Would you say YES to God?
Today is the 8th anniversary of the traumatic brain injury that changed my life completely. As I step into the significance of this day every year, I reflect on life before and the path that has emerged since. My life looks NOTHING like life before, and yet I'm the happiest I've ever been.
I was forced into this new life. Therefore it makes me wonder....Would you (would I) say yes to God if not forced to do so?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11
It's a question that I often ponder, especially since my younger self thought that the answer was simple. Of course! Saying YES to God is the only way to live, right?
Well, time has shown me that saying YES to God is among the most vulnerable and brave actions that a human being can take. It is the moment of complete surrender, followed by an infinity of continuous letting go of my will as I further allow God to become the guiding force in my life. It is an act of trust so deep that it is simultaneously freeing and terrifying, as I relinquish control over my life.
Be still and know that I am God.
Allowing the flow to carry me means that I grieve the life that I felt I "should" have had in favor of the life that God has planned for me. It begins by simply lifting up my feet, floating, and noticing that even as I am still, I am also moving. What is the force that is moving me?
The Creator is revealed when I become quiet. I learn to trust the flow of energy moving beneath the wave that I am, as it becomes the force that animates my body and nudges me toward God's path.
But I am not perfect. Continuously, I put my feet down and struggle against the current with thoughts of how I want my life to be dammit!
This is the root of suffering - resistance to what IS. With an abundance of pain reminding me that my efforts are futile, I once again remember that if I gently lift up my feet, I will feel the flow and it will save me from drowning.
The Courage to BE
But MY LIFE is a STRUGGLE! I am not going to lie, I thought it would be easier to live a life in harmony with God's will for me...but that is not the case. No wonder I resisted all of these years. Bringing myself into alignment has been anything but easy, and yet I have had everything I needed at each moment of the process. This is grace. It is not necessarily the promise that life will be simpler; rather, it's being given exactly what I require in order to manifest God's will in my life. This is "the Courage to BE" according to Tillich.
I have come to the recognition that life isn't meant to be easy; quite the contrary, it is a journey filled with struggle every step of the way. The pain arrives when we feel that it should be different somehow.
Thus, life becomes a process of emptying oneself of ideas of how it SHOULD be, and growing through the suffering letting go.
Rather than filling myself with theological musings and scriptural references in my formation for ministry, I have discovered an alternative path rooted in kenotic love. Every step of my journey with God embodies the art of emptying my vessel so that the Spirit can fill me up and direct my life.
Make no mistake, this emptying process is among the most difficult experiences of my life, yet I have every resource that I need to walk through all of it in peace - grace.
I am brought to my knees almost daily, as God reminds me that I am a humble servant. "Speak God, thy humble servant is listening."
This brings me back to the original question. Would you - would I - completely surrender to God's will without being forced to do so? I have come to realize that I needed to be pushed into this new life, largely because it was so contrary to the way that I thought I SHOULD be living. Every day I surrendered to God, but I didn't mean it. Why? Because I was unwilling to change the really difficult aspects of my life. Then, one night as I was drifting off to sleep, I said the prayer that changed everything - "Speak God, thy humble servant is listening." And like a scene from a movie, my life was different from that moment forward.