This past week, I have had a chance to talk with a wide diversity of people with differing attitudes about life. Some of them seem to be living in a garden where life is blooming and others seem to be living in a minefield where they are waiting for the next bomb in life to go off. So where are you living? Are you living in a garden, a minefield, or a prison?
Minefields are loaded with bombs hidden under the terrain. When one steps on a mine, you can be blown up by bombs of worry, doubt, fear, lack, and limitation. Each of these things distracts one from focusing on the abundance of life, from seeing the expansiveness of the universe, and from being in tune with the authentic self. These bombs often have a trigger effect with one setting off the next. As a result, one can become paralyzed and afraid to move in any direction. Each of these things, once they are planted in our spirit, seems to spread and grow. Once we begin worrying about one thing, we not only worry about that one thing, but then we begin to worry about other things. Once we doubt ourselves in one area, we begin to doubt ourselves in another area. Before we know it, we are so focused on trying to trigger new bombs of worry, doubt, fear, lack, and limitation, that one can become paralyzed and not move in any direction.
Making choices or decisions out of fear, worry, doubt or lack, are not decisions that are guided by God or the Spirit. The problem is that for many of us we conform to the ways of the world, rather then be transformed by the examples of those who were sent to teach us and guide us. We can Spirit to order our steps, but then we give into the pressures of the world, walk back into our prison cells, and lock the door behind us. We don’t need jailers to keep us in our cells. We keep ourselves in there.
The good news is that if we are the ones who put ourselves in these jail cells, then we are the ones who can liberate ourselves. We are the ones who can stop the struggles. We are the ones who can stop making decisions out of fear and begin making them out of love. We are the ones who can stop doubting who God created us to be and remember that God will equip us with everything we need to walk in the fullness of the image of God who is love. We have to stop worrying about that which God did not tell us to worry about and remember we have already been given everything we need We have to stop telling ourselves what we can’t do and begin telling ourselves what we can do.
You can’t evolve into the human being that God created you to be while you are still sitting in your jail cell afraid to be transformed, doubting whether you really want to get in touch with the spiritual human being that God created you to be, worrying about how your life might change if you say yes, and telling yourself that you don’t have what it takes to evolve to a higher place of praise, to a higher place of consciousness, to a higher place of self-evolution.
Some of us find it hard to do that work of self-evolution because we are so consumed with worrying about how we are going to pay the bills, are we going to have enough money to buy groceries this week, to keep clothes on my back, or a roof over our head. It is easier to do that self-evolution work, that self-liberating work when those basic survival needs are met. However, we cannot fall into the trap of saying I lack food, I lack clothing, and I lack whatever so I cannot allow God to cultivate me and fertilize me and help me grow. When we do that, then we keep ourselves in our prison cells, rather then walking in our power as co-creator of our lives.
When the external changes, it has the potential to initiate and guide the transformation of your authentic self. But if you wait for the external to change and do nothing, then you are keeping yourself in your prison cell. Rather, then waiting for the parole board to say you can come out of your cell, we should be opening the doors of our cells ourselves. See when you change your internal; you will also influence your external.
One of the things many of us doubt or run from is our own spiritual awakening. Several years ago I began having a recurring dream that I was no longer pastoring in the church I had helped birth. I would wake up in the middle of the night sometimes with tears rolling down my face. I could hear God telling me that I had to leave and let this church go. I fought this dream and God for a long time because I loved that group of people more then they will ever know. Then I decided I could no longer continue to fight God. I wanted to blame everyone else for why I had to leave, but the reality was that the relationship that I had with the church had to die. One night, I found myself having this dream again, but this time I told God that I would resign. Then I began having a different dream and now I am living it. In this new dream, many things were different. I was different. I had a different relationship with myself. I have been having this spiritual reawakening; something in me had to die, so that I could be spiritually reawakened.
Spiritual evolution is an ongoing process as we learn to walk closer with God, breathing God in, and eliminating everything that is not of God. As I breathe in God’s love, grace, mercy, wisdom and compassion, I am also eliminating the cell bars of fear, of doubt, of worry, of lack that have kept me in prison during my life. Those who live in a spiritual garden seem to be more focused on cultivating who they are. They keep fertilizing themselves with the richness and nutrients of the universe. They are focused on expressing life in and through themselves.