Consider Yourself Held
In the midst of getting dressed for a job interview this afternoon, I was trying to find some clarity and quiet. I sent my friend J a Facebook message and asked him to pray.
“No problem,” he responded. “Consider yourself held.”
J’s a Quaker and so when he says “held” he means “held in the Light”, as in, the Light of God. Where Evangelicals would just say, “I’ll pray for you,” J’s instinct was to hold me.
That in itself is a comforting, peace-bringing, life-giving use of language. It’s visceral and immediate. But as I reflected in the moments before and after my interview, I was struck by something deeper.
On one level, J saying “Consider yourself held” was still a transactional statement: I asked for something–his prayer–and received it, albeit in different language. But at the same time, J’s words called me to more than simple momentary comfort and support; they called me instead to consider myself in a new way.
They asked me to consider how God sees me.
Consider “consider”: the word itself is an invitation, an opening to pursue something new or forgotten. There is mystery in that word; what will come on the other side of it? In this case, me (“yourself”); J–and God–were asking (allowing?) me to pause and wonder about myself, to go into a space of self-awareness, to look at myself as God might.
And then there’s the close, being “held”. Again, the verb is intimate, warm and so much more personal than the word “prayer” that, at least in my world, has a patina of efficiency and check-boxed-ness. But go farther: imagine yourself being held, feel what it’s like to be physically close to God, to be so near the Source of All you can hear Its heartbeat.
As I did, as I let myself move into the deeper meaning, I realized something further: J wasn’t just granting me temporal prayer, he was reminding me of my constant state as held by the Creator, by Christ, by the Spirit.
One simple sentence banished my shame and failure to live up to who (I think) God is, who (I think) God wants me to be. It doesn’t matter; or, rather, it matters, but it doesn’t preclude me being held already and constantly. I am–we are–never not held. So, in some sense, I didn’t need to ask for J’s prayer*; I was already being held in the moment I asked, had been held long before and will be held ad infintium.
It’s still a thought experiment, considering the intimate nature of God, but it’s one I’ll keep coming around to. And so though I’m not a Quaker, I’ll offer up J’s words in hopes they may be a reminder of Reality when you most need them:
Consider yourself held.
*I find value in asking things of one another and of God. Pouring ourselves out to our community and to God is important; it’s how we interact and create relationship with each other and the Divine.