Philippians 4:4-7: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
#1 - Kyrios
#2 - Merimnao
#3 - Epieikes
#4 - Meta Eucharistias
The Question: How do we face our wounds?
Last week, the devotional had to do with the ways in which our insecurities and faults play themselves out. Some of us have come face to face with those realities this week. Pressure tends to push us into lashing out, and when we have been put under the pressure of the competition season, we've seen our react from some not-so-good places.
Just at Monday's match alone it was evident that we experienced fear and anger. In the aftermath some of us have experienced a lot of sadness. On the courts and on the bus we heard some of negatives coming out in complaining and comparing, but I think we honestly stood up and tried to resist those. We were honest about what we were feeling, even if it wasn't until the next day.
So what do we do with these emotions, these hurts, these fears, these angers - what do we do when they pop up?
The Words: Meta Eucharistias & Gnorizo
Back to our Philippians passage, where it reads, "in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
First thing to note, as we noted at the beginning of our season, everything circles around God. How do you deal with these negative reactions. Well, whatever course you take, whatever actions you do, whatever healing you get, the source of that will be in coming to God.
That's what we did yesterday. We walked the courts, the grasses, the railroad and muddy field and presented ourselves to God. But let's look at that a little bit, with the use of a couple Greek words.
The action described to deal with these things is "present." Present your requests to God. This is what we're supposed to do. So, you can stop right now and ask yourself whether you've even talked to God about what's going on in your head. But it becomes even more interesting in Greek. The word for "present" is gnorizo. It means to make known or reveal.
But it gets even more interesting when you look at the root words. Gnorizo has a connotation of intimacy. It is knowing someone on a deep and relational levels. It is knowing someone at their most transparent and honest.
So the action here isn't just tell God what you want (although that's part of it). The action here is to be deeply honest with God. Where are you really at? When the ball smacks the net to put your down 4-5 in the second set, where are you really at? God is looking for the real you to speak.
Along with the action is an attitude. With thanksgiving. Meta Eucharistias. Meta is the word that gets translated to "with." It more closely means "in togetherness with" or "in union with." Your prayer, your request, your making yourself truly known to God is joined in togetherness with something.
And that something is thanksgiving, eucharistias. This is a thankfulness born of dependence. It is an acknowledgment that you are not enough on your own. You might recognize the English word Eucharist in eucharistias. That's because the Eucharist, the remembering of Jesus' death, his broken body and his poured out blood, is an acknowledgment of our dependence on God. On Jesus.
In other words, how do you deal with the wounds and emotions?
You let your real self be known, and you do that in togetherness with the knowledge that you are dependent on God.
What does this mean for tennis?
You are dependent on God. But sometimes, you an arm around you to help you work through. Or a fist bump to pump you up.
You must begin with letting your real self be known to God, but it's not a bad idea to be sharing it with one (or more) of your brothers as well. We don't care about your position, or year in school, or anything else - we just love you. We'll help you work through it, and present ourselves in prayer for you too.
But the bottom line is, wherever you feel the pressure, the anger, the fear - be honest and let God know. Take your deep breath. Every breath in is gratitude, every breath out is fear. Give it honestly to God.
The Song: "Prologue" by My Epic
A simple prayer song, based on this quote: "May it be the real I that speaks. May it be the real Thou that I speak to." Let ourselves be known, in the midst of God and with each other.