"Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven, ; or to say, 'Stand up and take your mat and walk'? (speaking to the paralyzed man) "I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home." And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"'
(Mark 2: 9-12)
This morning at Bible Study, one of the women shared a story about when she was trying to get pregnant with her first child. She and her husband had been trying for 2 years without success and she was losing hope. One day, while visiting a friend, her friend prophesied to her "Take you mat and go down to the river!" her friend told her. Believe in miracles.
The woman, who had been trying to get pregnant, went home and changed her prayers. Instead of "Why God? Why me? Why can't I have the children I so dearly want?" She started praying "Thank you God for the family and life you have in store for me." A simple but strong change from feeling victimized to feeling empowered. During the next cycle of her treatments she conceived.
I, as much as anyone else, often get beaten down by my own questions "Why is life so hard? Why are the people I work with do difficult to get along with? Why, on a day such of this does the train have to be so late?" As if the world is out to get me... I'm the center. In actuality most of my questions aren't really about me at all, yet this kind of chosen victimization relinquishes me of my own responsibility, my own empowerment. We've all heard the phrase "The power of positive thinking" and those of us who struggle with forms of anxiety and/or depression scoff at such a cliche... how we frame our own experience does contribute to how we treat and take care of ourselves.
Ben often says to me "Can you be a little nicer to Rachel?" which for me is a good reminder of my own trends to be hard on myself. Instead of laying on the mat, like the story depicts, paralyzed by my own victimizing head-talk, Jesus calls me to pick up my mat and go home. Jesus says, you have the power, you are empowered to heal, to believe, to walk. "Stand up, take your mat, and go to your home."