I have a love/hate relationship with the pictures hanging on the walls of my home. I love to look at them, especially the more colorful ones that brighten up the house. I really like the family photos and the oil painting done by my Mom and my grandmothers. They’re not professional by any stretch of the imagination, but they have a certain quality about them—like a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies, they were done with TLC (Tender Loving Care).
I love the pictures all right, but I hate to hang them. That’s because I can’t line them up without something turning out crooked. Try as I might, I can’t center the frames so they are straight and neat. If you could see the last set of pictures I put up in the living room, you’d notice they have a distinct “list to starboard”; that is, they tilt to the right.
Centering pictures is hard for me to do alone. To make sure they’re straight, I need someone to help me out. Aligning the pictures on the wall takes another set of eyes, someone to direct the placement of the picture and a steady hand to make the final adjustments.
I’m going to venture more than just a guess that our spiritual lives wind up being a lot like trying to hang a picture on our own. We can try to get everything in place, strive to make ourselves right with God—loving God with our whole beings, and our neighbors as ourselves. But on our own, the result is always a life lived askew. On our own, we are out of alignment with God.
Fortunately, God gives us the way to center our lives in God in the person of Jesus Christ. When we put our faith in Christ, we are set right with God. When we allow the Spirit of Jesus to shape our lives, we gain a good set of eyes to detect where we are out of line with God’s will; a guide who can lead us into proper alignment with God’s love; and, the steady hand to adjust the course of our lives along the path God would have us go.
Centering our lives in the life of God is no easy task. It takes a lot of work, each and every day. Daily prayer is one practice that can help align us with God by centering us on God’s love for us and focusing us on God’s priorities. Adam Hamilton, the senior pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, recommends a centering prayer at the start of each day. This kind of prayer helps to focus the mind and our spirit on God. Here’s a prayer by Adam that helps me, and I hope it will help you:
“Lord, help me to be the person you want me to be today. Take away the desires that shouldn’t be there, and help me be single-minded in my focus and my pursuit of you.”
Pray in this way and you can center your life in the life of the One who is remaking the world. You may even want to hang a few pictures. 🙂