Choose Your Own Adventure

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“It can be discouraging to discover how quickly you lose your inner peace. Someone who happens to enter your life can suddenly create restlessness and anxiety in you. Sometimes this feeling is there before you fully realize it. You thought you were centered; you thought you could trust yourself; you thought you could stay with God. But then someone you do not even know immediately makes you feel insecure. You ask yourself whether you are loved or not, and that stranger becomes the criterion. Thus you start feeling disillusioned by your own reaction.

Don’t whip yourself for your lack of spiritual progress. If you do, you will easily be pulled even further away from your center. You will damage yourself and make it more difficult to come home again. It is obviously good not to act on your sudden emotions. But you don’t have to repress them, either. You can acknowledge them and let them pass by. In a certain sense, you have to befriend them so that you do not become their victim.

The way to “victory” is not trying to overcome you dispiriting emotions directly but in building a deeper sense of safety and at-homeness and a more incarnate knowledge that you are deeply loved. Then, little by little, you will stop giving so much power to strangers.

Do not be discouraged. Be sure that God will truly fulfill all you needs. Keep remembering that. It will help you not to expect that fulfillment from people who you already know are incapable of giving it.”

~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Loving

The only connection we need ever rely on is our connection with God. The light is always there no matter how dark it might seem. We have to choose faith and gratitude over fear and lack. It truly feels like a form of ungratefulness to walk around looking for validation in the world at large. “Well I know God loves me but that isn’t enough. I need more than I’ve been given. This shirt will give me the attention I need. Perhaps a shinier car. Maybe this gas station clerk will laugh at my joke and validate my existence.” LOL Can you relate?

It’s our fragile ego who needs and wants that attention, not our higher self. When we are living for validation we stop accepting the present moment as it is and that’s when our emotions make it possible to go off the rails, if we choose to believe the illusion. We could also choose to remember how much we are loved by God and let that other fearful self serving product of the mind move on down the road. And there you are. Still standing. Feeling centered and connected. Still loved.

It is a lack of faith in God’s plan that leads us to worry and fear. It is always our choice. I know that when I return to the heart and choose to stop controlling the moment with emotional manipulation (fear, anger, jealousy, etc), I feel myself lifted up, walking a path without focusing on each step along the way. I find the faith to walk through the fear and knowing that God’s love will guide me if I just let it happen.

And if I lose that fight and fall “victim” to fear….now I know I’m not alone in that battle. That thought lifts me back up so that I might return to the present moment and choose to surrender to God’s plan. Stand up and get back on the path. No wonder “Choose Your Own Adventure” books were so popular when I was a kid. Who knew it was a sort of preparation for life?

Which path will you choose? You can choose the path that leads to battle or you can choose the path that leads to peace. I choose to know that God’s love is all I ever need to continue the adventure. I choose the path of least resistance. Remember that you are always loved.

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