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The Upper Room

Accepting What Is

February 24, 2011

by Steve Garnaas-Holmes


Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. — Matthew 5:34


One of these cold wintry days, it’s suddenly warm and gentle. You can enjoy it, or you can spend the day worrying that it’s going to be cold again tomorrow, and let your worry chill you to the bone. When we spend our energy in anxiety about the future, or regret about the past, making judgments about the way things are or ought to be, wishing things were otherwise, then that becomes our consciousness, our experience, our reality. If you spend a warm day thinking about how cold it’s going to be, then for you it’s actually a cold day.

When we worry, it’s because we believe things are not as they are supposed to be, or at least the way we want them to be. It’s negative consciousness. In thinking about the way things are not, we remove ourselves from the things themselves. We also fall into the temptation to control things, to make things the way we want them. When we desire to control things, it is another way of removing ourselves from them. Our “treasure” is our desire for control rather than what is around us. But Jesus invites us to accept what is as it is, without judgment, without control. Just be here. Be present to what is. Let it be.

Sure, we have hopes and desires, and we exercise judgment about our lives and the world. But even if we are struggling against great evil and injustice, we begin by shedding the illusory temptation to control reality. We can’t make things other than they are. We can’t turn stone into bread. This doesn’t mean we can’t change the world; in fact, it is the secret to doing so. Rather than giving ourselves over to what is not, we become present to what is, and in that presence we discover that part of what is is the potential for transformation, already present and powerful, just waiting for us.

When we become lovingly present, right here and now, accepting what is without judgment, we enter into the very power of Creation.





Steve Garnaas-Holmes is a poet, songwriter, and ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church, serving in New Hampshire, where he lives with his wife, Beth. He previously served in Montana for twenty-two years. He is a regular contributor to Weavings, and he writes a daily contemplative reflection, “Unfolding Light,” as well as lectionary-based music and worship resources.  He is a member of a music and comedy group called the Montana Logging and Ballet Company.


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