stumbling over my ego and pride

My path is lost; my wandering steps do stray;
I cannot safely go, nor safely stay;
whom should I see but Thee, my Path, my Way?
Francis Quarles (1592-1644), Why dost thou shade thy lovely face?

I am too easily discouraged on this path I walk. I let the struggles of day-to-day life get me down and sometimes I forget to pick myself up and look toward God. Sometimes I am unable to pick myself up and look toward God. Sometimes I need God to send someone to help me. Will I be willing to let them help when they arrive?

My own self-sufficiency is detrimental to my spirit and soul at times. I rely too heavily on my own survival skills to sometimes make room for God’s blessings. And, when I am actually wanting God to bless me it never happens when or how I want it. To go one step further, when God is wanting to bless me with whatever I need at the time (not what I think I need – there is a difference), am I willing to accept it or have I missed His blessing because it wasn’t what I wanted, when I wanted or how I wanted?

The immediate answer that pops into my head is “yes.” Yes, I have missed God’s blessing on my life because I wasn’t ready to receive it. I have no actual proof of this, only supposition. And faith. I am learning to understand His ways a little bit better and must continually be reminded that His timing is not my timing. God works on an eternal scale, whereas I work on a minute-by-minute, day-by-day scale.

As I walk upon my spiritual path I have to learn to trust God that He will provide what I need when I need it and not a moment before. And it is the waiting that is hard. Along with the accepting it. I wish I had a anecdote of missing God’s blessing for me because I wasn’t willing but I don’t.

All I can do continue to walk forward, stumbling over my own ego and pride, scrapping my knees on my wants and timing, and slapping at the little doubts flying around in my head and heart. Sometimes standing still also involves moving forward, but doing so with a listening and open heart.

God loves me. I know this. I feel this. I have faith in this. God wants to bless me in ways I know not. I am learning this. I do not yet fully believe it, but I will. Until then, once again, always again, I will rely on my faith in the Beauty and Love of God.

 

 

Stumbling Man by David K. Rubins

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hope, faith, trust

We haven’t yet got eyes that can gaze into all the splendor that God has created,
but we shall get them one day, and that will be the finest fairy tale of them all,
for we shall be in it ourselves.
– Hans Christian Anderson

Hope. That is what I need right now, in this moment, on this dark day. Hope. I need but look to the natural world around me and if I look well enough, I will see Hope.

Faith. That is all I have right now. Faith. That the world will continue to move on. That I will survive this day. That I will make it through my work until I am home again. That I will feel the Presence of God in my life again. Faith.

Trust. That is what I am learning now. To trust in an Unseen God Who is an Unfelt Presence right now. Trust. That I may not know why I am experiencing such darkness (and actually, I do) but that I learn to Trust God will see me through it. Trust.

In the darkest of times, in the most difficult moments of our lives, of my life, it is the time to learn valuable lessons. It is a time to learn that hope is not a just a word on a sign posted on someone’s blog or page or website. Hope is just not a word on a t-shirt or greeting card. Hope is, as Emily Dickinson put it, “the thing with feathers that perches on your soul.” It is that ineffable thing that keeps me going when time is tough. It is that dream that I will one day come out of this dark valley and into the light. It is, as Elton John put it, “a candle in the wind.” That untouchable essence in my heart that tells me that the storm may rage within and without but I can and will go on. Hope is the stuff dreams are made of. Hope is the future, whether it is a minute from now or ten years or ten decades from now.

It is a time to learn that faith is not just a term to be bandied about by religious types and believers in blogs and behind pulpits that say “‘Just believe! Just have faith! All will be well with your soul and your life if you just have faith!” Faith is not something that is served up only on Sundays and Easter and Christmas. Faith is not worn on the bumper sticker of my car. Faith is not something I claim to have simply because I’m a white protestant female. I don’t have faith only because I was christened as a Methodist as an infant or baptized as a Baptist or confirmed as an Episcopalian as an adult. Faith is a part of my very being, it is ingrained in me so deeply that I am unable to separate it from my soul – nor would I want to.

Faith is believing in an Unseen God that the world denies. Faith is knowing in my heart what my head refuses to believe. It is what I hold on to when my feelings run amuck and me into the ground. It is my lifeline and my lifeboat when the world around me is shaken. It is what tells me know matter what – that NO MATTER WHAT – God loves me, cares for me and watches over me until I am back in His Divine Presence.

It is time to learn that trusting God is not something to be undertaken lightly or frivolously. Trusting in God means I trust him with my life, my future, my now and my past. Trust means I let go of past grudges and hurts. It means I let go of my future and give it to God. It means I let go of my present and believe God will see me through. Trust means dying to my desires and my wishes and my wants and taking up what God wants me to do. Trust means letting go of me completely and holding on to God.

I can’t learn these lessons in the heady days of joy and celebration. These are lessons to be learned in the dark days of struggle. Now, if only I can learn them…

 

Hope is the Thing with Feathers by GH Yeoh

relying on grace and mercy

Let me dwell in the light of thine eyes, let me find a sweet home in thy heart!
For my soul like a wild bird flies, to linger wherever thou art –
as night gives place to the day and darkness before the sun flies.
So my sorrows will all melt away, when I live in the light of thine eyes.

So again I face another day of not fulfilling my promise as a daughter of God. Again I face another day of miserable failures and mistakes. Again I must go back to the altar and confess the errors of my ways and of not listening to God.

All the sweet music I listen to and the prayers I have prayed seem to have done me no good. Each morning I get up and I pray for guidance and wisdom and to let the Grace and Love and Power of God to flow through me to touch the lives of others and each morning I wake up only to find I have failed God and myself once again.

Some days I think, ‘Why bother? Why pray again for God’s grace? I’m only going to blow it again.’ And then I stir myself from my self-imposed depression and say again, yes, again,

“Help me, O God, to love You, to love myself
and to love others today.
Help me, O God to show myself the same mercy
You have shown me so often.
Help me, O God to show everyone
You place in my path this day that same mercy.
Whether I am successful or even if I fail,
Help me still, O God to stay close to you today.”

I am in the midst of a struggle that has been going on since the dawn of humankind – or at least since the Fall of Man. Every day we hope for the best and in the evening count our losses and our successes. There is something hardwired in our brains that tells us to focus on the negative rather than the positive, at least for most people I suspect. Perhaps we are wired that way out of self preservation, to keep ourselves safe from making the same mistakes like not eating the pretty Technicolor frogs in the rainforest.

The struggle goes on day after day after day but the Beauty in all this ugly is that God remains the same. God created humans and He understands our foibles. Why He created us with so many flaws I’ll never know. But He did and we are shown much Grace and Mercy, most of it completely undeserved.

And it is that Grace and Mercy I rely on as I throw myself at the feet of the Beloved each day. Grace and Mercy undeserved yet freely given by Someone Who knows me and loves me best.

By faith I accept these things and trust in their truth. In faith I go through my day, hoping for the best, but not surprised at all when I fail.

 

 

Washing of the Feet, Leszek Forczek