Love works on my behalf…

So, I’ve had a couple of bad days – I’m good now but last week – phew!! I was a mess! First my mom went out of town. Since I moved back home (after over 10+ years of living alone) I didn’t realize how quickly I would acclimate to having a housemate. I miss her a lot!! Thursday wasn’t a good day – I was in a terribly foul mood and didn’t sleep well that night.

The next morning, I went to work and had a panic attack. I haven’t had one for many, many years. Not only was I having waves of anxiety flooding my body, but my mind and spirit were at war with one another – my mind was telling me I was having a heart attack; but my spirit was telling me it was anxiety. All through the attack I barely maintained control-  which was necessary because I was at work. At some point fairly early on in the attack (which lasted for over an hour) I turned to God – first by saying my mantra, Psalm 23, and then when I couldn’t remember all of it, I opened the Bible and started reading Psalm 21 and worked my way to Psalm 23. Reading aloud between calls and the playlist of hymns on my phone playing softly in the background, I was able to maintain a semblance of sanity until the attack subsided. Physically I was miserable the rest of the day because of sore tummy muscles (I carry my anxiety and worry in my stomach).

Saturday morning – with little to no sleep – I woke to find two of my three finches dead – which set off another anxiety attack. This time, I was able to let my emotions go – and go they did. In addition to the anxiety, I dumped heaps of guilt on myself for the poor birds’ death. And of course I was guilty! I controlled the universe in which they lived (and died)!  It seems unreasonable to think that now but in the midst of panic and grief, even the most insane things seem rational. (I don’t know why they died – they seemed healthy in the days leading up to their deaths.)

One of the things I’ve gleaned from read Tears to Triumph is that when experiencing emotional pain and you want that pain to not only go away but be healed, the pain, feelings and experiences must be surrendered to God. Now, I don’t know how to do that – and told God so.

Not knowing what to do, I just said the words – “God, I surrender to you this pain, sorrow and guilt.” I didn’t feel any different – still racked with guilt and sorrow. In time, as the anxiety attack subsided and calm came over me, I was able to move on with my day. Throughout the day, however, the guilt and sorrow would resurface and threaten to overwhelm me. I was gently reminded that I had surrendered those emotions and they were in God’s more than capable hands.

Lessons learned during this painful weekend: 1. In the midst of panic, scripture and hymns work to calm the savage beast roaring through my brain and body. 2. Even though I don’t feel immediate relief, any fear-based thought or emotion needs to be surrendered to God – simply by saying those words – “I surrender ( fill in the blank ) to You, Lord.” 3. When those fear-based thoughts resurface – which they inevitably will – Love will remind me I’ve already surrendered those things and to not let them take hold of me again.

Love works on my behalf, fear works against me.

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The never-ending battle

Continuing through Tears to Triumph, I just finished a chapter entitled ‘The Light of Buddha’ and learned (briefly) of Buddha’s Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. To my human mind, those truths seem impossible to not only comprehend but to put into action as well. But perhaps they aren’t meant to be understood in the mind but in the spirit. But then, when I think about, maybe that’s apart of understanding the truths – to realize the humanness of me doesn’t want to understand because if I – the human – understood then I would be held responsible for those truths.

But how do you separate your humanness from the spirit?

I suppose that is what the spiritual journey is about – learning to separate the human from the spirit, allowing the spirit to grow stronger as the human decreases.

All I know right now is I have a long way to go. I also know I am not alone in this journey. Even though it doesn’t feel like it at times, God is with me every step of the way.

Which Path: Easy or Hard?

“Sometimes we have to walk a painful path in order to get to the path’s end, but the experience becomes a holy crucible when we walk with God.” Marianne Williamson, Tears to Triumph

 

Walking the path with God is not the easy path; to walk with Him requires a certain amount of sacrifice of the body and mind. The sacrifice comes in making choices between what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad, and, ultimately, between love and fear.

God is Love and true Love is God. He desires His children to make the choice for what is right, what is good and Love. The humanness of His children find it easier to make the choice for what is wrong, what is bad and fear. Not that they consciously set out to make the choice of bad or wrong – sometimes it’s just the easier path.

Say I am deeply hurt by someone I loved. It is more difficult to choose to forgive and wish them well than it is to be angry, hold a grudge, and curse them. It is easier for me to drive away from the store with an accidentally unpaid for item than it is to go back into the store and pay for it. And one last example, it is far more difficult to hold in my temper and not only show grace and compassion to someone screaming at me and to think grace and compassion than it would be to either unleash a string of expletives in reaction or to think those curses toward that person.

By making the choice to walk my path with God, I learn that God forgives me, doesn’t hold a grudge against me, curse me, provides all that I need, and shows endless grace and compassion for me and with me. And if God does these things for me then I choose to emulate Him as best as I am able, even though I fail miserably on a consistent basis.

Each day is a new day with fresh opportunities to make the choice for God and Love. I don’t think about the obvious fact that I don’t really know what I’m doing half the time and will more than likely make the easier, or wrong, choice at any particular moment. I am learning to forgive myself for my humanness because I am forgiven. And because I am forgiven, I am learning to forgive others for their humanness.