It has been well documented here on this blog, and in the experience of nearly everyone who has made my acquaintance, that I am an over thinker. It is the bane of my existence and the character trait I would most like to discard. Then I worry that I will make a mistake and the whole cycle begins again. But maybe there is hope for me yet.
I referred to this book yesterday, but at that point all I had read was part of the preface. Today I read the first chapter and had my mind blown…in a good way.
First The Bible Then The Victory
As I said yesterday I am going to begin a new morning routine. My day began like most others. I woke up when my body was ready, took care of Maggie’s needs, made my cup of tea and checked text messages received after I went to bed.
Now, on normal mornings all of this would have led to at least an hour on my phone – Instagram, emails and more Instagram (don’t want to miss anything). But this morning, after I checked the family messages I put the phone down and came into my room and randomly opened my Bible.
For several years I was a serious student of the Bible. I even spent a couple of years going to a local Bible College doing in-depth study, going back to original languages to try and discern what God is really saying to us through his human scribes. I earned a teacher’s certificate and thought I might be the next Beth Moore or Joyce Meyers. My head was bigger than my heart and I got brought back down to reality, really, really fast. Pride has a way of doing that to us, doesn’t it?
I tell you that as a preface to what I am about to write next. I am of the firm belief that God’s word is a living entity and He uses it every time we approach Him through His written word. I’m not talking about going looking for evidence to prove our human point of view; rather, when we approach reading scripture with an open mind and heart, there is always something to learn, comfort received, wisdom imparted, and a time of sacred worship. That is what happened to me today.
I allowed the wispy thin pages to flow through my fingers, randomly stopping to find these words staring at me.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change.
There is much more that called out to me today, but I want to focus on this as it ties in with the Victory book.
Change is a part of life. Change is hard and it is scary as it disrupts the flow we have established. Some folks deal better with this change than others. I don’t mind being the one who changes, I just don’t want anyone else to upset my applecart. Hardly fair, but I don’t care.
Then I read Psalm 46:1-2 and realize I have nothing to fear. The only thing to really fear is trying to be in control or being the only thing to fall back on when the world beats me up. If I remember that God is there to care for me, protect me, and give me strength in my times of need, is there any real need to waste time worrying?
The Mystical Victory
James P. Carse, the author of the book, is professor of the history and literature of religion at New York University. He has also taught philosophy and describes himself as an atheist in the classroom, meaning he does not espouse any specific religion or viewpoint. He teaches history and literature of all religions. This knowledge is a significant part of the book. In my days at the Bible College, this book would have likely been discarded as heresy. This mindset is one of the reasons I left. But I digress.
There are beliefs common to most all the major religions and I found significance in the Buddhist concept of samsara, “the state of endless change from which nothing and no one ever escape.” If change is inevitable then for the best quality of life here on earth, we better find a way to deal with it. And for me, as a Christian, Psalm 46 is the key that unlocks the door of my fear and lets it all pour out. I don’t have to keep all that stuff bottled up inside, endlessly stewing over it as I sit in my chair staring into space. No need to be frozen with fear over making a move, taking a risk or just doing something new. If I tend to my spiritual health by getting quiet, reading, praying, worshipping, and listening, then when I do take that step forward, I am protected.
No Protection From Stupid
Now, I know some of you out there are like my husband. Some kind of crazy thing will come to mind and you’ll ask, “So, you think God will protect you if you walk across the freeway…at night…in dark clothes?” Ummmm, no. God gave us a brain for a reason. But, He is there when we are doing what we are put here to do and even when things don’t go as we would like, He has our back. Just keep doing. Keep staying connected. Know others to whom you can be accountable in your journey and He will guide and protect you along this crazy thing called life.
How do you know what you are put here to do? That is a very long conversation. We are all given certain gifts, talents and passions to be used to make this world a better place. I no longer believe there is any one certain thing we are to do for our entire life other than walk humbly with God and love our neighbor as ourselves. For me, there have been several incarnations and several times I independently ran right off the rails.
Our Soul’s Purpose
I firmly believe the first part of my life was to be spent nurturing and caring for children. As a nurse, in a school, and then with my daughter and her children. That season of my life is over. Now what? I’ve been struggling with this for a couple of years. I tried to fit into a changing world and constantly felt out of place. Slowly things began falling into place and then this morning, through sitting quietly, God helped me quickly see what I was slowly learning on my own.
Your hands are my tools. What you create with your hands is my work. Show me through the work of your hands. Do not worry about where you will live, do my work with your hands.
Though I don’t hear an audible voice, these kind of thoughts shoot into my mind in a way that is completely separate from what I was “thinking” about. Today I was practicing meditative breathing when I had these thoughts. As soon as I wrote them down in my Bible and dated the entry, I picked up my sketch book and began recording the ideas for fiber art projects that were coming to me faster than I could draw. They are all based on Psalm 46. The next step…just do it. Get up and go do what I’ve been given to do without thinking about anything more than doing my best. Make the art.
Using the work of my hands to show God to the world. What an amazing job description. I am humbled yet empowered because I know it is God working through me. In the words of Mr. Carse, it is not my ego – the part of me that interacts with the world – it is my soul that will be actively engaged in creating with the Creator.
The End Is Never The End
When we just do what we are given to do, no matter how busy we look, there is a stillness at the center. Our soul is at peace. And that is my wish for you today and always.
Until Monday, keep looking up, embrace today and go find some fun!