Boundaries

Having an open heart around some people can feel

like forgetting to shut the front door during a monsoon.

All the leaves, mud and dirty water rush in …

soaking every crevasse with filth.

It’s not your fault, but you’re stuck cleaning up

ridiculous emotional messes.

People are like storms sometimes –

cyclones of selfishness, spinning out of control …

shooting debris of chaos in every direction.

We need to be like meteorologists of our own souls,

so we know when it’s safe to open up.

We also need to remember it’s okay to use the dead-bolt.

It’s our job as prayer warriors to love everyone,

not to let them destroy us.

Planted in darkness

All I wanted was the light,

but all I could see was darkness.

In every direction, I searched and

discovered more soil and worms.

So I shifted my attention away from the world around me

and turned inward.

I focused on the only good thing I could think of:

my desire for the light,

and my longing for it grew.

It continually expanded

until I suddenly found myself

bursting through a surface I didn’t know existed,

into a greater radiance than I’d ever imagined.

Within me, all around me …

everything shined with love.

All of creation encouraged me to bloom.

I wouldn’t trade my experience underground for anything.

How else would I have discovered what I’m made of?

How else could I realize how powerful I am?

I’ll spend the rest of my life planting seeds of light

and watching them grow.

Living for eternity

We’d like to think it’s about marching into the world like soldiers

and taking control,

but it’s not:

It’s about letting go.

To manifest our highest potential in this world,

we must hand ourselves over to the designs of Another.

Our agendas are small-minded specs,

compared to the glory of His expanse.

I hope you open your heart in prayer –

I hope you live big and say yes.

I hope you let Infinite Wisdom stretch you

into a vessel of Divine Truth.

 

Silence and Spirituality

spirituality and silence

Before you enter into silence,

I think you should know how shook up you probably are

from living in this world.

The moment you get still,

you’ll notice debris of doubt and fear floating inside you.

You may panic and want to run back into your busy life,

but I pray you have the courage to be still and know

that all really is well.

And if you stick with the silence long enough,

you’ll get to watch every dark thought sink to the bottom

and transform into solid ground for Pure Light

to shine into your life

and illuminate every fiber of your being.

It’s the best thing that could ever happen to you.

But beware: the more you experience the Truth for yourself,

the more responsible you’ll be for shining it into this dark world.

Related quotes and scripture

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Saint Teresa of Calcutta

“The fruit of Silence is prayer. The fruit of Prayer is faith. The fruit of Faith is love. The fruit of Love is service. The fruit of Service is peace.” -Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Psalm 46: 10 “Cease striving and know that I am God.”

Reflection
When’s the last time you quieted your mind in prayer and meditation to sense the presence of God in your life? Do you struggle to take time for silence in your life? Do you value it or are you too caught up in busyness to even know what you’re missing?

Prayer
God, please send an outpouring of Your Holy Spirit to bless everyone reading this to get a sense of Your spacious, loving, peaceful presence in their lives. Help them carve out time to connect with Your Still Small Voice in prayer and meditation, so they can truly learn to discern Your guidance for their lives.

Action Step
Before the rush of the day, try to wake up a little early to intentionally spend time with the Lord in silence. With a quick prayer, offer God your day and invite His loving presence into Your life. Whether using scripture or a favorite prayer, continue returning Your thoughts to Your desire to connect with Him. Don’t quit if you struggle with negative thoughts, stick with it and your spiritual connection will grow stronger all the time.

 

The Empathy Journey

beauty beyond brokenness

I prayed for wisdom and got sorrow instead.
Funny after all these years to finally realize
she was the best gift God could have given me at the time.
She followed me around like a puppy dog,
only she walked too slow and didn’t know how to play.
And believe me, she wasn’t cute or small …
She was nice enough, but I always felt like she was weighing me down with her lumbering gait …
I’m not sure why I didn’t have the heart to shake her off –
something in me felt the need to wait …
and wait and wait and wait, as patiently as I could
for her to catch up.
The thought of leaving her behind felt like an amputation –
I couldn’t abandon her,
but I loathed her at the same time …
I lamented missing all the fun because
by the time we got anywhere, the party was over,
or when we’d finally arrive, she weighed down the room,
and the crowd quickly dispersed …
Again and again, I was left alone with only her burdensome presence by my side.
So I finally surrendered and let her choose our path …
This is when the miracles started to happen –
She led me beside silent waters, sparkling and clean –
to quiet places of beauty I could have never found if I had stayed with the crowd.
She showed me natural wonders that whispered wake-up calls into the depths of my soul …
I started to trust her, and she never stopped amazing me.
I inched behind her up the skinniest, steepest trails I’d ever seen,
risking everything along stone-edged cliffs because it was worth it.
The views were pristine –
Majestic ravines of unspeakable purity energized something at the core of my being …
something essential that had been waiting patiently inside me for a very long time.
She led me into pitch black caverns, where there was nothing to do but pray
and learn to love the silence with her by my side.
In her own somber, winding way, she taught me to slow down and forgive, to let go –
to love more deeply from afar than I ever could up close-
She gave me space to make sense of things that had always troubled my soul,
which were the reasons I’d prayed for wisdom in the first place, all those years ago …

Even now, she calls me further along the treacherous winding road, and
and I will gladly follow her into the abyss of majesty, mercy and wonder,
wherever she leads.

The funny thing is now I’m the slow dog lumbering in sweetsad kindess,
looking up with peace-filled puppy dog eyes,
welcoming others to join me on the journey to the depths of reverence.
My heart smiles playfully,
imagining they probably think I’m just sadness.

