The following is a special Easter edition 2007. I share on the progressive evolving of our True Selves in a co-creating partnership with God. This entails ongoing dying to, or relinquishing, what we have had to a resurrection, or arising for us, of our deepest, most sacred desires. This existential and timeless process is one of the deep spiritual meanings of the Christ Resurrection story, for such in the Gospel is not just a historical account. The Christ Resurrection story, along with the Passion, is symbol of the ongoing Resurrection Life being enacted within us when we surrender grasping the old life and welcome the new life. This new life is the best the Divine One has for us each: and not less than the best. The only way we stay outside this timeless Life-Giving-Best is refusing to open to the One in being willing to be prepared for willingness to be willing for the Newness.
Scripture~Psalm 78.70-72 (NLT)
Adonai chose servant of God David,
calling David from the sheep pens.
Adonai took David from tending the ewes and lambs
and made David the shepherd of Jacob's descendants~
the Divine's own people, Israel.
David cared for them with a true heart
and led them with skillful hands.
*Gender-Inclusive, Hebrew adaptation.
The Psalm text remembers a major transition in King David's life journey. David, shepherd of a four-legged flock, becomes shepherd over a nation, Israel. In the David story, David's work as a shepherd for his father's flock is preparation ground for leading Israel with "true heart" and "skillful hands."
What if the boy David had disdained and treated irresponsibly the tending of sheep? Being faithful and not treating lightly his job in the pastures prepared him for kingship. Neither David nor his family had an idea that his humble pasturing was shaping his character and skills to become the most highly regarded king in the nation's history.
We might get discouraged with where we are in life. We may feel it unimportant. We might esteem it not right for us but something we are stuck with. We can conclude, "I deserve better." Or, "My skills are not being used well."
What if such is not true? Does not the Divine Wisdom prepare us for what we have not had through having what we have? Possibly, you have been letdown and hurt by a relationship that did not work out for your best. Could God be using that seeming failure to prepare you for a best relationship for you? Would it not be sensible that the Spirit, who is Universal Intelligence, would have you at a job for it to be a transitional place to prepare you in character and skill for the job best for you? You may be living somewhere, and it might be a sacred place of preparation, preparing you and other circumstances to lead you to a place better for you. Is that possible?
I myself have witnessed this reality of preparation often in my life journey. Even now, the Spirit confirms that I am at the right place and being a pastor is the right thing. Tomorrow that could all change; after all, life is meant to be adventure! I believe someday I will work full-time in spiritual, contemplative formation training, along with publishing. Possibly, the Spirit knows that neither circumstances, other persons, nor I are ready for that to take place. So, in some ways, what I am doing now is limiting the time I want to devote to what I feel Christ wants me most to do on this earth. But this is not time wasted, rather it is time to be true to where Wisdom has me today. After all, you and I can be faithful where we are, now: that is all we have.
Now, what are we to do in preparation times? First, pray for patience. Second, remain daily in close communion with the Spirit. Third, remain open to be shaped to be open to whatever God will do in leading you into new directions.
For the Providential processing of preparing others, circumstances, and your self to get you to the best for you, where your heart most deeply yearns to be and what your heart most deeply longs to have, you must keep partnering with the Divine Intelligence. If you close down, that is faithlessness and you block Energy operating for your best.
This means you are a co-creator with this Divine Wisdom. This Energy Source has personality and power, corresponding with you as a powerful person. The Always-Creating-Love is a cooperative Agency, or joint-causative Cause. The energy between the Source and you must flow back and forth. So, your energy-direction is of utmost importance.
This energy direction pertains to all relationships and activities. Our cooperative energy with the Divine can receive hindrance by investing energy in actions, relationships, and groups that are not energy-complimentary, or energy-supplementing. This is a reason, especially during transitional stages, we must meditate often. By keeping the reciprocal flow between Spirit and us, that helps protect against negative energy takers~and such energy-withdrawers are all about us.
So, immerse your life in positive energy sources, what I call energy-contributors. Avoid as much as possible energy-withdrawers. This includes negative persons, activities not spirit-complimentary (i.e., what you watch, listen to, and read, ...). Even some religion is energy-negative. To move onward to what is best, you may have to disengage from your religious or personal loyalties and move to other loyalties.
Indeed, as you grow into God, you may outgrow the religious people and place that once was best for you, but now will be detrimental to your spiritual evolution in the Word, the Christ Life. Likewise with relationships.
The spiritual path is not for persons afraid to be willing to face and be thankful for the challenges of spiritual evolution. To move on in the Christ Adventure, we often have to let go of what we have dearly been grasping to.
If we are not willing to be or become willing to relinquish what keeps us from following Christ toward the best God has for us, the least we can do is be honest and admit it in prayer. This is much better than saying or singing pious words that have no more depth than our mouth. God will let us huddle in our sweaty, dark, little self-safety cave, or we can walk out and say, "Here I am, for the adventure!" God will not pull anyone out into the Light of the Journey.
What a selfish act to refuse to accept what God has for one, and often through a pious, false humility~even using the name God or word faith~that just lays the self-occupied self in the dust of childish resignation, rather than accepting the resurrection of an ever-unfolding divine newness.
1) In what sense do you think the Spirit calls us to life as a sacred and exciting adventure? Are you living such a sacred and exciting adventure? If not, what life changes might need to take place for you to do so? Explain.
2) Looking back on your life journey, do you see, now, times when what you had was preparation ground for something better later? Explain.
3) Have you ever lost something better or best by not being true to the moment given you? Explain.
4) Why do you think so many persons~maybe most~refuse to be open to newness, settling for less than the better and best God has to offer them?
5) Do you consider often religion discourages persons engaging the sacred adventure of journey toward the best? How might churches, church leaders, and other religious groups subtly or openly discourage such openness to the Spirit-adventure?
6) Reflecting on your life now, what might the Spirit be doing to prepare you for where you truly want to be in your life? How are you yourself cooperating with the Spirit? What do you need to do that you are not now, to better and more fully partner with the Divine Christ in this preparation time?
7) Respond to the following affirmation:
The challenges of newness Wisdom invites me to are not to make my life difficult, they are sent to free me to serve others and honor my Creator through living an exciting, sacred adventure.
A Suggested Prayer
Spirit of Love, may I be open and faithful to this moment, trusting you are working in ways that I do not and cannot know, and calling me out of your Love to be faithful, trusting, and partnering with you. I know that you, being Pure Love, will never force me, but will prepare me, if I remain available to your Grace. In unwillingness, prepare me in willingness. Will through me to will what I in myself could not will, due to hurt, fear, attachments, or whatever would close mind and heart to a full, bold, and joyful openness to your Wise Guidance. I too often settle for less than what you want for me, less than the best. Surprise me! Amen.