Tag Archives: “experimental religion”

Eustress–Living in a Good Whirlwind

Eustress is good stress. The kind that makes you feel alive and alert–excited about life. I’ve been experiencing both kinds of stress lately, but recently have been reveling in the good kind. Aging is not fun, one of my friends recently said, “Aging is not for the faint-hearted,” and I agree, but I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve been having for anything.

I think when you say to God, “Make me know You,” like French renegade– turned devoted priest, Charles de Focauld said, life gets really interesting. And when you’ve told Them (God), “I’m available, use me.” it gets even more wild.

I didn’t say it gets easy. I’ve been through two of the hardest things in my life in the past two months, but what a ride! First was looking at my own deficits, and second was the sweetness of God in helping me face them by sending reinforcements. I wrote about that time before last, “The Sweetness of God” but at that time didn’t know what it was going to ask of me.

It turned into God showing me that what I really needed was to give up my position of insulation and safety with people. I saw that I had situated myself very conveniently to keep people at arms length. I keep so busy with still working a bit and volunteer positions at church and writing the Bible from a cosmic-war perspective that I have no time for real friendship. Or at least very little that doesn’t require much from me. Certainly doesn’t ask for much risk or vulnerability. Wow! And I always thought I was so vulnerable!

It’s easy to be vulnerable with clients, if they want it. There is very little risk, and it usually helps them open up. But God asked me to be a friend. To learn to be a real friend. To make myself available to another person. Whoa! When I thought about it, I panicked! What a shock! It went so deep, and the journaling was so revealing, I was amazed and hurt at what I learned about myself. It brought up twenty lies! False beliefs I held about myself and friendship–stuff that went way back to childhood. Basic, self-worth stuff.

I had nightmares for two nights, and woke up terrified three mornings at just the thought! Then I knew I needed healing–badly! And that is how I knew the friend request really came from God. But how rich and special it has been–all of it, the reality, even the pain of truth, the healing, the vulnerability, even admitting my fear and impoverishment has had a sweetness when received with the same vulnerability and honor in return. It has been one of the major gifts of my life. I am more than grateful.

Who knows what riches They want to give you? Take the risk and ask. I promise you will be delighted in the end. It will be worth it because they love you and are safe, truly. They can be trusted and life will go beyond fulfilling!

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Experiencing God

I’m hesitant to post this because it is so personal. And then I had the thought I’ve posted plenty of negative personal things in he said/she said detail, so why not something positive? You’ll understand after you’ve read it.

So I was on the plane, in the middle seat, flying back from a great sisters’ trip, and decided to journal for my time with God which I’d missed. Our pastor has encouraged us to journal on scripture–especially the ones he is preaching on. We write what God is saying, and then what He is saying to us specifically.  He’s just started a new series on Mark. This is Mark 1:8 “I immerse you in water, but He will immerse you in Holy Spirit.”

“I love the thought of being completely immersed in You, Ruach! (Hebrew for Holy Spirit, pronounced Roo ak.) The closest I have come to realizing it is sitting in Your lap, leaning against Your chest in the morning–I’m just waking up, still sleepy, and snuggled up as I have often seen my daughter’s children do after a nap. I love that loved, relaxed feeling. I want to feel that relaxed, that loved, all the time. I want the love to ooze out of me as Val described her friend.

“I know I’m not that comfortable with people or myself yet, but I’m better. Thank You that at least I can see a bit of improvement. I know You don’t usually let us see our improvement because it doesn’t bode well with us–over time we get careless, thinking we don’t need You. I want to always know I need You, but I want more just to want You, and that precious time with You–want to let You flow through me.

“Make me not have to need people’s feedback and approval. At least this trip I don’t think I gave offense to anyone! Thank you for that. And thank You that the meeting with my nephew and nieces was so special.”

And He answered!

“I am so proud of you, and so grateful for your heart. You wanted to share your love–My love–with others in getting them all together. I know that. And I did let you see that I understood your motive by inspiring the writing of that text to C.”

Thank You.

“You are so welcome My Love.”

You see why I was hesitant to share it. But if it helps just one person open up to God in experimental, experiential relationship, then it is worth it. He will be just as affirming, sweet and gentle with you too.

The only religion worth anything is a relationship with God that is real to you experientially.

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Experimental Freedom

I read the term “experimental religion” once and was intrigued. But it was years before I began to practice it. I had prioritized relationship to God–well, at least the discipline of it–a good habit, but fairly rigid. I’ve written about making God real–the practice has been interesting and rich. Recently, it’s gone to a new level.

I was challenged by Oswald Chambers idea of 1 in 60: that is, taking 60 seconds of every hour to celebrate who you are. More precisely, whose you are–God’s. It is very hard to train yourself to do that every hour, even asking for help. So I decided to use my smart phone for something smart. I set it to go off with these tinkling celestial-sounding chimes every hour to remind me.

It has been great! I love the interruption, and if I’m not in the middle of something with another person, I let it go for what seems like a whole minute while I am articulating thanks. Then I touch the screen to see if it has been a minute. All my alarms are set to go off at 59 past the hour, so it is very easy to see when the minute is up.

Even if you are talking to someone you can shoot up thanks. And even if I am on the phone, I can hear the faintest background chime and I know.

It was funny the first time it went off, I thought where is that chime coming from? My neighbor must have gotten new wind chimes. Then I discovered it was my phone’s alarm. I had already forgotten! Now it’s been a week and so far I love the interruption!

Yesterday my grandson and I were on the phone. He had just gotten his first phone for graduation to middle school and so called me. We talked 45 minutes and one thing was about his moving up to big church from kid’s class. He admitted he was kind of bored, and then said they had told him what he already knew–you need a relationship with God, but didn’t tell him how to do it.

I shared about setting my alarm and told him it’s hard for God or people to say do this or that because then it becomes the only thing, rigid, a formula, a legality.

Would we tell people how to have a relationship with a person? Some of us could use that instruction, but it isn’t the way it is. Usually, you meet someone, you are attracted to him or her, you share something in common, one of you pursues the other, you make time to be with them, and then more time to be with them with more sharing of yourself. The more fulfilling the relationship is the more time you make for the other.

So it would seem that a relationship with God would follow a similar path. He is always seeking us. Once we see Him and are attracted to His personality or character, we begin to give Him a little space in our heads-a little time. Then as we get to know Him, we are drawn to more time, and as we are fulfilled, we make more time–we may fall in love—hopefully that is where it goes. There is no one safer, or more fulfilling, or more exciting to be loved by and to love. But it does take time and effort–just as you make time for a friend.

But keep it real–make it experimental. If you don’t, and you say the same things every time you get together, its going to get boring. And seriously, that is disrespectful, at least once you know better. Give God time to be God, let Him talk and don’t monopolize the conversation! Let Him be real. Experiment.

 

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