Related scripture
John 16:20: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.”

Reflection
Do you create space in your life to embrace the fullness of your emotional experiences? Or, do you find yourself doing anything to avoid feeling painful emotions in yourself and others? Can you make more room to open your heart to the fullness of empathy and compassion, in order to create a more authentic spiritual connection to God? It’s worth it, I promise!

Prayer
God bless anyone reading this to have the courage to embrace the fullness of their emotions on their journey toward authentic spirituality. Help us to avoid the temptation to skim through life on the surface level, missing the joys found in a deeper relationship with self, God and others.

Action Step
Take some time to read the psalms, and journal about the ways you can relate the feelings expressed in your own journey of faith. Did you know even Jesus read the Psalms in His youth? A life of faith isn’t easy, but it is worth it for the depth of peace Christ brings to the fullness of our human experience.

 

Answering the calling

Do you know what God is calling you to do? www.uniteinprayer.org

It’s like a little ball of light in your heart that glows

and gets bigger the longer you follow it.
Brighter
and bolder too.

It will help to know some things in advance.

While mesmerized by the brilliance of it,
You can fully expect to be led into dark places that terrify you
and make your soul scream with the heaviness of every emotion you’ve ever avoided.
You will ache deeply.

The light will be your only consolation until it’s gone.

One day after putting all your hope and trust in it for years and
letting go of everything else in the process,
it will disappear entirely from your view.
You will be left alone,
lost in the deepest woods to fend for yourself with no comfort.

Being prepared for this won’t make it any easier.
But please know in advance that this journey is worth the toll it takes.

You are going somewhere.
Your trust was not misplaced, and
when the light comes back it will be more radiant than the brightest dawn.

You will be illuminated with every love, joy and truth known to man.
The glistening purity will pierce your soul, and
You will know the difference between who you are and what it is

Suddenly, you will be free to do more than blindly follow:
You will become one with the light.
Others will sense something luminous in you and have an opportunity to decide for themselves.

Is there any other path to freedom?

Reflection: Have you ever thought about what your calling from God is before? Have you ever had a sense that God was nudging you to follow him in a particular way? Did you listen? Have you ever prayed to God for guidance? Do you have the courage to follow Him even if He asks you to do hard things? 

Prayer: God bless everyone reading this to hear Your calling for their life! Fill their heart with a sense of Your presence, adn give them the courage to follow Your voice, along with the strength to persevere through their highest calling from You. 

Spiritual Toolbox: If you’re still learning to tune into Divine Guidance, I encourage you to try Lectio Divina. It’s an ancient practice of diving into the Word of God in order to receive guidance from the Holy Spirit. Learn more here. 

American Soul

Have you found true spiritual freedom?

I think my soul is getting too big for this place

It’s like trying to fit a magenta sunrise over the pacific ocean
with fluffy marshmallow clouds and the joy of leaping of dolphins

into a tiny
plastic
cup,

And I don’t want anyone to try and drink
a squished version of me
or even take a tiny sip that doesn’t reflect my diversity.

I know who I am
and how long it took for me to become this radiant, enormous being

How many times did the volcano have to erupt before it created this island of my soul?
I stopped counting and surrendered into the Fire bigger than myself,
flowing out of myself.

It wasn’t my plan, it burned.
But I survived,
and here I am like the radiant dawn herself.

Now that it’s time for palm trees, cool evening breezes and wild flowering trees,
I don’t even need time anymore
or ballot boxes,

at least not to tell me who I am.

I know
politics can’t contain this love in me,
this compassion.
That tiny list of who I can vote for is a joke.

As if I could choose between unborn babies and refugees or teenage mothers with no support, who are scared to death and make a choice. Don’t get me started about the prisoners on death row …

What happened to them to stunt their growth?

I just want them ALL to come to my shores.
I want everyone to feel the breeze of Truth and Mercy that blows here
and sustained me through my own trial-filled years.
I want them to be still and rest quietly,
listening to the waves of love crashing on my rocky coastline.
I want them to bask under the gorgeousness of my stars
and begin to get a sense of their own inherent vastness.

Will I erupt again?
I don’t know,
I am not in control of this life I’ve been given,

But I have noticed how much bigger I’m getting …
I don’t fit here anymore,
It’s like trying to squeeze the size of  purple mountain majesty into a tiny box
with a check mark on it …

I am open for more.

I’m outgrowing this,
but I’m not going anywhere,
And you can’t move me either.

I’m too big for politics
but just the right size for grace
and Truth that can move mountains and create whole new spaces.

You don’t need a plane ticket or freedom, food, water or shelter to rest on my shores.
You don’t even need to know about me.
My heart is open like an island rose,
and YOU are here in my prayers, which are powerful.

I look forward to watching you grow.

Reflection:
I wrote this trying to reconcile all of my feelings about the goodness of America in contrast to the the way our political landscape has divided our nation to such a dramatic degree. I invite you to reflect on where your own spirituality fits in with your politics. I also invite you to reflect on ways you can begin to help be a healer and a peacemaker in these troubled times. Are you willing to reach out to someone, whose beliefs are different than yours to try and find common ground? Are you willing to see the best in others, even when you don’t agree? Are there ways you can bring more of God’s healing love into our troubled world? 

Prayer: 
God please bless our nation to truly be guided by Your Highest Truth, Mercy and Unconditional Love always! Heal us, bring us together as one for the common good and Your Glory. Amen. 

Copywrite Nicky Gant 2/2/2017