Take this cup

He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:41-44)

Just days before, Jesus was teaching the twelve, knowing this time was coming. He spoke of death, trials, great suffering. ...unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life shall lose it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say, 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour: 'Father, glorify your name.' (John 12: 24, 25, 27, 28)

He willingly took the cup His Father had chosen for Him. He knew it was imperative that He obey. Yet His "spirit was troubled", and He pleaded that the death that loomed before Him would not come to pass. If ever a human being had eternal perspective, it was Christ. If ever a human being held their life loosely, willing to see the grave instead of old age, it was Jesus. But this did not stop Him from praying earnestly, from sweating blood. He knew the purpose of His death, yet He sincerely wished it did not have to be.

So I feel as cancer scans approach. I know they are necessary, but I am undone regardless. I know their purpose, and still pray that I might not have to receive the iodine again. I pray in the spirit of willingness, I do not demand my own will be done. But, oh, how I wish it!

Willfulness is a part of my character that I have not yet rooted out. With it's roots in my childhood, when I would take any double-dog dare, even eating worm sandwiches and drinking from a bucket with a dead mouse floating in it, willfulness has been part of my story for a long time. In college, it took on a different shape: I fought doctors for freedom, I battled through nursing curriculum that maxed out my energy. Lately, I have fought this urge again as I face self-harm temptation and depression that is immobilizing.

I pray God conquers this unwilling spirit that possesses me sometimes. I pray that I can really mean it when I say, "Not my will but thine be done." Willfulness sprouts where fear and hopelessness abound. I pray with the Psalmist, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." (51:12)

Approach this any way you like. Write about how you're feeling today. Write about different theories of human emotion - some people use a list of 12 or 20 basic emotions. How many do you think there are? How many do you feel at once?

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