Six Steps to a Fuller Life
Here are six steps that will lead to a deeper relationship with God, to your own healing of all the pain and suffering you have experienced, to your own transformation to the person you were created to be by stripping away all the cultural “stuff” that was laid on us in our growing-up years, to fulfilling the purpose for which God created you.
- Listen to the “still, small voice” of God within and do what it suggests.
The first step, listen to the “still, small voice” of God,[1 Kings 19:12] is the building block to a fuller life. To hear and recognize God’s voice within and to do what it suggests is the best and may be the only, way into the 5 other steps. It’s also the hardest step because it means that we have to stop paying attention to the noisy gongs in our mind—all that negativity and self-centeredness– in other to hear what God is whispering to us. We have to test out what we think is God’s voice before we will have confidence in it. We will recognize it as we see that it leads us to affirm our deeper selves. It may ask things of us that leave us breathless, but we can do them with an extra measure of courage. It takes us beneath the surface busyness of our lives into the shallow depths and then later all the way to the soul.
You can test out any suggestion within by mentally taking a few steps towards what it is suggesting. If your conscience is aroused, it’s not God’s voice. If it is suggesting anything that would harm anyone, it is not God’s voice. If it echoes what you’ve always wanted, but denied yourself, then it may be God’s voice. If it’s about the good and kind, then you’re probably listening to the right quiet voice within. If it makes your ego feel good, it’s probably not God’s voice you are hearing. You can compare what you are hearing to what you know is in the Bible; it should be congruent with the Scriptures. Remember that it is the quietest voice within.
Centering prayer or other practice of stillness and/or prayer of communion with God will help in this process. The main idea is that we step back from the ways our minds think in order to see the thoughts objectively. We observe them rather than being emotionally charged by them. We begin to recognize the source of each of the negative tapes we play over and over again. We begin to judge their relevance to today’s tasks and callings from God. We acknowledge these old thoughts, but we step back from the power they have over us over us.
- Invite God to heal every incidence of guilt and shame in us.
As we gain confidence through your experience of following what God is suggesting to us, then the healing will begin. Step Two is inviting God into heal every incidence of guilt and shame within our whole lives. As God respects our free will and the walls with which we protect ourselves, we will need to invite him in to heal this guilt and that shame. In this way we are opening ourselves up to his healing and his transforming spirit. If we are listening to him, he will tell us what area of pain we need to address next. His goal is to strip us/heal us of all guilt and shame so that we can live in the present, present to him and to what he is asking of us to do and to say. Then we can be the people he created us to be, living in his presence.
- Notice the blessings and grace the Lord showers on you every day.
As the Holy Spirit heals us of the past pain and suffering, we begin to notice the blessings and grace that are part of our days. The third step is to notice the blessings and grace the Lord showers on you every day. Surprise after surprise comes as we see what God makes of this situation and that one. Blessings, grace and his presence to us are the bountiful gifts that make life in this troubled world not just okay, but joyful.
- Live in trust that your needs will be met.
The fourth step is to embody trust in the Lord, to live in trust that our needs will be met. That is, we no longer live in fear or anxiety. We are positive that the Lord will provide our needs as we need them. We no longer need to carry that burden. God will provide. As we relax into this trust, we can be so much more present in our own lives, to ourselves, to God, and to others. Anxiety and fear are things that drain off our best energies.
- Feel the love and forgiveness he has for you in every cell of your body.
After establishing the deep relationship with God this 5th step takes a whole new sensibility: we are to love and accept, forgive and embrace ourselves, just as we are. As we are able to embrace ourselves, then we are beginning to feel his love for us, too. We are not just saying that we love God and that God loves us. We live in his love. 100%. We accept all that we are. 100%. We do what we’re asked to do out of obedience(that is, listening) to and trusting in God, so that we can fulfill our own purpose in this life.
- Live in gratitude for the life you have been given.
And last but not least, the sixth step is that we live in gratitude for the life we have been given. With God’s love flowing in and through us and seeing life more with his eyes than with our own human ones, we live in a never-ending swell of gratitude for our life as it is constituted today and for our entire history. With everything in us healed, we can see what we have gained from all the pain and suffering. We have learned to love with God’s love, see with his eyes, embrace life as it is.
Of course, being human beings, these are not neat steps on the way, each happening in the right sequence. Sometimes we have to work on more than one at a time. Or we get diverted. And have to go back to complete an earlier step. That’s okay. We will still get the benefit of living in the kingdom, if we go a long way towards completing these steps.
And now we are living fully, both human and divine, in God’s kingdom where everyone is welcome, everyone’s gifts are honored, where we are all finally equal. Amen!
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I listening and being obedient to the voice of the Indwelling Spirit of God? Do I recognize that “still, silent voice” within me? Do I do whatever it whispers to me? Am I following the Lord into the deeper reaches of my being? Have I gotten to my soul yet? If the answer is no to any of these questions, what would be my first step? And the next? If I think I haven’t gone that deep into the relationship with God, what should I be doing so that I can listen to God in a deeper way?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are faithful to the Indwelling Spirit of God. May we listen deeply in our souls to what the Lord asks of us. May we be true to God and to ourselves.
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 entire post for this week, check it out at bythewaters.net/blog.html.