"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead..." Romans 1:20

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Give It Up

"Give it all up and you get it all back." --Alan Cohen

Alan Cohen tells the story of the time he and a friend went to see a production of Godspell.  When they found their seats they discovered someone else in them.  Their seats had been sold twice.  Seeing that the other folks were getting upset about it Cohen remembered Jesus' teaching, "If someone wants your coat, give them your cloak as well." So he told his friend, "Let's let them have the seats," and went to the ticket office to explain the situation.  They were given two more tickets which turned out to be closer to the stage in a better location.  

Cohen then cites Luke 14:11's message, "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted." He says, "We will come out better in the long run if we allow God to take care of us."

As I was reading this I suddenly saw the imagery of breathing....you can't take another breath until you let the one you just took in go.  When a baby is born he takes his first breath and from that moment on he has to let it go in order to have life.  If you let your breath go, your lungs will automatically take in another breath unless something interferes.   It's as though God designed life from the very beginning to be all about letting go in order to receive.  Hanging onto things is not God's plan for us.  It's that's way for our bodies....we take in the air we breathe and the food we eat, but if we hold on to air and food, we can become ill.  It must eventually leave the body.  Our emotions are the result of our thoughts and make life more interesting, but if we hold on to them and don't let them go, we can become psychologically ill.  Spiritually, we are constantly receiving love from God, but if we don't share it, we can become spiritually ill.

Cohen says we often look back at the "good old days" and think "when we were really happy."  He says, "If I enjoyed something in such a way that I feel sorrow for its absence, I enjoyed it in the wrong way."  The only way to experience something the right way--in a way that will set you free to be happy now and later--is to "enjoy the eternal, Godly, inner aspect of an experience."

In order for me to grasp what he was saying I had to think of something in my own life that I look back on and feel sorrow that it is gone.  For me that has been that my children grew up and I'm no longer a mother.  The fact that I feel sorrow is an indication that I enjoyed being a mother for the wrong reason.  Cohen's statement makes sense to me now.  The right reason would have been to love being a mother because I was bringing new life into the world and being given a chance to nurture those children and prepare them for their own lives once they reached adulthood.  Then when they went off to college I could have felt happy that I had fulfilled my calling.  I could have moved on to the next phase in my life and looked back from time to time with pleasant memories of the joy I experienced during those years.  Instead what I enjoyed was having children to take care of and feeling significant.  It was a very self-centered reason, and because of that if they were uncooperative, as children often are, and made it difficult for me to take care of them in the way they needed to be, I felt angry with them.....and I felt a failure in those moments....not at all significant.  I can see now that if I'd wanted to be a mother for the right reason--to enjoy the eternal, Godly, inner aspect of the experience and not in order to feel fulfilled--the whole experience, from the beginning through to the end, would have been much more enjoyable!

Father, that part of my life is over, but there is much more I can apply this new understanding to in my life.  To enjoy my life I must embrace all of it, even the difficult moments, knowing that in them I can grow even closer to You.

Link to scripture: Matthew 7:12

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