Acceptance and Surrender

Years ago, a friend of mine shared a pearl of wisdom. She said, ” Life with God can be summed up into two words: Acceptance and Surrender.” I accept the things I can not change and surrender to God’s will and guidance.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it? Not only do I get to release my efforts at control and forcing solutions that aren’t my business, I also must accept responsibility, a word I don’t care for too often, for myself, my actions and my impact on others. Mainly, I must accept my responsibility for my relationship with God. This is where things can get messy for those of us that naturally try to control our surroundings.

Let’s take the real example of the relationship among my husband and children. We are a blended family. My husband is my children’s step-father. I have spent the past 7 years of our lives trying to “help” them get along, to love each other, to understand each other. I do this because I know if they could just see what I see harmony and peace would be the result! Not so. What I’m really doing is meddling in relationships that I can’t control. I can’t control another person, and how arrogant of me to try!

God made each of us with a unique set of gifts, talents, passions and experience to do amazing things on this planet. I will continue to spend the rest of my life discovering what His will is for me and how I can use all of me for His good works. I already have a full-time job keeping up with me, my growth and my relationships. I don’t have the knowledge, understanding or power to direct the relationships in my family. I certainly don’t have the time!

I think it’s a misuse of responsibility to say we are responsible for everything and everyone. It’s a justification to play God. Yes, we are accountable to our brothers and sisters. And, we have a responsibility to the people and relationships God places in our lives. However, the principle at play as I understand Christianity, is love. Which means my job is to love you. There are many times when loving you means that I am giving you the dignity of your own experience. I am not stripping an opportunity from you, for example, to know God better by trying to convince you that your way is wrong. Which usually means that I think my way is right. How would I possibly know what is right for you when I don’t know what is right for me half the time?

Enter surrender.

Surrender, for me, is turning my attention away from expectations and outcomes and instead focusing on where God is at work in the situation. Surrender can mean not taking action, but surrender in itself is active. Surrender might mean stepping away from a situation that isn’t mine to fix. It also might mean acting on God’s guidance that I receive. Surrender always accompanies acceptance.

So today I take this pearl of wisdom into my day. I pray for God’s guidance and direction to help me accept the things I can’t change and the responsibility for those I can. I surrender to his will for me and I know He will give me the power and courage to carry out His will.

Take God with you today! I will.

Our Connection to Martin Luther King, Jr. and God’s Will

A dear friend of mine sent me this quote in the middle of the night. It is a statement Martin Luther King, Jr. shared about the “structure of reality”:

“All I’m saying is simply this; that all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” Wallis, Jim (2013-04-01). On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good (p. 121). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I LOVE it! How true it is that I can’t be what I am meant to be without you. This is the, albeit selfish, reason I have a sense of urgency for each of us to live into what we’re meant to be. As you live into authenticity, so do I. As I do, you do more. Like an expectant mother waiting to see the face of her newborn child, I want to know what it’s going to look like! The power within each of us coupled with our gifts and passions, can you imagine?

It’s fun to talk about. I love discussions about philosophy and theology. However, it doesn’t move us further into authenticity if we don’t take action. So, I ask you this question:

What are one action are you committing to today that will move closer to being what God wants for you?

It can seem like a big question, I know. It assumes you have a clue as to what God’s will is for you. That in itself is a lifelong blog topic. So let’s break it down a bit in context of our innate connection to one another. Consider the following questions:

• What positive patterns of experience can you recognize in your relationships?
• What consistent compliments do you receive from others?
• What are you actively doing or thinking about that brings you a sense of joy, peace or love?
• Is there a consistent relationship in your life that inspires you? Why?

Let’s start there and see what comes of it.

If you’d like to share, I’d love to listen!! Thank you for walking with me.

God’s Peace,
Cate

Overcoming Depression

I have struggled with depression most of my life.  Many people would never know it because I’m often engaged in “life.”  However, when I’m alone, my mind can get the best of me.  I become an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.  One minute I’m ready to rule the world, the next minute I want to hide under a rock and die.  That’s no way to live.  So, with the help of many others, I have learned to follow certain disciplines that keep depression at bay. 

First, I make my bed every morning.  Sound silly?  It accomplishes two things: it gets me out of the bed which, if you have ever experienced depression, can be an enormous feat, and it puts me into action.  I learned a long time ago that I can’t think my way into right action.  However, I can act my way into right thinking.

Second, I exercise.  Whether it’s going to the gym to lift weights or walking around the block of my neighborhood, it makes a difference.  I am not a scientist, but I can tell you that endorphins work real well for me.  Love them!  They can create in me a sense of hope that is lost when I am trapped in the dark abyss of depression.

Third, I involve myself with others.  Those of you reading this and in depression are probably ready to stick a fork in your eye about now.  But, it’s true.  It’s vital we have a community we can turn to in times of need, whether it’s our need or the need of another.  Community with others remind us of who we are. 

A friend once told me that if I wasn’t able to believe that happiness was possible, that God loved me or that this torturous gloom would ever dissipate, perhaps I could believe that she believed it was and would.  That’s what we do for one another.  We believe in each other.  We hold high the truth of love and light and grace.  Then when it comes, we pass it along.

That would be the fourth discipline.  ALWAYS, always, seek to serve.  No matter how much I don’t want to commit to helping others when I’m steeped in self-pity and depression, being of service to others is surprisingly life giving.  It gives my life purpose and meaning.

We’re here for a reason. I may not always understand it, but it’s true.  So, thank you to those of you in my life who have given of yourself so that I can experience a life of love and service!  Today, I gratefully pass it forward.

May you enter into your day with joy and excitement to see where the Spirit will work!

Part of A Whole

Thank you all for your wisdom and support!  It takes incredible courage for me to share openly in a blog.  Your encouragement is life giving.  

