“You can always come home to God, and God can always be found wherever you are, right at the centre of your soul.” I heard Danielle Shroyer say in this podcast while I was making dinner one evening. “The purpose of religion is to rediscover our wholeness. The Bible says, ‘We have come to know and trust the love God has for us.’ That’s the heart of our wholeness. So I want us to take a moment to receive it.
“Take a deep breath. Let your eyes close and, just for a few moments, do one simple thing: Let… God… love you,” Danielle said.
“Yes. Just let me love you,” I heard God echo Danielle’s words in my heart. “I’m right here with you.”
I’d been feeling unsettled for days, and God knew it. The constant rain, the long to-do list with deadlines inching closer, and the recurring sense that something was wrong were dragging me down.
For days, I was stuck in a loop. I kept trying to figure out what would make me happier. Then I’d remind myself that I don’t need anything to make me happy. But then I still wasn’t happy and began the cycle all over again.
I continued to chop vegetables, listen to the podcast and think about letting God love me. I remembered that my first spiritual director invited me to “pray in the cracks” –to pause in my day to let God love me.
I remembered hearing that feelings are like waves in the ocean. I’m not the waves; I’m in the ocean of God. Waves come and go. What if I don’t need to still the waves to find peace?
The next morning, I woke to the familiar waves of dissatisfaction. I made coffee and sat in the silence with God and God’s invitation. With each in-breath, I imagined God saying, “I love you,” and with the out-breath, I responded, “I love you too.” I waited in the silence and allowed myself to sink below the waves and into the core of my being, into the reality of my oneness with God. After a while, I felt myself relax there.
As I ended my time of prayer, I let go of the desire for the waves to be still and for joy to return. Instead, I set an intention to simply let God love me in that moment and the next, no matter what I was doing.
As I named this intention, I felt something soften in me. I sensed an affirmation from God that this was all I was being asked to do and it brought God great joy.
We have come to know and trust the love that God has for us.
–1 John 4:16 (CJB)
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Recently, I’ve been introduced to a practice Fr. Thomas Keating taught called Guard of the Heart. It compliments both Centering Prayer and Welcoming Prayer. Centering Prayer invites us to be still in God and rest there, unhooked from our false self programs for happiness. Welcoming Prayer invites us to recognize and allow the feelings that arise that reveal the unhelpful programs that are active in our lives. Guard of the Heart helps us notice moments in our day when we have turned our attention away from God’s presence. We are encouraged to use a simple action to bring us back home to God and let God love us in that moment, no matter what we’re feeling, thinking or doing. For me, that simple action is taking a deep breath and listening inward for Jesus’ voice and hearing, “I’m right here.”
What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.