Did you ever pick up a little dog and hold it in your arms? Sometimes when you pick up a dog their paws flail in the air, until you put them down and they find firm ground.
Sometimes life is like that. Our “paws” flail in the air. We worry, obsess and seem to lack any grounding in life. My life of late has been this way as another major concern emerges. I am like a dog trying to find firm ground.
What I need to remember is this. When I feel like I’m in mid air I am being held by the One who will never let go of me. I am being held by the One who is able to take a seemingly negative, dark circumstance and bring me to a new place that I never imagined. I am in good hands and even in mid air I can find firm ground.
I am so grateful that in the midst of difficulty I have a place to go in meditation, a quiet place which whispers a word of hope: In your darkness I will never abandon you. No matter your difficulty I can use it to bring you to a new place. Trust the hands that hold you.
Acts 6: 8-15
“We’ve heard that Jesus will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses handed on to us.”
These people felt threatened! They didn’t want the system to change. When we feel threatened, when life begins to shift for whatever reason we will go to any length to keep things the way they are. The folks in Jesus’ day resorted to murder – Jesus’ murder and that of many of his followers. We have a tendency to want to silence the prophets even in our own day.
We don’t like change. But we have a choice. In some situations, we don’t have to change. Someone may be forcing a change on us against our will that is unhealthy. In such a situation we have the perfect right to refuse to change. However, many situations of change might be good for us and those we love – but we go kicking and screaming! In such situations, can I see change as an opportunity instead of a dark, negative place?
A few years ago I broke up with my boyfriend. I loved him very much and I went kicking and screaming into this breakup. I didn’t want it. However, as my Momma used to say: “hindsight is 20/20!” Looking back, that break up was needed. That very difficult change in my life threw me into a tailspin – yet opened doors and places within me that were closed while I was with him. Something seemingly negative became the doorway to new life.
Are you in the midst of a change in your life? Can we see the silver lining in the cloud and the positive things that just might unfold as a result of it?
John 3: 31-36
“The one who comes from above testifies to what they have seen and heard.”
Sometimes that’s just a bit different from prevailing religious thought. It was for Jesus. That’s why he was killed.
What have you seen and heard? What is the truth of your spiritual journey in life? How do you give witness to that? Has it gotten you in trouble with prevailing religious thought?
I think of the many people who challenge me by giving witness to goodness, kindness, self giving, sacrificial love – by never saying a word. They simply live it. They preach by the way they live. I think this is the most authentic witness that we can give to “what we have seen and heard.” When someone is able to see that I am able to grab onto faith in the midst of crisis, when someone sees that I am concerned for others, when someone is fed and calmed by my presence – I am a witness to what I have seen and heard, I am a witness to what I have read, digested, what I have prayed and meditated.
What message is my life speaking today?
Can you relate to this?
Why is it that when I hit a stressful time in life, the very things – like meditation and exercise – that would help relieve stress, are the very first things to get bumped from the daily routine? It’s like something within me says, “there’s no time for this!” And so, I begin to shave these things from my daily routine. Then over time, I wonder why I am getting more stressed, having difficulty sleeping and focusing!
In reality, these are the most important things NOT to bump from the schedule in the midst of a difficult time. They are the very life-blood that keeps me grounded. Without them, all else begins to suffer – my work, my relationships, even my play time!
I lay awake last night, once again, feeling the pent up energy in my body and my restless spirit as my mind whirled. I have not exercised in a while. No wonder I am having difficulty sleeping. So much pent up energy! I have not really given myself to meditation in a while. No wonder I have difficulty focusing!
The irony is this: when I bump meditation and exercise from the schedule, it seems I don’t have enough time. When I take the time to meditate and exercise, it seems as if I have much more time on my hands, time even to play!
First things first. What are the REALLY important things that I need to maintain in order to live well, even in the midst of a stressful time?
Happy Easter and Spring to everyone! I pray that you are filled with a sense of hope and new life. And if you’re in a difficult place, I hope that you hold on in the knowledge that this difficulty WILL pass and life will get better.
One of the things that always amazes me during the Easter season is the very abrupt turn of events in the life of Jesus’ followers. They go from a very frightened band of people that basically ran away when the going got tough, due to their fear of being associated with this man, to a group of people filled with courage who spoke out openly. Even though they knew that they might be next on the chopping block, something happened within them. They walked through the fear and began to speak openly. They “came out” as it were. They went from a huddled group behind locked doors, to openly speaking and proclaiming the truth in the streets!
Any of us who are gay can relate. Any of us who have lived in fear of what people might think or what the consequences might be if people knew something about us can relate. Remember what it was like when the desire to live freely became greater than the fear that held you bound? Remember the frightening, exciting freedom when you first spoke freely and opened up to someone? This is the courage of the followers of Jesus. This is the courage of any who have taken a step beyond the fear of consequences into the light of freedom.
Is there something that you still hold inside, some fear that still rules you? The good news is this: once we make a move, once we even whisper our truth, we will begin to find others who will be a source of support, amidst those who might want to tear us down. We are never alone. Once we “come out,” once we speak up, we will find other “disciples” who will walk the journey with us.
I am going through a bit of a major shift in my life. In one sense it’s not a big deal. In another, it’s a HUGE deal. And it’s one of those situations where you don’t know whether or not it’s all going to work out. Ever been there?
My tendency in such times is to stop living. I get so focused on the challenge at hand that I put my life and sometimes my relationships on hold. This is no way to live. OK, it usually takes me a while to learn things; but learn I do! This “storm” in my life is presenting me with a wonderful opportunity to learn patience and detachment. It presents me with another lesson in what it means to be so detached that I can continue to LIVE in the midst of the storm. Do what I must, yes. But then, let go and allow it to go where it will.
We CAN live in the midst of the storm!
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8: 31).
Did you ever try to run from the truth? Have you, or are you hiding something from your partner? Have you ever, or are you now living in denial about some negative behavior in your life?
Have you ever, or are you now not acknowledging the truth of your goodness, what you have to offer to others, the gift that you are?
We spend tremendous amounts of energy hiding from the truth. No wonder we’re so tired out at times. Once we acknowledge the truth, it’s like a heavy weight is lifted from our shoulders and we begin to know what it is to walk through life with a bit of a lilt in our step.
For years I hid the truth of who I was. I hid it from others and I hid it from myself. I lived in a prison of fear and struggle, fighting these feelings I had for those of my own sex. After all, if I was “one of those” I was told I was headed to hell! I will always remember the spring day when I first uttered those words out loud: “I am gay.” I was shaking. I was so frightened; . . . and yet exhilarated at the same time as I felt myself being freed. And you know what? After I said it, the world didn’t come to an end. As a matter of fact it felt like a two ton weight was lifted off of me. The truth set me free.
Perhaps there is a truth within that you are struggling to acknowledge. It might be a negative behavior that you’re hiding, or it might be realizing and acknowledging your giftedness. Perhaps it might be good to sit and feel the weight, the pressure, all the energy that you’re spending hiding that truth. Do you really want to live this way? The first step to living more fully is acknowledging the truth. In A.A. they say: “We ADMITTED we were powerless over alcohol.” It is the admission, the acknowledgement that is the first step to freedom. The truth will set us free!