Into the Depths – Part 2

To live our true purpose and truly enjoy our lives, we must relinquish Tip-of-the-Iceberg/Second-Hand Living and venture into the depths.  This is what Jesus did and what he taught his first disciples.  (See Luke 5:3-11)

. . . Jesus . . . told Simon: “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”  Simon answered, “Teacher, we’ve worked all night but haven’t caught anything. Yet, if you say so, we’ll let down the nets.”   When they did, they caught so many fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to help them.  Then, they filled both boats, which began to sink.  When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’s knees, amazed at the amount of fish.  James and John, Simon’s partners, also were amazed.  Then Jesus said: “Do not fear; from now on you will catch people [i.e., serve others].”  When they brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.

Truly, Simon Peter, James and John witnessed the power within the depths.  As these former fishermen worked with Jesus, as both students and teachers, they discovered true abundance in their purpose.  Not only did they have literal food to nourish themselves and others, but spiritual food as well.

The same is true for us.  When we tune into God, cast our nets wide in the depths, and listen to our own still, small voice, we’re free to live our purpose.  We discover that this purpose nourishes us – and others also.  Even if we haven’t discovered our exact purpose yet, we can remain faithful.  We can hear our still, small voice, calling us to a new course or greater depths.

These practical steps make navigating the depths easier:

  • Pray and meditate in silence daily.
  • Journal, doodle or sketch your random feelings and thoughts. When you do, ask yourself: “What treasures am I seeking in the depths?” Then be still and listen to what you discover.
  • Connect with one trusted individual, specifically trained to listen to you, so you can hear yourself.
  • Consider which people, living and/or deceased, you most admire. When you consider how they live(d) their life purpose, note how their journey is inspiring yours.
  • Notice the ebb and flow of your energy during the day, noting which things you do that “should” be done, especially if they drain you and keep you in the shallows.
  • Notice when you watch the clock and when you lose all sense of time, having fun, absorbed in joy. When we’re absorbed in joy, we’re either living our purpose or we’re very close to it.
  • Notice what tugs at your heart strings and brings you to tears. That’s your heart opening, so your still, small voice can speak.  Be still and listen.

Remember: All the faith we need to live our purpose and love our lives is already within us.  In the depths, we feel it fully.  Then we know that wherever and however we are, God is.

© 2016 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.

Into the Depths – Part 1

As we faithfully travel our life’s journey, we often reach a point when our previous ways of being, thinking, believing and/or doing no longer work.  While this realization may be scary, it’s also liberating because it frees us to discern how we truly wish to live.  It invites us to discover what serves our lives the most.  It encourages us to live the truly balanced life we seek.  Ultimately, it draws us out of the shallows of Tip-of-the-Iceberg/Second-Hand Living.

Perhaps, Blessed Reader, you recognize those shallows: Where we forever seek, though rarely find.  Dabble a bit here and there.  Live vicariously through social media, movies or television.  Indulge in substances or behaviors which rarely nourish or satisfy.  Where we stay stuck because we think we’re safe.  Or because we falsely believe that if we wish hard enough for something to happen that the God of attraction and magical thinking will do things our way, wave a wand, and change our lives for us.

When we remain in the shallows, rather than venturing into the depths, we usually miss the beautiful, sacred, still small voice — or loud, clanging gong — which always seeks our attention.  This voice is the wisdom and intuition within us, urging us to go beyond the shallows, so we can live our true life purpose.

When we ignore our still, small voice, we stifle the awesome, creative, divine presence of God within us.  We neglect our own self-care by refusing to put on our own oxygen masks first.  We limit our personal potential by denying our authenticity.  In the process, we may feel physically depleted, especially because we lose our connection to God and we forget to trust our own hearts.  Our hearts, which continually call us to leave the shallows and explore new depths.

To truly discern our life purpose – our highest calling – we need to dive deep, into ourselves, and into silence and stillness, so we can connect with God.  In the depths, we discern and know intuitively, through spiritual understanding, wisdom and faith, the truth of ourselves and our lives – the stuff we like and the stuff we don’t.  This process of discernment helps us see beyond outer appearances to infinite possibilities, so we can live as we truly desire.

The only way to discern our true hearts’ desires is to give up Tip-of-the-Iceberg/Second-Hand Living and move into the depths, an often untested or uncharted territory.  In the depths, we understand – perhaps for the first time – that anything less than living our personal truth and making our dreams come true will not work.

In Part 2, a story about finding treasures in the deep and some practical ways to navigate the depths.

© 2016 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.

Balance and Flow – Part 2

Flowing with life is a key to contentment, especially when priorities appear confusing.  Jesus explained this, in the brief story of “Mary and Martha” (Luke 10:38-42).

A woman named Martha welcomed Jesus into her house.  She had a sister, Mary, who listened to Jesus teach.  But Martha was distracted with serving.  She said to Jesus, “Teacher, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her to help me.”   Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha, you’re anxious and troubled about many things, but few things are necessary.  Mary has chosen the best portion, which will not be taken from her.”

Often, this story provokes an “Ooo,” as if to suggest that Mary is holier than Martha, or that serving is “bad.”  Or that if we ever feel anxious, we’re disconnected from God.  None of which is true.

Rather, it invites us to consider that Martha and Mary are aspects of ourselves and complements of one another.  Viewed from a Both/And perspective, they represent our hearts and minds, both equally important in our spiritual development and maturity.

Mary represents our receptive, heart-centered, being nature, which invites spiritual and emotional guidance by putting God first.  Martha represents our practical, mind-centered, doing nature, which maintains and manages our physical and mental well-being.

If our Mary nature becomes unbalanced, we may doubt ourselves and feel hopeless, lost or scattered.  Or we may become critical, telling others how they “should” feel.  If our Martha nature becomes unbalanced, we may feel impatient, sullen or worried.  We may give God directions and tell others how they “should” think.

So, the Both/And, “Ah-Ha,” of the story is that our hearts and minds are meant to harmonize: our hearts by being and our minds by doing.  Jesus encourages both.  He never says, “I choose only Mary to sit and listen.”

We also can balance our being and doing by taking some practical steps:

  • Set a spiritual schedule for daily prayer and meditation. Remember: God first; then everything else.
  • Set a worldly schedule which includes daily, weekly, monthly and annual self-care for our bodies, homes and vehicles so everything can to do its appointed task. Remember: Let’s not be so busy driving that we run out of gas.
  • Integrate times for rest, nourishment, play and work. Remember: We don’t get extra points for overdoing.  We just burn out.
  • Notice and acknowledge our myriad range of feelings and needs. Remember: Pretending that our feelings don’t matter or that we can sacrifice our needs isn’t spiritual.  It’s trying to be a robot, rather than a sacred spiritual being living an earthly existence.
  • Notice when and how we experience true contentment, even when we aren’t completely blissful. Remember: We can choose to feel as peaceful working as we can playing.

As we find our balance and continue our journeys, we also realize more of God’s presence and power, knowing that however and wherever we are, God is.

© 2016 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.