I am an extrovert.  Those of you who know me, or have ever heard me speak to a group, know that I tend to speak my mind.  Dishonesty and sugar-coating stories don’t help any of us.  I find myself very comfortable in front of people sharing honestly and even vulnerably.  I don’t know exactly why that is.  It’s always been that way.  I’m sure God has something to do with it.

But that is face to face.

Sharing myself through writing feels different. I feel like a little girl standing on the high dive over a swimming pool for the first time.  The excitement is exhilarating!  But the fear is so powerful. What if it hurts when I hit the water?  Sometimes it will.  What if I get water up my nose?  Sometimes you do.  What if I do a belly flop and everyone laughs at me?  It happens.

Can you relate?   I know you can. We’re not nearly as different as we pretend to be.  I have supported many women through spiritual transformation and in almost two decades, I haven’t been surprised by one story yet.  Why?  Because we’re the same. 

The truth is we’re all part of a whole.  We’re not the whole. We are a very necessary part of the whole.  Science is discovering amazing ways energy and our brains work that show our interconnectedness.  We might call it “oneness.”  In Christianity we call it the “Body” or the “Body of Christ.”  We are individually made with certain gifts, passions and life experiences for the benefit of the whole of creation. 

With that idea in mind, what happens when we don’t show up for our part? What happens when we don’t live into becoming what we are meant to be in this life?  The whole can’t be whole.  And what does it look like when the whole isn’t whole?  It looks like marital affairs, murder, suicide, depression, obesity, disease, famine, and, you can add to the list. 

So, what happens when we realize we are a very necessary part of the whole?  When we use the gifts, act on the passions and live into the life we’ve got?  Birth, forgiveness, unity, reconciliation, love. 

We become participants in Life.  Not the lives of others that we pay money to watch on our flat screens at home.  You know the ones I mean.  No, we become participants in OUR life.  And when we participate in our lives authentically, we participate in the lives of others.  Why?  Because we are part of the whole and the whole/body/Godhead consistently is calling us to itself.  Is this making sense to you?

I hope so.  Because I need you.  I need your gifts, passions and talents to participate in a world that needs us.  I have so much more to share.  But we’ll let this sit for a bit first.

Please let me know what comes up for you when you read this.  I encourage you to pass this blog along to anyone else you think might wish to join the conversation as well.  The more the merrier!

Where ever your journey leads you today, know that you are not alone.  It’s much more fun that way.

Peace,

Cate

I Need Your Help

I need your help.  My amazing husband, Jeff, suggested I start here.  So here I am, and here I go.

I have been told often that I have a gift for speaking.  I am drawn to it, I am filled up by it, and feedback I receive tells me that the groups I address are too. 

I want to do more of it.  But I’m not sure how.

I’m really not the one doing most of the talking.  God is.  God share through me, I connect with others in a way that lifts us all up.  I may have a general topic or outline, but when God is at the helm, anything is possible.

I don’t write speeches.  Instead, I see a need people have in the group that I’m in speaking to.  I ask for the words, and the dialogue begins.  It’s not “a message” like so many professional speakers promote.

Some have said, “Talk about your passion.”  Ok. We could be here awhile. 

I’m passionate about authenticity

I can’t stand inauthentic people, because it doesn’t serve anything. It only supports false beliefs about superficial concepts that lead to death…spiritual death. 

I want people to be real. 

By being who they were truly meant to be, they serve themselves, their families and their communities.  They live in love, and love is the connector.  Love is the reality that awakens us to possibility beyond our wildest imagination. This troubled world needs lots of imagination right now. 

People like this idea.

But there’s a problem:  they don’t know how to get there.  They don’t know how to do it.  Why? 

Because they have spent most of their lives being taught how to think and how to look and how to act so they are safe, accepted, secure. 

But authenticity is original.  It’s your DNA.  No one else has the same makeup in the same way.

 So how do we get there?  I think it starts with sacrifice.  We sacrifice all the things that give us a false sense of security.  We face the reality that money doesn’t buy happiness, there is no such thing as a “perfect” man or woman out there, and all the drugs, sex and rock and roll we can tolerate won’t fix the dull ache of not feeling a part of what matters.   

As least it has for me.

It also requires risk.  Being honest and authentic about who and what we are, what works and doesn’t work is not always applauded.  As a matter of fact, in a world that supports plastic surgery, pharmaceuticals to make the male genitals larger than “life,” and avatars, you may lose a popularity contest or two.

Mostly, it requires responsibility.  Being authentic mean I really get it.  I come to understand that I can’t live fully without you.  I am totally reliant on you and you on me, which means I am responsible for you, and me, and our children.  I have to take care of myself and use the gifts I’ve been given and act on the passions that stir within me, so that YOU can reach your highest potential. 

So YOU can live fully!  Which leads to the sometimes hard truth to face in this consumer culture, are you sitting down?

 It’s not about me.  It’s really not about you.  We have it all wrong.  What a paradox! 

I am sacrificing, risking and being responsible for YOU so I can experience a fulfilling, authentic life?  Yes.  Is there another way?  No.

Thanks for having me.  Aren’t you glad you invited me to speak with you today?

Here’s the good news: 

You matter. 

You matter more than you know. 

And it’s time to show up like the spiritually powerful human that you are.  So get going.

So there you have it.  My passion and a gift I want to use effectively to make the world a better place.

So, trusted friends, where do I go from here?  I want to share this and so much more. But who will listen?  Who do I ask?  Who do I speak to?  What should I create to support this message?  Who can I partner with to change the world?

These are a few questions I ask you to ponder and respond.  My hope is that a dialogue will begin.  Through this dialogue may the Spirit be at work and may we all be inspired to move forward together.

I appreciate your input.  I look forward to your thoughts!