Thursday, June 17, 2010

Story of a bagel

Three years ago (amazing! Have I really been blogging for that long?) I shared a story about a woman who approached me at a bus station and gave me a fresh warm bagel when I was sad, tired and a bit desperate. You can read the story here.

The memory is still vivid in my mind. In those few short minutes, I felt as though someone bestowed the precious gift of friendship upon me – something to keep me going at the darkest moments. It's amazing how such little things can have such a tremendous impact on our soul. Especially the words she said have resounded in my ears during many times of fear, despair and humiliation:

"You look like such a wonderful person. Don't let anyone put you down."

I know her words were a message from God, because He ever and always wishes to strengthen, encourage and uplift us. I'm not saying the messages we get are always meant to make us feel good. But they always carry a positive, not a negative force. They are always made of hope, possibility, insistence, improvement. They might painfully shake us, but they remind us He never gives up on us.

Thus, it's easy enough to recognize the messages that are not from Him, usually spoken by people who surround us. If anyone in your life, anyone at all, deliberately makes you feel, and/or explicitly tells you that you are worthless; wicked; stupid; hopeless; crazy – that you are a terrible person, that you will never be able to make a difference, that you will never get up, shake off the dust and walk on – know that their message is not from God, and therefore not true, because He never wants us to drown in despair. He wants us to know there is always hope.

Speaking in Jewish terms, those negative messages are from yetzer ha-ra, the evil inclination. A rabbi I highly admire wrote in one of his books that the evil inclination first and foremost wants us to believe we are incapable of doing good, because then we will become prone to do evil.

We are all wonderful. Not perfect, certainly, but wondrously made in His image. We must treasure ourselves, not out of arrogance, but because we know He treasures us. Isn't that a precious gift?  

14 comments:

Rachel said...

Thank you, Mrs. Anna. I needed to read this today. :)

momto9 said...

So so true!

Sarah said...

Would you mind sharing the title of the book by the rabbi you admire? I read Hebrew so it's okay if it's not in English.

Smoochagator said...

I really needed to hear this, too. Thanks so much!

ROSIE said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this!

K said...

Thank you, so well said.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Anna. I really needed to hear this right now. I am struggling with guilt for being a bad mother and horrible wife. I am riddled with depression, and I was feeling like maybe I'm just bad and there's nothing to do to change it. I felt exactly as you described "incapable of doing good."

Thank you for reminding us we do not need to give in to evil. God is our fortress, and we do not have to rely on ourselves in times of desperation. I love thinking about just burying myself in the arms of God and letting Him hold me when I just can't figure it out anymore. When I have no where else to go, I can take refuge in my fortress.

"My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken." Psalm 62:1-2

~V.

Annajean D. said...

Thank you Anna for sharing such a wonderful message!

Laura Spilde said...

This encouragement is so true. In our feminist world, the women feel as if they have the right to put down men as well as women. These woman are not Godly in any sense.

Thank you for the gentle reminder that God loves us and wants us to prosper.

LadyHelios said...

What a beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful gift that woman gave you! It's a blessing to think about a gift we've been given, and how we shared it with others.

Buffy said...

Very well said. It amazes me how many people think negative things could come from God.

Sarah said...

In the Jewish belief system, all things come from God. God created the yetzer hara as well as everything else, and He wants it to test people. So while it's correct that He doesn't want us to give in to it, it's wrong to say that it doesn't come from God. That would imply that there are, Heaven forbid, two deities.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Sarah,

Thanks for this clarification, for the sake of those who may have been wondering.