Every now and then a book comes along that changes your life. Awareness, by Anthony DeMello, was that book for me. In Awareness, he lays out the truth about waking people up to the reality of their greatness. When the awareness light shines on us, we can fully wake up.
Anthony gives us the tools to reverse the conditioning that society, culture, our friends and family have had on our behavior. In order to live our best lives, we must wake up to the truth and step into the people that God intended us to be.
Anthony DeMello was a Jesuit priest known throughout the world for his writings and spiritual conferences. He died suddenly in 1987. Charles Osgood, long-time broadcaster on CBS radio and television sums up this book as, “This is your wake up call.” I would agree.
What is spiritual direction and what is a spiritual director? I had never heard these terms before until a few years ago. My friend Karen and I share the same philosophy that if we hear about something multiple times in a week, whether it’s a recommended book, movie or advice, that we need to pay attention. Well, this spiritual direction and spiritual director topic popped up everywhere!
One of my friends was retiring. He held an executive position within the Presbyterian Church. At a reception I asked him what he would be doing once he retired and he told me that he wanted to spend more time as a spiritual director. I asked him what that meant and he explained what spiritual direction was, but the room was noisy and we were forced to cut the conversation short to get to choir practice. I didn’t quite grasp the meaning and quite frankly, forgot about it.
That weekend Robert and I took a trip to Wisconsin to visit friends of ours. I showed them my website and what I was doing and Dave said, “You need a spiritual director.” Continue reading
I have joined the ranks of baby boomers dealing with aging parents. My son is off to college, I’ve started my own, growing consulting business and was looking forward to unbridled freedom. Instead, I am experiencing the unexpected demands that come with taking care of a parent.
I know that I am not alone, because my friends are all dealing with providing for their parents in some way.
More than ever, stressful times call for leaning on God for peace and guidance, and what I call Divine time management.
Here’s what I mean…..
Yesterday I wrote about The Law of Attraction and the Christian Faith Part I where I shared a true story that happened to me when I attracted a past connection into my life.
I wrapped up that first post by saying that there were two caveats with the asking and receiving process.
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
We also need to believe. In the book of Matthew, a man approached Jesus regarding his son. He had first taken his son to his disciples to heal him, but they couldn’t do it. Jesus was, let’s say, a little upset. He rebuked the demon and healed the boy.
There’s been a lot of buzz within the last decade about The Law of Attraction. Classes, books, workshops, even a movie have been created to teach people how to harness this law. The Law of Attraction states that what you put your attention on you can manifest into being. By asking and believing you are supposed to receive. The outcome can be good or bad, by the way, depending what you truly believe consciously and unconsciously. But how do you use The Law of Attraction in the Christian faith?
Hmmm, where I have heard those words before? Asking, believing and receiving are words found in a book published way before the popular book, The Secret, was published that defines The Law of Attraction. Matthew chapter seven and verses seven and eight come to mind:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
The Law of Attraction works as sure as another law, the Law of Gravity. Don’t go stepping off a ladder or from a high place because you will hit the ground. God created all of the laws of the universe.
I have found that whenever I have put my attention on something, especially if I am deeply emotional about it, I attract what I am thinking about into my life. Let me share a funny, true story of how The Law of Attraction can work. This law works not only in the big things in our lives, but in the little things too.
Perhaps you’ve heard this joke before, but it bears repeating even if you have.
A town was being pelted by rain. The local river was in danger of flooding so the authorities went door to door to tell the inhabitants that they needed to grab their belongings, leave and move to higher ground.
One gentleman was indignant and refused to leave. He told the officers, “God will take care of me.” After trying to convince the man that he had to leave, to no avail, the officers left.
Soon the water was coming fast and furious and the water began flooding over the gentleman’s porch. Several of the local neighbors came by in their row boat and urged him to get in the boat. The man refused saying, “God will take care of me.”
Quickly the water rose up to the man’s roof. He climbed to the top of his house in order to escape the rising waters. A helicopter came by and urged the man to grab hold of the ladder. The man refused saying, “God will take care of me.”
I have to admit that I struggle as I get older with realizing the concept of having less time than in my youth. There are so many things that I want to do. Because I have hit the over half-way mark in my life, I feel a sense of urgency in wanting everything NOW!
The Psalmist says, “Be still and know that I am God.” And James says, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” So I struggle with being still and doing.
It will be two years since I left the corporate rat race to forge my own entrepreneurial path. The plan had been for my husband to keep working for the next two to five years as I got my business going. As what happens so many times, our plans are not what God has in mind.
On New Year’s Eve my husband’s employer told him that his position had been eliminated. Happy New Year! When he came home and told me the news prior to us fixing dinner that evening, my initial reaction was overwhelming sadness. Our plans had not worked out. I wanted to be hysterical and think of how awful it was, but those feelings and thoughts never came. Deep down I felt a peace about the situation.
