|On this day I started a wonderful journey.|
major Spiritual Awakening. That was decades ago.
I remember what I wore (a plastic suit----I was sweating off some pounds, I had a wrestling match the next day), where I stood (on the third to the last bleacher before reaching the top, on the home side of the field), the cloud formations in the sky and the thoughts going through my head when I had this experience.
Truth be told, I was arrogant, though I didn't realize it, at the time. The amazing thing is that God condescended to my pride. Wow. What a loving, patient God, is He.
I recall the exact words I said, when I had this spiritual encounter:
I'm thankful for the Almighty's grace and tolerance with me. Distinctly, I remember what happened. A peace and transcendent joy was mine. It is the same kind of euphoria I have when I am transfixed by the beauty of nature. But it was deeper, richer and gentler. This experience has been mine----since that very day."God, I have a lot to lose if what I heard is true. I'm going to give you five minutes to enter into my life. If there is no change, I'll return to my former life, before I surrendered this life to you."
A lot has happened in the intervening time. All of it good, even though all of it was not good. Even in calamities, I've learned there are benefits. It's about perspective. I may not be thankful for difficult events or circumstances, but I can be thankful in them.
I would not be thankful for having my arm amputated. But I can be thankful, if that were to happen that I could have greater sensitivity towards those who have disabilities. (This is just an illustration----no, my arm has never been amputated.)
I'm glad for knowing a loving, caring, patient God, who delights in who I am and wants to help me become the person I want to be. And the person I desire to become is someone who has turned over his will and life over to God. In the recovery model this is Step 3.
Through prayer and meditation I increase my conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His----not my----Will, and the power to carry it out. (Step 11).
What has been the result of this decision I made when fourteen?
How about these benefits:
1. Joy. Peace. Equanimity----experiencing a transcending serenity in the midst of trials and a hope that triumphs over even negative circumstances. I've learned principles that allow me to perceive beyond my selfish tears. A faith that lets me know that the loudest voice----often my feelings----is not necessarily the truest. That feelings are simply that, they are not a prophecy.
Having perspective is greater than any other riches I can have. It is the source for solace, comfort and equanimity.
2. Knowing an emotional, mental and spiritual strength greater than anything I could muster, using my physical resources or wits alone.
3. I've known and continue to uncover dimensions to life that cannot be perceived by the mind alone, by reasoning.
4. Most importantly, my faith enables me to know a God who loves me. He embraced me through the provision he provides not only for me, but for all those who seek and yield to His Will."Unless a man is born again [spiritually] he can not see the kingdom of heaven [see from God's perspective----have spiritual vision, not just the afterlife]."
It's interesting. Many articulate they have faith, but they really don't. Faith is doing what takes faith. If we have it all mapped out, where is God, where is faith in our efforts? If we are trying to control outcomes, our actions are more a matter of our own will and schemes.
Awareness that there is only one God and I am not it is liberating. I retired my cape. It's the result of connecting with my Higher Power----God as I know Him. Life now, does not depend solely upon my efforts and craftiness.
This understanding allows me to be gentle towards myself. I no longer need 25 hour days and 8 day weeks to accomplish what I think I need to accomplish. Thank God, literally. My best for today is good enough. I am NOT what I do. I have value simply because I am a son of the King of the Universe.
I lean on God. We are primarily spiritual. For more about this subject, please read here. It's a good idea operating from this perspective.
How About You?
1. Can you describe your practice of prayer, meditation or quiet time?
2. Is there anything that is keeping you from realizing your powerlessness and your life's unmanageability?
3. How would you describe your present spiritual condition?
This is a day for which I am eternally grateful.