Spiritually Speaking Blog

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Earth’s Crammed With Heaven!

I’m not a poet, but I do find this piece very inspirational: “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; but only he who sees, takes off his shoes – the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”- Elizabeth Barrett Browning How many times have we sat and plucked the blackberries, when all of God’s creatures are straining to bring us Divine messages? We fail to see that every single piece of it is shouting out the awesome presence of God. We need God to help us “see”. We need to see what is here all along. Look at the sunrise, the cool rain, my hand, your heartbeat, that flower, this sleeping infant, the night sky and the vastness of space. They all whisper the same message of their maker: “I am good and beautiful and powerful beyond all understanding. We are always in the presence of God. God has always been there, reaching out to us through his beautiful creation. How awesome and close God really is. God is always there and we’ve hardly noticed before. God’s presence, if seen, can give every moment light and make every day a blessing. So let’s look closely at creation and we will see and hear the voice of God. Take God in. Walk with him, and his light and life, joy and peace will be yours. That’s a promise. Lord, that I might see!... read more

Do You Have a Full-Time Partnership?

We are all called to live the extraordinary life that God has designed for us. We each are unique individuals with our own gifts and talents. There is a mission only you can fulfill and a song only you can sing. Oftentimes we get caught up in what others want of us. Fear sets in so we live an ordinary life, plugging through each day, putting aside our own script and living the status qto. That special job that God has assigned to us will fail. But here is the good news. We are not in this alone. Our Creator wouldn’t strand us on this earth without a “lifeline”. And that lifeline is a direct connection to God. God has the power to transform us, to take the ordinary in us and make it extraordinary. God has the power and the desire. All that we have to do is accept God as our full-time partner. This means that we each have a serious relationship, with no exclusionary clauses, a partnership that puts everything on the table. There’s a long distance between that kind of intense partnership and the cool, arms-length, episodic relationship with God that we settle for so often. And that’s a real tragedy because an occasional relationship with God yields no growth, no change, and therefore no satisfaction. Why? When we withhold so much and hide so much we put so much of life off limits that God can’t even get close to the parts of him that need him the most. Keeping God at a distance is a sure recipe for sadness. Don’t settle for rusting... read more

Confused?

On the road of life there are many conundrums. These complex problems confuse us with no apparent clear solutions. We know that we were made to share in the Divine joy and happiness here on earth. But then Jesus tells us to, “Deny yourselves. Take up your cross and follow me.” Are we suppose to be happy or not? What are we to strive for? How do we do both? This seems like a perplexing problem with no clear “one answer”. But God would not put us into a situation with no way out! Now as everyone in Jesus’ day understood, “cross” means simply meaning the true work of the day,” which is the opposite of busy work or just hanging around. And how do we know what the true work of the day is? Our gifts tell us, our circumstances tell us. And the Spirit speaks the word directly to our hearts. If we are listening, we will know each day what our true work is and our joy will come from doing it. If you want to be happy, Jesus says, “take up your cross.” Don’t run away from your life’s work or from the true work of the day. Turn toward it. Engage it. Give your whole self to it. Living that way has its price. But the spirit guiding our lives will give us what we need as we need it. The alternative, running away from our life’s work and betraying our gifts, will in the end bring only pain. Jesus’ advice is relax in the Lord. Forget yourself and your fears. Hand over your... read more

Small Moments Big Success

Has your life been successful so far? How do you judge it? Do you consider what you do? Where you live? What you have? Your influence? Your power? Your bank account? All of these considerations may be motivational but surely don’t make a complete successful life. Look at all the people that society deems accomplished and prosperous… the business tycoons, the movie stars and the power brokers. They too will be judged by the “small moments”. In the bigger scheme, life is pretty simple. A successful life comes in small moments. Small moments of Kindness, we always remember how others go out of their way for us. Resolution, we celebrate our determination to “get through”. Risk-taking, we learn that we have wings and really CAN fly. Forgiveness, when we grow in spirit giving others as we pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that have trespassed against us”. (There’s the measure) Failure, when we can accept, grow and even embrace failure as the other side of the coin. Fortitude, discovering our own strength that we find within, and without! Love, the affection we experience that reflects the love that God has for us. Laughter, the spice of life that let’s into God’s sense of humor. I think that God made the giraffe and had to laugh! Aren’t these the really big things that are lasting? In the end, it’s not who we think we are that counts, it’s the small moments in life that we will treasure, remember and carry with us.  ... read more

Life Can Be Scary

Remember Garfield? Garfield is relaxing in his warm cozy chair watching television, while outside a fierce storm is raging. Through the window Garfield spots one of his buddies shivering and freezing. Garfield is overcome with emotion and exclaims, “I can’t just sit here and watch him freeze. I’ve got to do something?” With that he jumps up, runs to the window, and closes the blinds! Garfield is not alone. Drawing the drapes and closing the blinds on ugly reality is not just in the comics. When we’re faced with evil, there seems to be a little voice that says, “What you’re looking at is too much for you, so you better run.” It’s the voice of fear. Fear makes us run from what is ugly, sinister or broken around us, outside us and even in us! Mentally we just can’t deal with it so we close our eyes and draw our inner blinds. We might hum a happy tune, shop till we drop, get lost in the music, or have another glass of wine. We pretend I’m OK and your OK. We don’t dare look at the problem because it can’t be fixed – now or ever. A Japanese legend says that we have three faces. The first face we show to the world, putting our best appearance for all to see. The second face we show to our family and close friends, probably a truer depiction of who we are. The third face is the one we never show anyone. That is the truest reflect of who we really are. We can be fearful of facing the truth... read more

What in the Heck Are You Doing Here?