If you’ve ever attended Sunday school as a kid, or if you are familiar at all with the Bible, surely you’ve heard the story of Moses and the burning bush. God talks to Moses literally through a burning bush on the side of a mountain and tells Moses the next steps that he needs to take. I have often prayed for God to be so clear and dramatic when sometimes desperately seeking answers.
As I continue to seek God’s direction in my life, he is guiding me. In many cases, the answers are subtle, yet also in many cases, the answers and outcome are truly amazing. While there have been no burning bushes, there have certainly been many doors slammed and others opened. Many, who I call “angels”, came to my aid when I needed help.
In our society there has been an increasingly popular “spirituality” movement. Psychic readings, spiritual teachers and channeling abound. I believe the reason for this popularity is that we all want answers. We want the burning bush. We want to know what the future holds. Living a guided life, a life of faith, means living without being able to see our future – yet trusting that God has our future in his hands. Our faith comes ultimately from what is not seen.
In seeking a life guided by God, I have experienced the most profound understanding of God’s love for me after venting raw emotions. Take for example last summer going into the fall.
I had to have some surgery done on an out-patient basis. Everything went well and I was feeling good by the fifth day until I received a phone call. It was my eighty-eight year old mother telling me that she had fallen and had broken her wrist. I wasn’t supposed to drive and the good news was, my husband, Robert, was at a rare meeting in town as opposed to being sixty miles away on a typical work day. We picked her up and took her to the emergency room. More good news was that she had broken the left wrist and she is right handed. That would be the end of the good news.
Four weeks later I received a call that my brother had collapsed on the running trail and needed to have open-heart surgery. One week after that announcement, my mother called telling me that she fell and had broken the other wrist. (No wonder I hate answering the telephone at home!)
My mother is fortunate to be healthy and lives on her own. But with two broken wrists, arrangements needed to be made to put her in a care facility until she could use her arms again. So, for weeks I shuffled back and forth, doing laundry, visiting her, sometimes taking her meals, and making sure she was getting the care she needed. During this time I was also trying to launch a business.
Thank goodness I had my constant companion of ten years, Duffy the Golden Retriever. After coming home from running all of the day’s errands, I would be physically and mentally exhausted. Duffy would always burst through the door to greet me with tail wagging and full of adoring love and affection. He had gotten me through the most difficult times of my life and this was ranked up there as one of the worst.
My brother came through the surgery with flying colors. After repeated visits to the nursing home, I was more confident that Mom was being taken care of and she was doing as well as could be expected. Things were starting to look up – that is until Halloween.
From a weather standpoint, It was one of the most beautiful days ever. But at 11PM that night, Duffy got sick and wanted to go outside. He tried to throw up and couldn’t. When he came in, he had doubled in size. I called the animal hospital emergency room and they told me to get him in right away – that his stomach had turned. Robert and I raced the five minutes to the hospital. I wasn’t crying, I was wailing. We got Duffy comfortable and were given the options. We decided to do everything to save him which would mean surgery.
I was fortunate to see him. Duffy had been sedated and wasn’t suffering anymore and he recognized me. I got to say good-bye. I knew in my heart that he wasn’t going to pull through. The doctor said they would call us in a few hours.
At this time it was well past midnight. We drove home and I chose to wait out the time on the patio looking up at the stars. I was SO angry with God. I know that I pleaded for God to save him, but I knew given Duffy’s age that it was probably hopeless. As the hours ticked on, I knew that too much time was going by without a phone call. I yelled. I screamed. I shouted. How could God take Duffy away from me now after all that I had been through? Why of all times now? I don’t ever remember being so angry at God.
It was 4:00AM by the time the doctors called. They discovered that Duffy had cancer of the liver when they did the surgery. He was not responding well. We had to make the decision to put him to sleep.
After my anger with God, the next day I realized that God is a God of mercy. The situation and the alternatives became clear to me. Duffy had cancer. He had been slowing down on our walks and was starting to look old and thin. I could tell that something was wrong. With being ten years old, he was already within the standard 9-12 Golden life cycle. If he had lived, he would have suffered as the cancer would continue to take its toll. I would have never been able to watch him suffer.
That Halloween, Duffy had the perfect day. He spent the day doing what he loved the most – being with his family, walking and meeting people. When it’s our time, we should all have such a perfect day.
I believe that God knows what is best for us. I also believe that God wants us to be real with him. That night on the patio, I was very real. These verses illustrate this well taken from Revelation 3:15 & 16:
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Perhaps you are angry at God for something that has happened in your life. It’s okay to be angry with God, he can take it.