING OTHER STUFF, my whole day is “off.” I try hard to follow that morning routine and to limit disruptions to sick days (mine or someone else in the family).

  4. Jocelyne says:

    I confess my first thought is usually, “I wonder if I can sleep for another ten minutes?”

  5. onemorecup says:

    What a lovely post! It is so overwhelming reassuring to know that people evaluate and assess their own spirituality. That was real fancy for “checking the pulse on my being ‘right with God.” Cheers!

    Onemorecup

  6. Joe says:

    well, our marriage is not annulled, so she married again in the Greek catholic church to some other man, probably because she was pregnant, if she is. I guess the Greeks don’t see marriage the same as Romans do.

  7. ukok says:

    Oh, Joe, I’m so sorry! I was hoping I had misunderstood but now it seems that I had not.

    God Bless you and comfort you.

  8. ukok says:

    Onemorecup,

    Thanks for stopping by. Do you have a blog?

  9. Valerie says:

    HI Deb!!! I’ve missed you! I found I was spending way too much time on the internet, blogging, etc – so I’ve stepped away from it for awhile. But, now I plan to get back to it, but on a modified schedule – so it seems like we’re on the same wavelength. BTW – I love your ecards and plan to use them quite frequently!

  10. ukok says:

    Valerie,

    Hi there chuck! It’s good to know that you’ll be online a little more than you have been. I think the bloggers who started blogging 2-4 years ago are really kind of losing their momentum a bit, I’ve noticed that a lot of us seem to be posting less frequently or are even considering ditching blogging altogether.

    I think the whole idea of modification is absolutely the way forward for people like me (and perhaops yourself) who become somewhat obsessed with it!

    I’m glad you like the e-cards, I hope you’ll enjoy sending them and that your recipients will enjoy receiving them even more!

    Lovely to hear from you

    Deb X

  11. Terry says:

    On being ‘convicted’. John Paul II in his encyclical on the Holy Spirit repeatedly referred to the “convincing power of the Holy Spirit” – which pretty much takes being convicted right into the heart of the Church. It isn’t a Protestant thing at all – they just popularized the term. It is a wonderful grace to be convicted. 😉

  12. ukok says:

    Hi Terry,

    How are you?

    You’re right of course, I simply meant to say that my first brush with ‘conviction’ was as a Protestant. It is a wonderful grace to be convicted, it just doesn’t feel so good usually 🙂

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