"It took years and a lot of hard work to believe again. It took me having a personal relationship with God, instead of going by what I read in the Bible and heard others testify, for me to fall in love with God, for me to open my heart, for me to completely trust and surrender to this Force that I cannot see or touch."
Now, I don’t believe that because we have a savior that we will be rescued or saved from life’s challenges and pains. But, as Christians, I don’t think we have to experience those heartaches without hope and faith.
I’m learning like most of us – by trial and error – and I’m thankful that each day I have something new to discover about myself, this world and a God who I know loves me to pieces. I didn’t always know this. I used to think no one loved me. I was a slow-to-learn student, I was a skinny kid with darker completion than my friends, I was quiet and a pushover. I experienced love from my family and church members (partly because I was the "preacher's kid") but I didn’t love myself and I didn’t know how to conceptualize or actualize the love of God.
It took me, as a young adult, “doing the work” to open my heart, I mean really open my heart, to God. After my Dad (who was also my best friend) died suddenly, I lost hope and faith. “God, can’t possibly love me and allow THIS to happen. No way. No how.” Yep, that’s what I believed. That was also my grief talking.
I was angry, hurt, confused. I felt lied to and betrayed. I stopped loving God, life and myself. That’s hell.
I had to re-establish a relationship with God.
Thankfully, God did not stop loving me or protecting me during my "rebellion" period. His unconditional love saw and pulled me through the dark part of my life. He gave me poetry to help me share and observe my grief process. He gave me family and friends to lean on. He gave me a road map and a flash light.
It took years and a lot of hard work to believe again. It took me having a personal relationship with God, instead of going by what I read in the Bible and heard others testify, for me to fall in love with God, for me to open my heart, for me to completely trust and surrender to this Force that I cannot see or touch.
So, today, when I don’t have the answers, when I can’t come up with all the details of the plan, when I am literally and figuratively in darkness, pain and confusion, I know that there is a Master Plan and Creator who will not leave me. When my back in against the wall, I know God’s back is too. Not in the sense that God feels cornered or powerless (like I do sometimes) but in the sense that God feels and knows exactly what I’ve experiencing in the moment, and is right there with me.
I’ve been thinking about super heroes lately. I think it’s because one morning recently, as I was leaving Panera Bread, I heard a mother say to her young son, who I imagine was three years old, “I need you to stop being a super hero, okay?” But, we are all super heroes, in our own way, no matter our age. Each one of us. We were created to be.
We, in our own way, have the “power” to save the world. Not by converting others to Christianity but in sharing Truth and love with others. What the world needs is healing and we were created and brought here in this time and space spiritually and physically to be a part of that transformation, but we have to have our own first. The wounded can help heal the wounded but the wounded must be healed first. This is our ultimate calling and purpose.
And healing means accepting the love of God, Universe, Creator – whatever name you give it doesn’t really matter (before there were words and labels “God” already existed). It means being intentional and I mean down right intentional about excepting and experiencing God’s love.
“But how? I mean, I know in my mind that God loves me. What more is there?” I’m glad you asked :-). Knowing in your mind should not be underrated. So much of what we experience has to do with what we know or think we know. But knowing one day doesn’t mean you’re going to know it the next day. And there is another level of knowing beyond the mind. There’s the heart level.
So, here are what I refer to as prescriptions. Just like we take our vitamins or blood pressure pills or iron daily, there are prescriptions for our heart, mind and spirit.
- Daily, take a deep breath, feel the "inspiration" (God's breath) flowing through you.
- Daily, lift your chest to the sky, giving your heart back to God.
- Daily, give thanks for all you have, all you have experienced, all you have learned.
- Daily, tell yourself that YOU love you, forgive yourself, be gentle with yourself, protect yourself.
- Daily, pause and observe your surroundings, the noise, nature's bending, the beauty that pops up before you, and allow yourself to be delighted by it all (some rainbows are just for you).
- Daily, smile at a stranger, extend love to your neighbor remembering ultimately, we are all one.
- Daily, surrender your dreams, desires, pains, hopes knowing that there is "something" greater than your thoughts and emotions that has your best interest in mind.
Jesus said that he had come that we might have life more abundantly. It is God's desire that we live outside of bondage. What are you bound to? Know that there is a way out and daily we can experience the resurrection -- a new beginning. Joy belongs to those who believe. Claim it, work at it, release the thoughts of anything other. Be it.
Knowing it is so and so it is…