Happy New Year! We get to begin again. Set new priories. Plan anew. Put the past behind us. Look to the future. Set ridiculous goals trying very hard to change who we are to become. All of these tendencies of thinking about the new year come from our minds which are steeped in worldly wisdom. They come from the surface of our lives. They seldom reach into the depths of who we are and who we are designed to become. And so often we fail to maintain the new goals past January, because they have nothing to do with who we really are.
There is another, deeper way to address a new beginning. It goes beneath the surface to where we connect with our souls and with the Spirit of God. It asks deeper questions, not “What should I be doing?” but this one, “What do I really want to do?” It listens for the answers from deep within. It looks for resonance with who we are in our totality. It no longer looks to others to reflect who we are and who we are to become; it looks deeply into our created selves and asks, “What have I been missing? What am I longing for?” In using this deeper way to access the next steps for us in our journey through life, we go from being outer-referenced to being inner-referenced, truer to who we really are, not to what the world wants us to be.
It takes a lot of courage to look more deeply into our lives. It takes honesty to live our lives in integrity, to own all that we are. And it takes a willingness to separate ourselves from the “pack.” It takes more and more trust in God to be willing to go on this journey, led by Him to what He envisions for each of us.
The source of the deep longings within us is the call of the Indwelling Spirit of God. Knowing who we were created to be and what God plans for us is the source of all fulfillment in our lives. For God knows the gifts and talents we were each given in our conception and the challenges we would have to face. And God knows how to bring out the very best in us. We, who are so conditioned by the world to do certain things whether they are natural to us or not. We are way too close to the subject of our own transformation to see clearly what the next step and the next step for us is. Only God can see that objectively. So that is why He is the source of all our joy and peace and blessings and love and forgiveness. What a close relationship with God brings to us is acceptance, love even, purpose, fulfillment, deep satisfaction and the freedom to be who He created us to be.
Whether we hear Him or not, whether we see His presence in this world, He is always with us. He is the Indwelling Spirit within each of us which just needs to be brought forward in our lives. He is also the connectedness among all people and all creation. He always exists. It’s a wonder to have the awareness of God’s presence in our lives and in the world, to walk with Him throughout our days.
God is forever spreading invitations for us to join with Him in our lives, to grow deeper into the relationship with God. Jesus talks of seeds in several parables, the smallest a mustard seed has the potential to grow into a huge tree in the garden. [Matthew 13:31-2] Other seeds when spread fall on thorny, unwelcoming ground, or a bird eats them, or they might fall on rich soil that nurtures them. [Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4: 1-20, Luke 8:1-15] The seed which God wants to plant in us are ideas about who we are and what we are called to do; they are invitations to heal certain pain and suffering in our lives so that we can draw closer to God; they are new ideas or new ways of looking at what we already know. What kind of “soil” for God’s “seeds” are we offering these invitations from God—thorny and unwelcoming or rich and life-giving?
If we are willing to grow in the ways God invites us to grow, we will really begin to enjoy life fully. For that is His goal—a full partnership with us in bringing in His kingdom on this earth, in everything we say and do. In this partnership God/Christ/Spirit carry the burdens of success or failure, of responsibility, so that we are free to do what is most natural to us. For that is what He calls us to do, just to be and to do what is most natural to each of us.
Jesus explained that the “seed” is the “word of God”. [Luke 8:11] We may experience the “seed” as God’s “still, small voice” calling us beneath the noisiness of everyday life. We may “hear” the seeds two or three times in a few days highlighting what He wants us to hear. We may just feel a deep resonance in something we’ve just read. And if we ponder that, it will open doors in us about what we are to do or how we are to think. We may hear a startling statement crossing our minds, inviting us to figure out how to love my mother—one of my “seeds.” Or God may suggest that there are lots of possible outcomes in the present situation and that I should step back from the one I fear the most—that my husband was dying. A call may come in an illness; it may simply mean that we need to rest and to entertain what is being said to you. God’s “seeds” come in many forms. Maybe a friend keeps bugging you about something. What is that about? How do you experience God’s invitations?
As I have written before, often God’s call has to do with the pain and suffering we have each endured, now healed and transformed, so that we can be really helpful to those in the same situations that we were once in. We know what they are experiencing. We know the pitfalls. We know how we got out of it. We know the language. We have so much more to give than someone who has “never been there, done that.”
For a truly “Happy New Year!” open up your mind to all that God is saying to you in your life. Entertain his invitations. He has only your highest good in mind. Try out what He suggests, even if it leaves you breathless. There is no end to His transforming work in us until the day we die. So change, and grow, and take on new ideas and ways of doing things. We are an evolving species! You will be surprised, amazed even, at what He has in store for each of us in 2018 and beyond, if we will but heed His call!
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I aware of God’s “still, small voice” in my own mind? Do I just dismiss what it is saying because there are voices that are much stronger within me? What am I longing for? Do I await His invitations? Do I recognize His voice? Do I have an intimate relationship with God? Am I on track with His step-by-step curriculum for me? How close have I come to God and His love and invitations for me?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who listen for and obey His “still, small voice” within us. May we reap all the benefits of a close relationship with God. May we partner with God in our lives.
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