Wednesday, 7 February 2007

All is gift

This talk of fear, and of God having work for us to do, may sound intimidating.
If I want others to respond to His desire that they should come closer to Him, and take possession of all that He offers to them, why do I raise such things?
Why do I not avoid all mention of them, or at least play down these aspects of God’s calling until people have reached a point on their journey where they encounter them for themselves?

Quite simply because it was this combination of unease and an expectation that something may be asked of me, that first made me aware of the reality of God in my life.
I had believed in God, and believed in His presence, without ever having really stopped to consider what believing entailed.
I became truly aware, for the first time, that if I believed in the existence of God (which I did) then I believed Him to be real.
If I believed Him to be real, and believed in the presence of God (which I did), then I believed Him to be truly present.
It was this realization that, without any conscious effort, opened me to His influence in my life, and the prompting to speak of it has been the real reason for my writing of it here.

This fear is not frightening; it is, as already stated, an uneasiness that lingers throughout our days, raising thoughts and feelings of expectation, allocation, requirement, recruitment: - the idea that God may ask something of us in return for all the blessings we have already received.
And here is the heart of it; we are aware – at last - of having been given so much.
This is the awareness towards which all previous awareness has been leading.

The memory of when I first spoke of this awareness in my own life has stayed with me for two reasons; firstly, because it was so unlike me to speak of any such thing to anybody, and secondly, because the person to whom I spoke – a near stranger then – was to become an important part of my growth in the years that followed.
I remember saying, “I have been given more than I ever knew I wanted, and I have a feeling God is going to ask me for something in return.”
That single minute of conversation – for that was all it was – told me important things about myself, though I heard none of them at the time.

Having been given much more than I had ever thought to want, was no longer something of which I was only vaguely conscious.
Hearing myself speak those words aloud transformed my embryonic awareness into a full understanding of all this as fact; not only that I had so much more than I deserved or had any right to expect, but that all this had been granted, given and received, wholly unmerited and - until then - unappreciated for what it was: total gift.

My feeling of apprehension: my expectation of being asked for something in return, was not merely the product of my own imagination. It was my na├»ve and inaccurate interpretation of deeper feelings awakened within me: feelings drawn to the surface to await my acknowledgement – my giving voice to them – when, through God’s provision, and at the right time, the right person crossed my path.

I had always kept myself away from other people as much as possible, wanting to remain aloof and unknown. I was being manoeuvred towards a crumbling of my protective walls; being asked to open myself up: to allow others in, and to allow them to see part of what really went on within me. This also meant that when fear grew: when I would need support and a safe haven, I would not find myself travelling alone.

My fear that He was going to take something from me in return, showed just how little I understood my God.
Taking something from me was sensed as losing something precious to me. The first things to enter my mind whenever I imagined losing something were my children, and their health. Perhaps God would …
I began to utter these thoughts to the person standing before me, but was gently interrupted with a smile, and a quiet assurance that “He does not work that way.”

In a similar way to the Jews listening to St Paul in Rome, I heard the words but not the message.

‘How aptly the Holy Spirit spoke when He told your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah:
Go and say to this people:
Listen and listen but never understand!
Look and look but never perceive!
This people’s heart is torpid,
their ears dulled, they have shut their eyes tight,
to avoid using their eyes to see, their ears to hear,
using their heart to understand,
changing their ways and being healed by me.' (Acts 28:25-27)

Hearing more than the words: understanding and receiving the message, was also God’s free gift.

About Me

Who I am should be, and should remain, of little consequence to you. Who you are is what matters; who you are meant to be is what should matter most to you. In coming closer to my own true self, I have gradually been filled with the near inexpressible: I have simply become "brim full", and my words to you are drawn from those uttered within myself, as part of an undeniable overflowing that brings a smile to my every dusk, and to my every new dawn.
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