Living into a God-centered Life

       It takes time to live into a God-centered life, in my case many years.  I started with some pretty good raw material—being tied to God no matter what I did, but much of my attachment to God was from the Hell-Fire-and-Damnation church of my childhood. There was so much to learn and even more to unlearn.

       Looking back over thirty years of Spirit transforming my life, as I turned more and more of it over to his tender mercies, I realize that I have been learning—and please note the present tense—many of life’s great lessons. First, there was the lesson to trust my own interior self, to trust my growing ability to listen for the direction of the Holy Spirit, and to set my sights on doing whatever was suggested to me. The great benefit of putting God’s suggestion first has been a tremendous affirmation of myself, my way of doing things, my aspirations and even beyond those aspirations, and of this unique package of the good, bad and the ugly that is me.

Secondly, I have had to give up my own conditioned responses to life, especially my impatience to make something, anything, happen. I have had to set aside any judgment I make of myself or other people. I have learned a whole new sense of the timing of things: God does not operate as our culture of doing, doing, doing does. Listening for the proper time to do something, anything, is as important as the task I am given to do. If I am doing something too early, before I am ready, or too late, I am violating God’s timing.

Thirdly, I am still learning to not push so hard to accomplish things. This an issue of my own anxiety and lack of trust in myself and in the Lord’s love for me to accomplish what has been put before me. It’s amazing to me how much I exhaust myself with the simplest of tasks that I have accomplished over and over again, because I do not trust my ability or God’s leading to accomplish what needs to be done.  The anxiety is a huge drain on my own energies, although I am getting a whole lot better at letting go the anxiety now. As I let go of my anxiety, I have to trust that God will prompt me, will nurture this task in me, and all along will help me to complete the task.

The fourth major lesson, and it’s a big one, is to not attach myself to an either/or mentality. Life does not consist of just two possibilities; in any situation there are dozens of potential outcomes, maybe even thousands. I have always focused on the best and the worst, until my husband suffered a reoccurrence of lymphoma. He was back in the hospital three months after being declared cancer-free. I was of two minds. First, he and I knew in our heart of hearts that no matter what happened, he and I would both be okay.  That was a total trust in God. At the same time I was exhausted, wishing it were bedtime at three pm so that I could go to bed and pull the covers over my head and forget this major tsunami in my life.

At this time I was given to understand that if I could just entertain all the possible outcomes equally, well, then….. The outcome was not spelled out, but this remedy was what the Holy Spirit offered me at the time. Since I was in a long-term practice of doing whatever the Lord proposed to me, I capitulated to this one, too. As soon as I could hold all possible outcomes equally, my energy returned. I was full of joy and sorrow. In addition I was given a gift of huge, unshakable faith. A faith so wide and deep that I felt like the house built on a rock—no one could have shaken me from my faith in God.

Even as we called in hospice, I was still holding all possible outcomes equally, even acknowledging that the possible outcomes were more limited. Even now ten years later I am still able to see things in my life without choosing how I would like them resolved.

I have a long way to go in learning these lessons. My goal is not to be the perfect human being, but to be able to love God, myself, and others in the way that God loves us: totally, kindly, mercifully, forgivingly and challengingly. That’s my lifetime task and I have the best teacher ever!

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