26 March 2008

The Fruits of Radical Faith?

Over the past few months, worship has been filled more and more with calls to radical faith. I hear these calls weekly in my heart, and quite often on the lips of other Friends.

Personally, I keep getting the message to be a lily of the field. I am not to worry about the outcome of what I am asked to do, just to do it and trust God to handle the rest. This is a huge challenge for me, and I definitely need the weekly reminders to relax and trust in God. He's got my back, okay? It's fine for me to do my little bit, let go, and leave things in God's hands. Really. C'mon, Heather, LET GO ALREADY!

For the Meeting, I am hearing that we need to do the same thing: let go and trust in whatever God's got planned for the Meeting. Maybe we don't need to make sure that every i is crossed and t is dotted before we move forward. Maybe God wants us to cross the ts and dot the is instead. Maybe we should just GET OUT OF THE WAY and let Spirit MOVE.

Well, when God shouts at me repeatedly, I hear. That doesn't always make it easy for me to obey, but at least I'm clear about what is expected of me.

The leading I'm finding it hardest to follow right now is personal. Moreover, it's something I want to do, something that delights me. This has made me question repeatedly whether it can really be a leading, and why I am being led to do it. The answer I keep receiving is that I don't need to understand, that I should just relax, enjoy it, and leave the driving up to God.

This is almost impossible. I can follow leadings to do things that are difficult and unpleasant more easily than I can follow a leading to relax and enjoy myself.

It is my Father's good, good pleasure
To give me the kingdom as I live and breathe.

That song keeps recurring to me. God has given me so many gifts in this life: friends, family, trees, healing, learning, natural beauty, bodily comforts, safety, protection, and much, much else. Why is it so hard to accept that I might be led to do something that is easy and pleasant to do?

Much that has been asked of me this last year has not been easy and pleasant, but has been difficult and has stretched me.

I heard a Friend's laugh yesterday in the distance and went up to tell her how much it delighted me.

"Oh, I know, I have a terrible laugh," she said.

"I love your laugh."

She laughed again, "Maybe I should just accept the compliment instead of arguing with it?"

Maybe I should just accept God's gifts instead of arguing with them.


Stefaneener said...

Surely a loving heavenly Parent would want us to exercise gifts that bring us joy? I know as limited as I do that's what I want for my children. That and them to keep their rooms clean. . .

HysteryWitch said...

I too am hearing a strong message to trust in the wisdom of my calling despite my rational brain's uncertainties. As you say, it does not always make it easier to obey. Trust and jump. Yikes!

Stefaneener, my experience with following Divine leadings has led me to believe that while joy may be the result of obedience to Her call, happiness is not guaranteed. Often I am asked to do things that I find challenging and even unpleasant. I can think of few spiritual way-showers who have not also experienced great anxiety, sadness and unpleasantness as a result of their service to the Divine.

I differentiate between joy and happiness. Happiness is a fleeting, temporary emotion. It may result from loving service to the Light but it can also result from hedonistic disregard of others' needs and rights. Joy is a far deeper state that may include happiness but often also exists with sorrow, discomfort and anxiety. To experience that more profound state, I must be willing to endure some painful sacrifice.

So I look for that point at which my joy and my obligations to my community intersect. That's usually where I feel compelled to jump. I just always hope like hell that it isn't going to hurt much when I land.

Judy Brutz said...

When we are playful, finding joy, oh how much easier for God to work through us. Our barriers are down and we are open.

cath said...

Sometimes radical faith (especially in following a leading) can result in more tests than a person would want. Staying true to what you know is of the Spirit and meant for you is a very hard thing to do when there are many obstacles.

That's how it's shaking out for me. But I have hope. My leading has been affirmed in so many ways--I just need to be patient and let the world catch up. :)


RichardM said...

Your thought that since the project seems so appealing to you that the inner prompting to do it might be from your own ego instead of from the Spirit is actually quite logical. People do make this sort of mistake so it makes sense to question it. But on the other hand the fact that the leading seems attractive to you doesn't mean that it's not the real thing.

At this point it's good to look outside yourself for signs to help you discern. When you mention the possibility of doing this to weighty Friends what is there reaction? Do they caution you to reflect more deeply on it or do they brighten at the thought of you doing this? Have you detected any signs of Way opening for this project? For example did some other responsibility that was taking up some of your time and energy suddenly lifted from your shoulders to make space for the new project? Did something or someone that would help you with the project suddenly appear in your life unexpectedly?

If weighty Friends do not discourage this and if signs of Way opening appear, then don't hold back from following the leading just because you think you might like it!

Liz Opp said...

I unite with what Richard lifts up here. ...It's been a while since you wrote this post, Heather. Is there any update you might share with us....?

And Richard, I appreciate the clarity with which you identify some of how we test leadings with one another and some of the "external pointers" that might help us understand the groundedness of the leading.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up