One of my favorite quotes comes from Oscar Wilde writing that the two most important days in our lives are the day we are born and the day we discover “why”. God created us for a reason. We each are entrusted with a special mission to accomplish here on earth. No one else can fill our shoes or our responsibilities. We only have this one life to live, and as you’ve heard this is not a dress rehearsal. We need to be living out our “why” right now, each and every day to the best of our ability. But how do we know the will of God for us? Since God made us with all of our individual traits and unique abilities, it stands to reason that the one simple “why” that would apply to all of us is to Be Your Best Self. In order to be our BEST, we have to assess and reflect on what exactly God gave us as his investment in our earthy journey. God would not send us out on our “mission” unarmed for the jaunt. What did our Creator design us for? What precisely are we bringing to this life? What is in our personal arsenal? Consider: What are your legitimate needs? What do you require for life and the pursuit of happiness? Connection, silence, prosperity? What are your deepest desires? Are you drawn to the arts, science, teaching, sales, etc? Do you have a deep desire to be “on stage” or to “help people”? What talents do you have? Gifts? Do you have an ear for music? Are you a natural-born... read more

Got a Problem?

I recently read that we are not here to solve problems but problems are here to solve us. We all intellectually know that hardship can teach us important life lessons, but usually these problems catch us by surprise. Sometimes they pull the rug right out from under us, shattering our sense of peace. We want to use these problems and turn them into opportunities. But how should we approach these situations to turn adversity into advantage? Remember this admonition you were taught as a youngster approaching an intersection or a railway crossings and any potential problems to STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN? I think that this advice can help us with our problematic situations and lead us to fuller lives. STOP – Pause wherever we are to assess the circumstances. Slow down, breathe. (Some problems take our breath away, or cause hyperventilation) When we are caught up in the maze of daily activities, situations seem like a nonstop bombardment leaving little precious time. Our situations may have changed needing redirection. Stop! LOOK –Now that we have stopped the flurry, we have the opportunity to assess our plight. Understand the difficulty. Focus on the real issues. Perhaps looking at these plights from another point of view may help. Look “inside” for the answers. Look! LISTEN – We will find all the answers we need if we listen within. We will never go wrong if we follow our inner counselor. As Saint Mother Teresa reminds us that in the silence of the heart, God speaks. Listen! God may be inviting us to change, to become more tolerant, kinder, more patient, more humble,... read more

We Owe as Much as We Need

All of us human beings struggle to get things right. We never seem to get it right the first time. Cultural norms, social pressures, and self-imposed high expectations sometimes forget this crucial point in being human. We judge, evaluate and criticize, not only ourselves but those around us. This constant mindset of comparison, appraising, and assessing our surroundings is useless. (Although that’s the way that many of us were raised…things were either right or wrong, black or white, “my way or the highway”) And trying to “go it alone” may sound like an aspired ideal of individualism, but it won’t work in the long run. We are each on our own personal lifetime journey. It’s a road paved with life lessons to be LEARNED by trail, error and help! No one just bounces into this life perfectly acting out every moment. No one “gets it all” nor can they do it by themselves. We are born into communities of families, neighborhoods and towns. We are social beings who, as the Beatles lyrics remind us, “…I get by with a little help from my friends”. God gives us enough adversity for growth and learning while providing us with enough joy for true happiness. God works through us providing these various opportunities. We need to get clear and remember more than anything else: we all need to loosen our grip on the idea of perfection and we all need and owe all the help we can get and give. So let’s be open getting and giving help, and never hold back. Our reward will be watching each other grow while fulfilling... read more

Let God Be God

God will overflow your cup, so grab the biggest one you can find. – Rob Liano It’s difficult for us to imagine the immensity of God’s affection for us and how big it really is. God truly delights in our being happy and giving us whatever we need – food, friendship, comfort, reassurance and challenge, forgiveness and strength. God gives us all that and more, in abundance. Unlike our limited humanness, there are not any limits on what God’s willing to do for us. God’s love for each of us is excessive and unconditional. It does not make a difference what we do or don’t do, God will always love and provide for us. Now, if all this is true, the fear and anxieties we sometimes have about God and about life are really crazy. Can you see how foolish it is to worry that God may not forgive us, or may abandon us, or may expect the impossible of us, or not give us what we need. To give credence and power to those kinds of fears is to ignore a world full of evidence to the contrary. Look around at the everyday miracles of life. God’s winks, God’s invitations and God’s love surround us. It’s time to stop shrinking our great Creator down to our own size. It’s time to let God be God for us. We have seen God’s grandness and graciousness to each of us a million times over. It’s time to trust that graciousness, to trust that God’s big enough on the inside to handle anything, even our smallness of heart. So why not... read more