It’s like picking the low-hanging fruit or the river finding the easiest route to the sea; that’s how natural our search for God can be. We don’t have to make it hard or complicated. We just have to listen, wait, watch for the way to open before us. And we walk down that path.
God already has a plan in mind for us. He already knows the next step we need to take. If we’re listening with a stilled mind, if we’ve identified his voice inside us, if we know from experience that everything he proposes is good for us and those around us, then we are already living out that plan. We don’t have to know where we’re going, because we know we’re in good hands. We learn to trust God in everything, even in the hard stuff of life.
When we make it complicated, we can be sure we are following the culture’s ways or the ego’s, not God’s. When we’re thinking, “I should be doing…..” or “I have to….” or it has to happen this way,” for sure we’re listening to our ego’s leadings. If we pay attention to what comes into our lives, we can look at it as an invitation. What we need to discern is this: what do I do now that this has entered into the picture? What do I need to learn or express or do?
You can be sure that it is the next thing you need to deal with in God’s plan for you. I’ve been in the process of buying a town home in the last month. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever faced! Why? I have felt abused by a process that doesn’t trust a thing I say, where I have had to verify and re-verify again and again. I’ve felt treated like a criminal, a drug dealer. Now the mortgage process since the crash of 2008 has changed, really tightened up in order to make sure the banks and mortgage companies are not doing sub-prime loans.
But I have taken the process very personally. And I am learning that somewhere deep in my childhood I must have had some big experience of distrust of me that has been evoked by this current purchase. So I am offering this dramatic over-reaction of mine up to God, because it is clear to me that I am not seeing clearly what is an impersonal process that everyone who is seeking a mortgage is experiencing. It’s not a “let’s get Pat” exercise. It’s not a bad process. But I have made it into a huge battle.
This experience has highlighted a difficult place inside of me. I am not particularly grateful for the difficult experience, but it brought to light something dark and untenable inside me. And for that I am grateful, because I hadn’t even known it was there. Now, in the Lord’s hands it will be healed.
Low-hanging fruit, the river’s easiest path to the sea…it’s a process we relax into when we put God in charge of our lives. The hard stuff is ego-driven reactions, like mine, to what is. We create much more suffering for ourselves by not closely examining our assumptions, our preferences, our prayers for our own stuff. If we cling to these ego-driven desires, in spite of what is clearly before us, if we cling to our prayers for what we want to happen, we experience so much disappointment and trauma. We don’t have to suffer more at life’s hands. Be clear about who you are and what you are asking for. Ask yourself and God, is this what God wants for me or what I want?
Our journey with God takes us beyond the culture-created reactions to our true selves. With the culture we’re always over-reaching to get what might not even be ours or might not even suit us. That’s why we so often are disappointed in what we get—it isn’t ours! True freedom comes from choosing what is most natural and integral to your life. It comes from listening deeply in yourself to see if what you want has resonance in you. To do that you have to know yourself and your gifts and talents, to know what fits you and what doesn’t. And you have to be listening to God for inspiration, direction, and resonance.
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I working too hard to be with God? Where can I relax and let God do what he is going to do? What is clearly the next step for me to take?
Blessing for the week: May we relax into a deep trust in God’s providence and his way of meeting our needs. May we see the low-hanging fruit and pick that instead of making things so complicated. May we be deeply in tune with what God wants for us. in faith and love, Pat