The powerful winds swirled and twisted around my body as I stood there motionless. It danced so close to me, yet left me completely unscathed. It circled round me as if I was the eye of it’s existence standing there in it’s center completely calm and at peace. My arms hung by my side, but turned up toward the sky from my elbows so my hands could face the Heavens. My hands, my wide open hands faced the Heavens. For once they weren’t clenched tight unable to receive something should someone have something for me to receive. They were open and my disposition accepting.
I wore ordinary clothes, jeans and a T-shirt, and my hair was pulled back in a ponytail. My face wore neither joy nor pain, just peace and an overwhelming sense of calm, even in the midst of the great storm swirling around me.
This is the image of myself I’ve repeatedly been seeing as I pray. Tonight as I talked through this with a dear friend and spiritual mentor I began to see deeper meaning in this image.
That image of me in the storm with my hands wide open was a curious way to continue picturing myself. I chased my curiosity looking and asking for meaning behind this visual. What I found was God has been stripping me. He is the storm. He is the great wind whipping around me and brushing over my open hands. It is His own Presence that is stripping me.
The way my year has been unfolding has taken me on a journey that has often been uncomfortable, scary, and exciting all at once. It’s pushed me into a place where I wouldn’t have gone on my own without God’s guidance, to this new place where I metaphorically found myself standing right there in the middle of the storm, being turned into something new.
God opened the palms of my hands wide so I could and would be able to receive. He continued the process of stripping me of my old ways. His presence cleansed me and created a new space, a new way of existing that wasn’t there before – a path of least resistance of sorts. He took away all of the false parts of my life, stripped me of the old and has made me new.
He’s calmed the storm and parted the clouds, revealing the new path laid out before me. The new path seems much more peaceful and fitting – unclear for sure – but God lovingly warms the dirt beneath my feet as I step out on His path, guided by His light.
His path. His light. That is what it means to accept and walk in God’s will for our lives, to pursue His path and not our own, simply one step at a time right where we are.
I recently finished reading Matthew Kelly’s newly released book, Resisting Happiness. I write about Matthew’s work a lot because it pushes me, and encourages me to seek a better life for myself, a truer life, a life of freedom where I can live authentically as my truest self. The story of our lives is that we often find ourselves resisting happiness (that is, God’s ultimate path for us) and that resistance deals us an unnecessary amount of unhappiness and friction. It puts us right in the storm I kept picturing myself in.
It’s easy to approach life paying no attention to the condition of our souls, but our souls are ultimately our greatest director of our own happiness. Our souls are dying to be fed. Matthew writes, “Recognize when your soul is hungry.” When we feel a hunger within us, a desire for something, a restlessness, it’s important to tap into what our souls are actually hungry for rather than allowing our humanity to blind us. Our souls are like the compass for our life path. When we place barriers between our soul and our mind or our emotions, we lose our way and become blind to the happiness God has in store for us.
Matthew writes about the concept of resisting our own happiness. How many times do we create a space of resistance in our lives? Our habits and our human desires often take the train of our lives off track little by little. The resistance we create doesn’t feed our soul, the resistance instead feeds our distraction and steals our happiness. All that distraction repeatedly puts us into the middle of the storm, just like the storm I kept seeing myself in.
There I was standing in the midst of my own resistance to happiness, my bad habits, and former ways of existing. Still God so graciously (as He always does) waited patiently for my invitation to pluck me up out of the storm. He waited for me to invite Him into a space where He could strip me of the excess that was getting in my way and tripping me up. My soul has led me to this new space, this space of freedom. Do you want to know how I know it’s a space from God?
It’s peaceful. My soul feels at peace.
Eliminate your own stubborn resistance to happiness. Live Peacefully. Live soulfully. Live Authentically. Live fully as your truest self.
Laughs and Love,