We have to connect the dots in order to see the gifts of this life and to continue growing in faith through our lives. We have to see the lines between God and love and me and you and every other creature and created thing. We need to see that what Jesus said is true for us, if we are to live a meaningful, fulfilled life. We must see God’s continuing action in our lives and in the world, the universe. We must connect the dots.
What are you dots that are seemingly unimportant, yet undergird everything you are and do? It’s not enough to appreciate the beauty of this planet and the whole universe. We need to gather a record of where and when and how God is with us, in us and outside of us providing help and security and filling our needs. We have to go beyond the day-to-day routines and notice everything that happens and wonder about its source. We need to take on our lives as if they really matter to us, our friends, our families, our fellow humans, to God, to the universe. We need to come into an awareness of just how precious life is, of what life is asking of us, of what our contribution is to be.
We don’t acquire self-esteem through telling ourselves how great we are. We build a portfolio of actions that we feel great about, that reveal who we truly are, that are generated from the deep-soul self. We care about ourselves and others. We give of ourselves wherever we can. We answer God’s deepest calls. That’s how we begin to have true self-esteem, but in the end someone with real self-esteem is humbled by the privilege of doing what he or she is designed to do, grateful for the opportunity, not puffed up beyond all recognition.
Of course I am talking, not about the cultural paradigms, where none of this would work. I am talking about the Life of the Spirit. The cultural goals and mores lead us away from our true selves and promote the false self.[See Fr. Richard Rohr’s The Immortal Diamond to read about the false self/true self.]
To move towards God, the Life of the Spirit, our own true self, we need to move towards wonder, gratitude, love, joy, patience and more. We need to change where we invest our identity from the egoic or false self to the true self, the created self. When we make these moves to more authenticity and towards the Spirit, we begin to experience real affirmation or resonance at the deepest levels of ourselves. We begin to feel out what we were created to be. We look at ourselves and the world with new eyes. This is the goal of all spirituality and religion—to realize the true nature within, the God-given, God-centered being we were designed to be.
Questions to ponder over the week: What is your God-given nature? Can you, do you, connect the dots between you and God and all people and the whole of creation? If not, why not? If you can and do, what is the next step for you?