Reading Eugene Peterson’s Earth & Altar, I’m stuck on the 2nd sentence of this book on prayer.
One hundred and fifty years ago Alexis de Tocqueville visited America from France and wrote: “Each citizen is habitually engaged in the contemplation of a very puny object, namely himself.”. In a century and a half things have not changed.
Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
I want to be considerate of others as Jesus emphasizes, as I try to teach my kids and how I want the freedom to live unmindful of my junk. But I think that’s part of the curse of depression. You feel horrible and can’t muster the strength to care for others and you feel guilty about it. The guilt leads to more depression and so the cycle goes.
But I’be found with amazing consistency that prayer gets us off ourselves. If we do it right we first just gaze upon our God. We look to Him and our junk gets in perspective. We are led then to consider others who have “real” problems and we develop thankfulness, a heart to help and become more of what God wants us to be: holy.
de Tocqueville was right. But I suspect it didn’t just start with America. And while we can make strides to become more sanctified, it won’t be where we, or God, wants it to be until we begin the next phase of eternal life.
I have hope in that.