The Little Girls in the Room—Praying with the Imagination
Recently, I did a prayer exercise called ‘Praying with the Imagination’ with my spiritual director, Letha.
If you’ve never heard of this exercise, the following may be a stretch for you. But stay with me for a minute.
Life has been challenging lately. That feeling of Just. Too. Much. Good stuff and bad stuff and lots of stuff in between. Several events have triggered knee-jerk reactions in me that sent me spiraling back to old habits of negative self-talk, what Eugene Peterson calls ‘Debilitating self-criticism’. I was feeling like Elijah, alone and exhausted on Mount Horeb. (I Kings 19).
So Letha had me imagine myself in a room with all these different voices. She asked me which ones needed to be shown the door for a while and which ones I needed to lean into and listen too.
As I sat in the silence, here’s the scene I imagined:
I’m in our den downstairs. I’m sitting on the blue couch and to my left, in front of the picture window, are two young girls with their hair in pig tails. At first I think they are young women, but the longer I look, they become girls. And they are both pitching fits and screaming at me. One is “Failure in France” and one is “Failure in Fiction”. They are so loud and distracting and so I finally say, “Stop it! Just stop it! We’ve already talked about all this many times before and it’s been settled. So leave!”
They keep throwing their tantrums, but inch toward the front door and finally they leave. Then in the quiet, I see myself, as I am now, at my age. I’m sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace and one after another, my family comes to sit with me, practically in my lap. And my arms just keep expanding so that they reach around all of them. And it is sweet and tender and safe. And I’m saying, “It’s going to be okay.”
And then Jesus is sitting behind me, holding me tightly, and He’s the One who is holding everyone in His strong arms, in His righteous right hand as it says in Isaiah 41:10. He’s the One who is holding us all, and He is gentle, and we are all okay.
Then Letha had me go back into the room and see if there are any other voices present and if so, what are they saying to me. Are there any other voices I need to hear?
And suddenly I saw two little girls—one was tiptoeing down the steps and peeking out between the banisters. She was “Joy in Writing”. I met her at the stairs, leaning down to her level. She had sad but hopeful eyes. She was begging me for time to finish creating my story.
Then another little girl ran in from the new sun room with happy, mischievous eyes. She was “Planning a Party”. And she wanted me to enjoy planning the rehearsal dinner, to take the time to do whatever was needed to make it FUN!
So I took both of the little girls by the hands, and we sat at the little table I use for tea parties with the grandkids, and we had a tea party. We laughed and enjoyed, and I looked over my shoulder and Jesus was smiling at us, His arms securely around all my family, pleased with me, winking, and saying, “I’ve got them, and you’ve got this.”
And so I will rejoice in my creativity and how God made me, and I will delight in finishing my story (deadline July 31) and preparing for the rehearsal dinner and wedding (August 6 and 7).
Merci, my precious Lord, for meeting me in exactly the way I needed today. Je t’aime.
Where do you need the Lord to meet you today?
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look around you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog.