Please use this thread to discuss the Second Consent.
Phil, God did it again he is one step ahead of me and you. I mentioned trust last night as being the second part of the tripod of my spiritiality. I'll wait to give the next one so I don't goof up anyone's thoughts . But without the trust we are nowher. I think that is the only thing that has given me the graces to on The Lord has always been there . I just know it I just trust no if an or but... Ther are no doubts.. Oh I had my dark nights and long deserts but still struggled to trust It has been a grace that took me many years to become fully aware of and to trust myself. The whole process of discernment and wonderning if God could really love me this much to do this for me. Am I good enough How is it possible.The Joy of Knowing you are loved for who you are unconditionally is one of the greatest revealtions that trust brings about in your relationship w/ God. You can learn to deal w/ all your discrepanies because God loves you anyway Isn't it grand. If we would only trust. I remember when my son was about 2 1/2 yrs old and he went through his daily list of who loved him and then he got to God and then he said.... But Jesus MOM He loves me so much he doesn't fit inside me Isn't that great MOM... Talk about trust
I love the scripture quoted by Phil about "perfect love casting out fear." I cling to it often and I want to take comfort from it. But I run into a snag sometimes. It has to do with the verse right before.(vs.17) If I hear it right, I get the idea that the reason for us not to be afraid is that we have "boldness on the day of judgement." Why can we be so bold? Well, it's "because as he (Jesus) is, so we are in this world." Here's my problem. I'm not there yet. I'm not "as Jesus is in this world." I'm more like the old me in many ways rather than the new me in Christ. I'm not even close to being the self-giving lover that Jesus was in this world. That's why I am still fearful. I'm not so fearful of God's judgement any more. I figure that if I can't rely fully on grace then I'm cooked anyway. But I am afraid of a lot of other things. Like losing myself... or at least the self I always thought myself to be. Does this register with anyone else?
It does register. Losing the old self to Christ is like a death and a birth. I find that I am not fearful of losing my old self but through the process of transformation, transformation to a new self in Christ there is a sense of emptiness...empty spaces until the new is revealed to us.
Those empty spaces can feel kind of dreary and it is wehn we get tempted to go back.
That's all for now.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by DannyG:
I love the scripture quoted by Phil about "perfect love casting out fear."
When I was on a Retreat a while back, that was the Scripture verse we held in mind during meditation. I was quietly holding myself open to receive from God the love that casts out all fear. Suddenly I heard His voice clear in my mind, "I love you."
It shattered me.
I spent the next 20 minutes wrenching inside and sobbing, unheard by anyone. When I came out of it my nose had left a long stream of the evidence of where I had been.
I think I cried the rest of the night long after we had retired. I didn't know why I was crying. I think a great deal of pain was being released and healed.
"Perfect love casts out fear." It casts out a lot more than fear. His perfect Love...we are loved by perfect Love. And coming into that Presence casts out fear or anything else that doesn't belong in us as children of God.
I find when I feel fearful I remember that moment, and that memory casts out all feelings of fear that would try and grip my heart and mind. Just the memory of God loving me. Thats more powerful than anything else.
Thanks for listening.
Thanks for your sharing Dhyana and Renee. I've been thinking about Phil's request to examine the many ways we are caught up in the "I'll be okay when... way of living. I realize I do this in a very subtle way. I find deep rest in prayer and silence before God and in those moments I'm confident that in fact "I'm okay" right now. Side note: I started to respond to this question with-- I'll be okay when finally can I stop asking if I'm really okay or not -- partially true but upside down and backward! Anyway, I find deep rest in God there in those moments only to see that most of my uneasiness comes from my contact with other people. Being likable in their eyes has always been way too important. And I can see other people's opinions of me fading in importance as who I am in Christ moves to the foreground. Ah but living there...staying there... abiding there... that's the tough part!
Firstly, thank you to all who are sharing; it is so enriching to listen to you all and you give me so much to think about.
Today we read about dealing with situational fear. This is my big problem - " waiting on God to provide what is needed and even to help you with your planning and acting". I find it so difficult to stop thinking about situations that are far from as they should be. I think it's the waiting that gets me! Maybe I just don't 'listen' enough.
I am off on a retreat and will take all of you with me in prayer. Have a good week. God bless.
It frequently happens in spiritual direction that the directee feels that God has let him/her down. They're disappointed that God didn't come through with a healing, or to provide a better job, faith for their children, etc. Eventually, I raise the question: What do you think you have a right to expect from God? The question often stops them short, provoking deeper reflection and discussion in our session.
It's not an easy question to answer, is it? The sessions for this consent have tried to say something about that, but I'm wondering where some of you are with this? How would you answer the question? What do you think you have a right to expect from God?
Well, that is quite the question, isn't it? What do we have the right to expect from God?
I have given this some deep thought and meditation, and have come up with only one word...
I believe that we have a right to expect God to be steadfast, even when we are not. that gives me comfort to know that even when I wander away from Him, which I am prone to do from time to time (aren't we all?) I know that He is steadfast and faithful and will always be there for me when I repent and return to His side.
I would love to hear what others have answered to this question.
I too have been thinking about Phil's question, which I think is an excellent one. I don't know that I have the "right" to expect anything from God. Maybe I just don't like the word "right", because when I start thinking I have a right to something, I become demanding of it. I'd much rather look at what God gives as gifts or privileges. But on the other hand, I think that because God is faithful, God will do what He promises. So what I hear myself called to as I think about this question is to listen (or rather TRY to listen) to what God says, and accept that God will fulfill His words and His promises. But "expecting" can become a problem too, because it causes me to imagine how God will do what I understand His word to say He'll do, and then I'm likely to get upset when things don't work out according to my expectations, which I think I have a right to! So maybe I just need to be in a constant listening/discerning/following attitude in each moment, and respond to what I think God is saying in that moment, realizing that I could be wrong, or could only be seeing a small part of the big picture. Just the thoughts that came to me as I pondered the question.
Good start on replying to the question I asked, Peggy and suep. I used the language of "rights" and "expectations" because it seems that we often assume such attitudes before God, and are thus disappointed when our expectations aren't met. Also, there are all these teachers now stating that God promises us prosperity, health, answers to our prayers, and so forth. If we buy into this, then we could easily assume an attitude of expectancy for these rewards.
I'm not comfortable with the language of "rights" before God, but it's not totally off-base, considering the covenantal nature of our relationship with God. God does bring certain promises to the covenant, and so it's not totally inappropriate to say that we can count on God to be faithful to these. I'm not hearing prosperity, health, etc. in those promises, however. Sue mentions steadfastness, and the sessions I emailed out indicated my response -- namely, that God's promise is to be with us, loving us, and providing what we need that we might live in a covenant of love with God. Is this what God's providential care means to you?
Hi! I'm falling a little behind but do hope to catch up! What do I expect from God? I agree totally that we have the right to expect Him to keep His promises. If I didn't expect that of Him I would have been totally lost a long time ago. I have the right to expect that He will be the Father to me that He was to Jesus. I feel I have the right to expect that He is truly the God that Jesus portrayed Him to be, and not some impersonal Loving Force that many are believing today. I have the right to expect of God that He is true, and perfect, and that He will lead me through the maze.
What do you think you have a right to expect from God?
At one time I would have answered this very simply: I can expect (at the very minimum) that God will be with me in whatever circumstance I find myself in.
Is this supposed to satisfy me? KNOWING that he is with me, but not necessarily seeing any evidence of it? Of course it's possible that there IS evidence and I'm just not seeing/looking for it in the right way/place.
When I was on a retreat a few years back, my director said that I had a right to ask God for help in difficult situations. I should say, "OK, God, you put me in this difficult situation, now I need your help with it."
I think that I often ask God to change the situation, rather than asking for his help living with it. I forget to pray in that way.
Just last week I was doing some writing in preparation for a spiritual direction meeting. And I was talking about my mom (who is 90) and how my relationship with her right now is my greatest challenge. And as I'm writing, it occurs to me that I haven't prayed about this...haven't asked for any help with it. Duh!! Why not? I guess I'm just not used to praying in that way.
Soooo....the next day I do some praying about my mom. I don't ask God to fix her, but instead I ask for help in the situation....to help me to feel more positively towards her (she is very negative), and to help me in my relationship with her.
Soooo....the NEXT day I got to adoration, to do my hour, and there, right on top, in the middle of the table where the reading materials are, is a book called Aging Parents: How to Understand and Help Them.
