From the Inside Out

Autumn has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere.  A welcome change for some; for others, not so much.  A seasonal change, even when welcome, is still change.

Few of us enjoy change.  Yet, as we mature spiritually (no matter what our calendar age), we realize that change is easier when it occurs from the inside out, as we choose to change ourselves first.

I believe we reach this conclusion after we’ve tried all the other changes, sometimes called “cures.”  You know them if you’ve tried them, Blessed Reader: the Geographic Cure of moving to another city because we’ll have more fun there.  The Re-Decorating Cure when we spend a fortune on new furniture and artwork.  The Diet Cure which requires that we eat pounds and pounds of kale and forsake ice cream forever.  The Divorce Cure because the other person wasn’t “it.”  The New Job Cure because our boss was a jerk and our co-workers were lazy.  The New Car Cure because everyone else has one. The New Friend Cure because none of our old friends really understand or appreciate us.

The Common Denominator is always the same: We are.  And if we don’t change, from the inside out first, none of the “cures” matter.   So, if we truly want to transform our lives, we need to do our own inner work so our outer experiences also reflect those changes.  It’s a simple process, though not always easy.  Because the truth is: We can’t change the past, particular situations, or other people.  Though we can choose to change ourselves, our beliefs and our behavior.

Transforming from the inside out requires that we be willing to:

  • Remove our hands from the Universal Steering Wheel, take our seat, fasten our seat belt and the leave the “driving” to God;
  • Put on our own oxygen mask first, which includes our daily time for prayer, meditation and self-care;
  • Withstand stillness, silence and “delays”;
  • Reconsider our opinions, as well as our limitations, and continually surrender them, especially if they once worked, but no longer do;
  • Open our minds, hearts, ears and eyes so we know which messages are ours and which are someone else’s;
  • Release unhealthy behaviors, habits and relationships;
  • Recognize that we may never know all the sides of a story;
  • Acknowledge that sometimes our perspective is limited;
  • Accept – even if we don’t like it – that some people won’t understand our transformation and will belittle us, condemn us, or leave us.
  • Leave something for tomorrow, so we can sleep peacefully tonight;
  • Take time to relax and enjoy laughter, hugs, raindrops, snowflakes, moon glow, sunshine, love and delicacies which come in abundant ways.
  • Remember that time on this earthly plane is limited — and we get to choose how we want to live it.

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

Surrender — And Succeed

Sometimes, on our journeys of faith, we reach a juncture with jagged cliffs or steep drops.  If our goal is to reach the other side, whichever side that is, we need to dive or leap.  Either way, we need to let go and fully surrender ourselves and all which was, as we trust in God.

This kind of spiritual, transformational surrender is one of life’s greatest challenges.  When we reach whatever our precipice is, it’s usually because something in life isn’t cooperating with us, and all our personal efforts have failed to create fulfilling change.

As we scan the horizon, we can remember: We have all the inner resources we need to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.  These include our powers of intuition and discernment which help us determine how we want to live.  They also allow us to surrender ourselves and our limited vision to God Vision, something more awesome than what we already see.

While surrender often is considered an admission of defeat, it can be a powerful, positive, life-affirming act.  As Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla, former directors of Silent Unity suggest: When we surrender (also called letting go and letting God), we release our doubts and fears about outcome.  We shift from stagnating in a problem and make way for growth and transformation to occur.

When we surrender, we remember: We can change ourselves and our beliefs.  We also remember: We can’t change other people.  And, especially, we can’t change God.  Which means that no amount of bargaining, begging, crying, pleading or yelling will work.  Neither will shopping lists of everything we want and everything we don’t.

No matter what our situation, we can remember: God is Unconditional Love, Ever-Abiding Grace and Infinite Compassion.  God is not a short-order cook.  Which means, sometimes, things happen in divine ways, not our ways.  It also means that sometimes we believe we want our eggs sunny-side up, but they come scrambled.

That’s when we can choose whether we’ll fight for our way — or whether we’ll surrender to God’s.  Because divine outcome occurs either way.  And when we choose to surrender, life becomes much easier.

Furthermore, in surrender, we realize: Surrender isn’t quitting or sacrificing.  And letting go doesn’t mean giving up.  It means we cooperate with life — from a spiritual perspective.  Rather than staying stuck, we trust in divine outcome, even if we don’t know what that is.  We release our anxiety about results and stop forcing our will on things. We choose to shift our perspective and give the situation to God, remembering that God can only do for us what we allow God to do through us.  Then, we discover the best answers, ideas, solutions, places and companions we need for our ultimate well-being.

Remember Blessed Reader: The choice is always ours.  We can do it our way and stay stuck.  Or we can surrender to God’s Way — and succeed.

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