Friday, May 28, 2016
What would it be like to simply relax?……
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BREATHING IN – Kelli Sorg, 2016
God desires that our relationship with Him isn’t lived out of a sense of duty as much as a sense of devotion. In other words, God longs for us to long for Him. In the beauty of His presence, we can’t help but find our affections set on God, our hearts captivated by His love. Caught up in the delight of God, powerful feelings of gratitude swell within us and our natural response is worship — words of thanks that roll off the tongue, songs of adoration that spring from the heart, or some other form of praise. When we give back to God, the One who has gifted us with all good things, we reflect His beauty.
— Margaret Feinberg in Pursuing God’s Beauty
Richard Rohr. Radical Grace: People who turn you off, people you’re afraid of, have a message for you. We reject and hate our own faults in others, I’m not saying you have to go be best friends with them, but you should put up your antennae: They’re triggering something within you. You need them. (182)
Kelli: This is one of those counter-cultural places of Jesus’ message. The pop psychology of our culture says to get away from the people who drain your energy, who make you feel uncomfortable or even afraid. No one is saying to consistently put yourself in harm’s way in an abusive situation. God gave you a brain and reason and God expects you to use it. This is more about the people in your social circle who simply get under your skin. Who is it that just irritates the fire out of you, who you dread to see at the door or named on the caller ID? Stop for a moment. That person has something to teach you about yourself, a place to are in bondage to fear or hatred. The things we despise most in other people are the things we despise most in ourselves. It was not accident that Jesus said: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ You can’t love your neighbor unless you love yourself as God loves you. Not many of us have really sunk down into that deep love and grace.
Thomas Keating, Invitation to Love: Thus, the divine plan is to transform human nature into the divine, not by giving it some special role or exceptional powers, but by enabling it to love ordinary life with extraordinary love. (99)
Joan Chittister, The Rule of Benedict: Benedict’s position is both shocking and simple: being sinless is not enough. Being steeped in the mind of God is most important. While we restrain ourselves from harsh speech and bad actions and demands of the flesh and pride of the soul, what is more vital to the fanning of the spiritual fire is to become aware that the God we seek is aware of us. Sanctity, in other words, is not a matter of moral athletics. Sanctity is a conscious relationship with the conscious but invisible God. The theology is an enlivening and liberating one: it is not a matter…of our becoming good enough to gain the God who is somewhere outside of us. It is a matter of gaining the God within, the love of Whom impels us to good. (79-80)
Kelli: What would it be like to simply relax? To live life with all my muscles unclenched, my brain calm? Living life taking in all that’s around me with no regrets and no worries seems to me to be the best way to live. That’s what I preach about. How do I live it? My constant kairos, what God is saying to me about me, is simply to relax. The things in my life that bring me joy are either undiscovered or not practiced for a variety of self-imposed reasons. Nothing that brings me joy and contentment is that extravagant.
Julia Cameron’s version of an “artist’s date’” is simply the intentional doing of what feeds our souls. For me it is singing, writing, sewing, working with dogs and horses, reading a good book….why do I feel that when I do any of those things, I have to make it a group activity or a ministry?
More than any other one phrase Jesus says ‘Don’t be afraid.’ Could he also mean, ‘just relax, I’ve got this’?
These are some things to contemplate today. May we all relax in the present moment, take a deep breath, breathe in grace and breathe out peace.