I can really identify with Anne's answer here. I too find its a lot easier on me (my ego) to pray for God to change my situation than it is to pray for God to change me. I sometimes wonder if God only changes my situations when changing it will accomplish some personal Christlike transformation in me. Otherwise he's just fixing a problem not a person. I think that takes us back to God's providential care... doesn't it?
I am most often thinking that my prayers are to change the outcome of something as if I really know how that outcome should be. My experience of seeing things through to that outcome has almost always proven to be wrong. More often than not, I see a negative outcome with something I am struggling through. Only to discover when I am through it, it was not near as bad. It is so easy to see this when I an not struggling. It is also very easy to see that my prayers should be to change my willingness to accept what is going on to change me not God. Again, it becomes very clear when things are going well.
I had a Jewish friend, now a Rabbi who shared with me a way of prayer that he said Jewish people employ when dealing with God sometimes. I am not a scholar on this but it was kind of an argument, an
anger towards God about an injustice. The teaching
was that people have a responsibility to stand up to God when there is an injustice, when we feel that God has broken a promise.
I sometimes feel that way. I feel that way more about others,,that they have a right to be freed from unnecessary human suffering. My responsibility to yell out to God about this is my God given right. It is a gift.
One will notice many times in Scripture a "standing up to God" to provide for God's people, in some manner. Abraham comes to mind, as does Moses, and certainly the Psalmist. At times they almost seem to be "wrangling" with God, as though to cajole from God something that God doesn't really want to give. A few examples from the life of Jesus come to mind as well -- like his cure of the daughter of the Syro-Phoenecian woman ("It is not right to give to the dogs . . .")
One place I really find God providing is with respect to service, or ministry. We're just beginning to reflect on the consent to loving service, so you might keep that in mind. It seems that when God calls us to a particular service, we are given what we need to provide that -- be it health, money, support, buildings, etc. The focus needs to be kept on providing the service, however. As soon as we turn it to ourselves, the provision seems to dry up.
E.g., I recall a time in 1987/88 when I was self-employed, doing retreats and workshops around the country, spiritual direction -- all of what I'm doing now, but without the security of a regular paycheck. We had three small children at home, so we needed so much money a month for things to work out. There wasn't much of that, but usually enough, so I kept going. One dry stretch almost wiped us out, however, and I remember stopping into chapel to pray about it. "OK, Lord, this is it. No money, no ministry. I'll have to cut back now and get a 'real job' to just bring in some income." Those were the sentiments, if not my actual words. I stayed awhile for quiet prayer and felt strangely reassured. When I got home, there was a check for $1,000 in the mail, as one of my books had made a book club and my publisher had passed along a "bonus." It got us through the month, and things kept going that way until I was finally asked to join the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, KS. in 1990. I ministered there until 1997 and have been at Heartland Center for Spirituality in Great Bend, KS since.
I Sing to Your Beauty
Deep within you, there is a treasure
waiting to be discovered
and longing to be found.
Hidden within the rhythm
of your heart is a source of power,
glowing with the light of Love.
drawing you, calling to you
in a voice that feels so like your own.
It moves and stirs and longs to born,
leaping in joy when love comes near!
Answer the inner music
pouring through your heart.
Run to the arms that are open
and waiting for you.
Fly to the love you harbor and protect
in the secret places of your soul.
The riches of Solomon,
the burning bush of Moses,
the beauty of Joseph,
the star of David,
the secrets of the Holy Grail,
the Light of Christ,
and the wild and wonderful
freedom of Love
will be yours.
Hi, I am Naomi. I have been following the lenten study, and I get lost and don't find my way to the discussion forums, even though I have done these in the past. Reading through them, I was struck with the richness of your sharing, your confessions and your prayer, the honesty, and your support of each other. What a beautiful witness to your faith and love.
I included a poem I wrote called, I Sing to Your Beauty, and I do, I do sing like the psalmist to the beauty of each one of you. I can feel your heart in what you write and share.
The more I bump up against my own limitations and the ways I fall short of my hopes, the more beautiful God becomes, and the surrender seems to give me peace.
Naomi, I found this to be a beautiful statement of the mystical meaning of consenting to God's providential care. Thank you for sharing your poem with us, and for affirmative feedback.
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