It is so interesting to me to go from feeling like a totally separate, independent person to having a seamless relationship with God where I can no longer tell the difference between the way he thinks and the way I think.
When I first surrendered my life to God I used to trade things off with God, at least that’s the way I thought about it. I’d do stuff that God wanted me to do—the spiritual stuff– and he’d help me with stuff that wasn’t religious or spiritual. I was bargaining with him: I’ll do this if you’ll do that. I can remember one December years ago when it became clear to me that God cared about everything in my life, religious or not, whether it was me the parent, me the volunteer, me the Sunday School teacher, me the wife or me the sewer/quilter/etc. I was astounded.
And so I began to offer up every thing to him that concerned me. I began to listen to God differently, so that I heard more than he was asking. I heard his concern for me, I heard the reasons behind the suggestions he made, why I needed to do this or that. I realized that every single word he said to me often left me breathless about whether I could do it or not, but was never really beyond my capabilities, only beyond how I thought about myself. Every single request just connected me more and more to my true self, my soul. It has been a soul-affirming journey for me.
Over the years I read what he suggested—books about other religions, writings of the saints. I learned to open up how I thought about everything. I took the courses he suggested—photography, magazine writing, and theater. I began to see that I had a particular point of view, a creativity of my own. I became a spiritual director which changed so much about me as I learned to set aside my own goals for the person before me in favor of what the Holy Spirit wanted for him or her.
In everything, I now see, I was being asked to give up my own narrow lens through which I saw the world and to see things more with God’s point of view. So much of my life was ruled by fear and doubt of myself. I learned to open up that lens, too, to see myself more as God saw me. I learned to embrace all of who I am.
It is hard for me to describe what is seamless for me. I no longer have to judge or separate myself out from God’s own Indwelling Spirit. I take everything in my thoughts—except the anxiety producing—as God’s thinking in me. Thomas Merton describes the seamlessness of being immersed in God in this way: ”It is freedom living and circulating in God, Who is Freedom. It is love loving in Love.”[New Seeds of Contemplation, p. 284]
There is joy and a deep affirmation and a purpose that sustain me even through the ups and downs of daily life. This summer I had many sleep-deprived nights, but still I was felt cared for as my energy flagged and I spend many more hours helping my family and many fewer writing. I didn’t worry about the lapse. I knew that the sleeplessness had a purpose even if I couldn’t see what it was. I just knew that this was what I had to do this summer. And that when the time was right, things would change in me. And so now I’m in the fall sleeping better, much more on task with the book I am writing and at new levels of listening to the ever-present Divine Voice within me.
In the seamlessness I am experiencing new and deeper levels of trust in God, new and deeper connections, new and deeper levels of longing and, as always, a future that is not at all known, but not at all daunting. It is as if nothing can shake me from this relationship with God. Nothing at all. I am the house built on rock!
Questions to ponder over the week: Have I experienced that delightful confusion of not knowing where God ends and I begin? What stands in my way of that happening? Am I willing to give up that resistance/rebellion/fear/anger/whatever to God?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who no longer know where God ends and we begin. May we be on our way to union with him. May we be people of love and peace and depth and joy.
News from By the Waters:
All five of the videos about the Exodus story are up on YouTube, plus two more. Here are the url’s to access them:
Part I: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKfouN0PNH0
Part II: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyvRsnqYrdg
Part IIIa: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZU32Y09UN8
Part IIIb: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHqKay89kjE
Part IV: www.youtube.com/watch?v=84z7KF_uv7Q
God’s Invitation, www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOkp_-wDKFo
The Heart of the Gospel, www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJJbPKSOACc
My book, “Thy Kingdom Come!”, is up on Amazon in both paperback and kindle versions. Look under Patricia Said Adams.
If you want to read the daily offerings of this post Monday through Friday on Facebook, check it out at www.facebook.com/By-the-waters-146585815373488/.