Love From Above

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It’s amazing to me that you can hear something repeatedly, but until your heart and mind are open and ready to receive the message, it will be meaningless.  My heart and mind have been open and receptive these past few days, and five messages seem to have lodged firmly in my awareness.

“Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.”

This line from a hymn on Sunday really stood out for me.  It is (at least for me) very easy to pray – just take it all and send it on it’s merry way to God.  He will deal with it.  How very hard it is to wait for the answer—at least the answer you want.  Learning the lesson of patience is such an important component of personal growth.  Just as important is praying for discernment to know the difference between unanswered prayer, prayer answered with “no”, and prayer answered with a different answer than you wanted.  It seems that you need to summon your childlike faith, the patience of a saint, the wisdom on Solomon, and the optimism of Pollyanna to even consider making this request.  This takes “adulting” to a whole new level.

“What is your driving force?”

This was the focus of Chaplain Stanley’s sermon on Sunday.  It is so easy to lose focus of the things that drive our intention/mission/path.  What drives you?  What is your passion?  Sometimes, you have to “do” things that may not necessarily be your passion – but that will help you pursue that passion.  Do you have well-defined goals?  Or are you just getting up in the morning because you can’t lie in bed any longer?  Then wander aimlessly through the day until you can crawl back in bed again?  Okay, so we probably all have those days once in a while – but that should be the very rare occasion.  Are you excited about life?  If not, why?  You deserve to be a joy-filled explorer in hot pursuit of exciting things – chasing that which drives you.  Yes.  You.  You are worthy – but you have to take action.  Do more than just strategize about “some day”.  Reacquaint yourself with your dreams (no matter how outlandish they may seem).  Take at least one small step in the direction of achieving them.  Get up off that couch, out of that bed, lace up your shoes, and begin.  Because once that first step is taken, you are that much closer.  The second step is a little easier and moves you just a tad closer.  Keep repeating the process, and remember that a step is movement – even if not forward.  Newton’s Laws of Motion apply!

“Your word is your bond.”

 My daughter gave me a journal for Christmas.  It was supposed to be used for 108 days.  Honestly, I have never read something so intense.  There is no way I will finish in 108 days, and even when I reach the last page, I will be able to start at the beginning and not read it the same.  Right now, I am in a section about agreements.  Specifically, agreements with yourself.

How do you feel when you promise someone something, and then fail to deliver?  How do you feel when someone does that to you?  Personally, (and predictably) – I feel let down, deserted, like I was not good enough, and a definite lack of trust in that person.  I know that disappointments are bound to happen – we are all human.  But this experience has taught me to be careful with my words and promises to others.

So now, the really tough question.  What happens when you fail to deliver on your promises to yourself?  For me – disappointed in myself, not good enough – not worthy, not trusting myself to set and accomplish goals.  Didn’t realize this much until working through this question in the journal.  Lesson learned:  Not only to others – but in promises/goals I make for myself – choose them carefully and be ready to invest in them fully.  Keep in mind that I am human, not perfect (see below), and be gentle with myself when disappointment comes.   If it comes from another person – remember that their failure to deliver is not a reflection on my worthiness – rather a reflection of their ability to follow through.

“No one is perfect, don’t hold yourself to perfect standards.”

This is like one of those “duh” realizations.  I trot this statement out so often to others.  Never to myself.  Do I expect everyone/anyone to be perfect?  OF COURSE NOT!  No one is perfect.  Except the feeling that I should be.  How ridiculous is that?  But do I cut myself slack?  Do I remind myself I am not expected to be perfect?  OF COURSE NOT!  Why should I give myself the gentleness and permission to be human and make mistakes, or experience learning opportunities?  Gee whiz – that would be like treating myself with kindness…

Working on this.  Along with the ability to laugh at mistakes and appreciate the learning opportunities.  Working on being able to be curious about what worked well, and what can be changed to move forward.

“It’s okay to ask for help.  AKA be not only a cheerful giver – but a cheerful receiver”

 I think this is closely related to perfectionism.  Another truth I frequently use with others – just not with myself.  We were created to be in community.  Work with others, build them up, let them build us up.  Our strengths and weakness work together to make us better.  Helping others is, if nothing else, an activity that makes you feel good.  Being able to ask for help takes huge courage and bravery.  Offering help is easy – sometimes even selfish (you get the benefit of feeling good).

Receiving help.  Is it easy for you?  If not, why not?  Is it an admission of being human?  Needing help with something?  Kinda destroys the superman/woman image, doesn’t it?  Admitting that we need help is not an admission of weakness or incompetence.  Accepting help doesn’t have to be done grudgingly or in bad temper.  Remember how good it feels to help someone?  Why should you deny someone else that feeling?  Or maybe, accepting help means you are worthy of the attention and compassion of another person?  You can only accept help if you feel you are worthy?

We are called to share the gifts and talents God has blessed us with.  We must also allow others to share their gifts and bless our lives.

Lots of “love from above” when you are able to open your heart and mind to messages.  Many grace lessons this week!

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