Thursday, July 14, 2016

"lost inside a wishing well…"

"When everywhere you look,
you see regrets.

Caught up in the past,
and what might have been.

What we can never know,
will make our heads spin.

A little love, a little trust,
a lot of forgiveness..."

Every few years I seem to need to spend a day or two soaking on the message in Ellis' poignantly lovely "Right on Time." It is a musical antidote to the futility of self-doubt and regret.

There was a time when my time when every day was a battle for confidence. Not so much in my ability to carry out tasks, be creative, or express courage, but to trust my ability to pause, listen for spiritual guidance, and act with courage.

I cross-questioned every choice. I doubled back on every decision. I returned purchases within moments of leaving the store. I cancelled almost every plan. What seemed wise one day, felt foolish the next. I felt like I was on the verge of tumbling down a steep hill since every step I took had the potential for misplaced footing on loose ground.

And it all had its roots in regret. I'd been faced with a difficult choice. I'd prayed deeply. Listened humbly. Waited patiently. When clear, Love-based spiritual guidance came, I didn't question it -- I trusted and obeyed. I assumed that because the guidance felt so clearly God-impelled, that the ensuing steps would be understood and well-received. But they weren't.

Before long the doubts expressed by others, became my own. And a decision that was now irrevocable, haunted my confidence and made me question my ability to actually hear God's voice. For me, there was nothing more terrifying. If there was anything I was sure of, it was my relationship with God. I trusted it above all else. To have that shaken was beyond comprehension. I didn't know how to go forward.

It was about that time that I began to pull back from trying to be all things, to all people. I hunkered down in the silence and gave myself permission to ask all of the hard questions of the heart. I was willing to be wrong. I was willing to be told -- by God -- that I'd made an error in judgment. That I'd misinterpreted His message. That I'd been willful. That I'd made a huge mistake, and that my decision would forever haunt me. Anything but the feeling of being misled by Love.

But I got none of those messages. What I did get, was a Scriptural reminder. One that stopped me in my tracks. That on the heels of God's most precious act of love and affirmation for Jesus -- anointing him with the Holy Ghost, descending like a dove upon him and assuring him that he was His loved son in whom he was well-please -- he sent him into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil forty days and forty nights.

This may seem like a strange comfort, but it wasn't. I realized that God's love for me didn't mean that I wouldn't face temptations. Especially the temptation to doubt Him. But, that I would be given the opportunity to prove my trust that His Word - alone - was operating in my heart. No matter how others might interpret His guidance -- I knew His voice, and the language of His speaking. It was Love.

As I navigated these deep waters, I couldn't help but think of those who had been there with Jesus following his baptism and anointing. Did they wonder why he wandered off into the wilderness instead of taking up the mantle of his new ministry? Did they question the direction of his path -- shouldn't he be heading back to Jerusalem?

The timing was not his to choreograph. The direction of his path, was not his decision. How could he regret choices that weren't of his to make. He trusted -- even in the face of doubt. The temptations weren't about behaviors to avoid. They were the temptation to abandon his trust in God. He was being given a gift. The opportunity to truly trust his Father's voice.

This was my first step out of doubt and regret. I might not understand what was to come or where it would take me, but I no longer doubted that God was at the helm. I would not abandon ship.

In her compilation, Miscellaneous Writings 1884 - 1896, Mary Baker Eddy shares:

"We have nothing to fear
when Love is at the helm of thought,
but everything to enjoy on earth
and in heaven."

Little by little, I let myself trust again. I learned to listen without condition. I stopped believing that a particular outcome was the measure of God's guidance. His timing became my "right on time" -- not the other way around. I was willing to sit in the space of not knowing "why," and still trust that where the voice of Love was leading me -- however unclear to my human sense of things -- was a place where I would grown to trust God more.

I discovered that the goal wasn't to get it right, the goal was to deepen into an unshakable relationship of trust with my Father-Mother God. This became everything.

offered with Love,


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