Lately I’ve been having a lot of “Aha” moments, but they are always the same, as if on repeat. I obviously don’t have this concept very well mastered or the universe wouldn’t be constantly reminding me. I can easily imagine God and all his angels saying, “Seriously? This chick is a slow learner! No wonder she always prays for us to hit her over the head with a 2×4 if we want her to pay attention.” But once deeply ingrained in a belief, it can be dang hard to break the thought process even if the alternative mindset is slapping you in the face. Let’s see if you can relate to any of this.
Let me take you back to middle school, some 30+ years ago. Part of my experience taught me that joy came through people and that people would only give you the time of day if you wore fancy clothes, pretty hair, and lived in nice houses. There is some truth to the whole statement unfortunately. The key is to find the people that give you joy, but recognize they’re rarely the ones who only speak with you depending upon your external appearance. I didn’t understand that at the time and therefore I made a decision to figure out how to have the right life so I could have friends and be loved.
I am a solid Type A personality, so I rarely attempt anything without striving for the highest level of success. This matter was no different. Most reach for great success to lay claim to financial security, and so do I, but a huge second has been finding acceptance. It never once dawned on me that I was lovable without the success, or that I was even still living under this umbrella of required achievement, until recently. I have been doing it for so long it became second nature, like breathing. Get up and do!
The only problem is I never did find joy or very many true friendships. So, one day in 2015 I woke up and decided to take a different angle. I started to attend a church that really resonated with me and they talked a lot about Jesus. I grew up strict Catholic, so it wasn’t like it was the first I’d heard, but for all those years I never understood why they thought he was so special. Let’s face it, God created the universe. What’s up with Jesus being so important. I had lunch with my pastor and proposed this question. I now look back in awe and wonder of what must have been going through his mind. Let me tell you, the man had some serious self control because I don’t remember him so much as wincing. I’m sure it made for some great dinner time discussion! At any rate, I left that lunch on a mission to figure out if there was something to this idea of placing your life in God’s hands, and giving praise and glory to all that I do and have. It seemed like people who had this mastered were pretty happy!
There have been many miracles and aha moments since that day but the one I love the most is his ability to awaken me to the realization that I didn’t love myself. What? Of course I love me. What’s not to love? I wake up everyday and push hard. That’s the requirement right? Be a useful member of society and earn respect. People will love me and therefore I must love myself. That was my thought process. My theory was wrong. The problem was my lifetime experience of religion never taught me that God was the true source of love and that his love was unconditional and everlasting. End of story. If he loves me, created me out of love, then I am love and I am loved. I am sure I heard it a time or two, but I never grasped the concept. This past December 26th, he lifted the final thorn from my heart and showed me. I won’t get into detail, but I left the radical experience feeling as alive as ever, filled with his love and the word FREEDOM racing through my mind. I could hardly believe how I felt. The experience was so mind blowing, I have since completely laid to rest the idea that joy comes from seeking value in the doing.
Does this resonate? I only ask because I just watched a sermon from a pastor who spoke along the same lines about himself. I figure if a pastor and an executive both experience this, chances are many are running around in a myth that they already love themselves. It’s easy to make this assumption when you wake up every day and achieve the necessary to do list like a champ. You must be awesome, love yourself and others’ must love you too!
Here’s the problem with this mentality. Your happiness and contentment over your life in general, your work and your family can begin to feel as if you are under attack by tiny needles prickling at your heart every day, and before you know it they add up to a giant hole. Why? Because when we fall into a place where we just do, particularly to acquire approval and please people for love and affection, we tend to become disconnected to what our authentic selves actually thirsts for, and the longer we are in the desert the closer we are to dying inside.
Many walk around recognizing that something is amiss, but uncertain what, or where to look. We seek out answers in the form of alcohol, eating, creating another success, buying things, and all of these have a temporary high. Some of us get addicted to the high and never stop long enough to discover the real truth to our discontent. Is what we are doing true to our nature and God’s plan over our life? Are we ever brave enough to let go of everything we think we know, hand over a little (or a lot) of control to God and ask him what does he think about where we should be using our talents and abilities? In my opinion, this requires letting go of what we thought we wanted for our life and our fear of judgment over what other’s expect of us.
Here’s the way I look at this now. Where do I find the greatest love and peace of all? In God. If that is truth, then who should I be worried about approving of my ways? God, of course. The other people around me can’t give me resurrection, salvation, a new house, the life of my dreams, more kids, etc, etc. They can’t give me anything. But, God can give me everything. So, why not stop the crash course of extreme doing and open our hands to Gods mission for our lives. If he created the universe, shouldn’t he be smart enough to not only know where he wants me, but be able to connect me with everything I need to make it happen? If I am doing what I was meant to do, and being who I was meant to be, won’t I find joy, peace and happiness? YES! Yes I will and so will you!
I have handed over the reigns in so many greater ways since December 26th. He has in turn opened more doors than I know what to do with, and I will tell you none of them are particularly comfortable. But, I know with all my heart, they will provide me with everything I need and more. They will provide me with far more than all the doing I could have done by myself in a lifetime. And, so far, I am loving every minute of it! If you have found yourself on a hamster wheel of doing with little fulfillment, joy, peace and happiness, perhaps it’s your time to see if there is something to this “let go and let God” theory. Don’t forget, LET GO means LET GO, completely.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.[a]
Pursue God and you can be sure you are pursuing the answers to your dreams!