Living at the still point[see the 3/14/11 blog, “Living Deeply into our Lives”] allows the Holy Spirit to transform us from an ego-centered and culture-centered person to a person of God through whom God’s love can freely flow. As we are being transformed, our created selves are brought into focus. This whole process unfolds as we empty out all the ways of thinking and being in ourselves that are superfluous or even detrimental to who we were created to be.
One way we might think of these superfluous and detrimental parts of ourselves is as the many “gods” that stand between us and God. As God expressed it in the Ten Commandments: “You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3 NIV
When I surrendered my life to God, I experienced such joy that my feet barely touched ground for three or four days. Then the enormity of the task of eliminating what stood between me and God came crashing in on me. I wrote for a month on all the gods that I put before God: “Gobs of gods” is my title for the writing. Here are some of my “gods:” anger, blame, sleep, arrogance, unworthiness, false pride, pride, evasions, shutting out others, certainty of the future, living in the past, hating myself, vanity, looking good, clothes, anxiety, candy, money, sewing, my children, my husband, my house, my way, frustrations, wasting time, and sainthood.
Then there were all the people I catered to, the ones I wanted to like me or do things for me, the groups I wanted so much to belong to, the goals I had assumed for myself whether they belonged to me or not, and on and on. What I had not understood before the surrender was that I was living someone else’s life, the life I had been raised to assume, but it was not a good fit for me. I had to come to a very basic honesty with myself about what expresses who I was created to be and what doesn’t. I had to learn to listen for my authentic voice in the choices I made.
Living a surrendered life expresses a willingness to go where God directs. It is the willingness that is important: we don’t get to choose what goes and what stays. We put our whole selves up to the Lord for transformation and allow his Spirit to do the work. I don’t think we have the capacity to work this out by ourselves, we are too close to the issues that need to be addressed. So it is up to God.
As we are emptied of the unneeded, the container within us is strengthened. We discover that we can tolerate the troubles in life with more equanimity, we can embrace paradoxes with more understanding, and we can listen to others’ pain and suffering and just be with them. We don’t need to run away or protect ourselves. We are content to be where we are. We are not beyond being affected by events and other people; we are not so buffeted by them.
Living at the still point within means that we trust God to do what is in our best interests always. It means that we approach our days lifting up to God everything that needs to be done, asking his blessing on the tasks and the people we meet. We act in partnership with God, co-creating with God; we see things from God’s perspective. We live, not out of anxiety or fear, but in hope, in love, and in joy. This is a sea change, a complete u-turn in how we deal with life. It is ironic: as we are transformed we many not change one thing in our lives, or we may be asked to change everything that we do, but what changes most of all is our attitude, motivation and caring. And our love for God deepens and deepens.