Spirituality, Liturgy and the Tao of Inner Peace
Several years ago, I was just starting out at my first real estate company, and we were all at a national convention. That was 2009, I think, and the real estate market was extremely tough. The bubble had burst and many realtors were struggling to make ends meet in a complex and difficult economy. At the convention, the speakers were very motivational, and I noticed they all had one common theme: they had all suffered greatly. Some had lost their entire family to tragedies; some had lost their wealth in one way or another; some had to overcome enormous physical handicaps. At the time, my mentor and broker, who had previously worked in the mental health field, was sitting next to me and I leaned over to say, “Does something horrible have to happen to you for you to be great??” His answer was simply, “Pretty much.”
I have thought a lot about that over the years and I’ve come to understand, that it is through struggles and trials that we grow and growth, my friends, is good. However, as the country song states, “it’s hell in the hallway.” In the 23rd chapter of Job, Job is crying out in pain and suffering from the miseries he is enduring, but in Verse 10, he proclaims,
Do you know how gold is refined? Bars of metal, along with scrap jewelry and gold pieces, are put into a fire in excess of 1,832 degrees fahrenheit and liquified, then borax and other chemicals are added to the liquid to remove any impurities the end result is pure gold. This is the refined gold that craftsmen use to fashion our precious artifacts, pieces of jewelry, and other valuables. So, if we think of ourselves as unrefined bars of metal, imagine the suffering of being turned to liquid and then having chemicals separate out the garbage in our lives. It’s not easy, nor is it meant to be, because to be our very best, to be able to do the work that He would have for us, we must purified by the “fire” of trials. Paul talks about this in his letters to the early churches He instructs them to put away the past, the way of the old self and to clothe ourselves with a new self, which is in Christ Jesus. When life seeks to refine us, we should count it all joy, not that it is easy or that it will be without pain, but because we are being made better for His purposes. If we can embrace those challenges, we then will be more equipped to help those who come behind us in their journey.
The Dalai Lama said, “When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength…” I suggest we find our inner strength!
So let’s talk about the child-self (yes, I’ve had lots of therapy, get over it and listen). The child says, “this is hard, I don’t wanna feel this way, where’s the chocolate? (alcohol, drugs, sex, insert your choice vice here), or poor me, let me just go back to what I’ve always done.” You have the choice to do those things, but at what cost? You will miss out on the blessing; you will miss out on what God has for you! You will miss out on your best self! When God, or the universe, this world, has a lesson for you — embrace it, learn from it, grow into that adult-self that is your most wonderful self! In the story of Job he knows that God has it under control. He knows, as the wisdom of many 12 step programs will tell you, there is a higher power. As I like to say, there are two things I know: There is a God, and I am not Her (Him, whatever).
When I was a little girl I had to get glasses in kindergarten (much sooner than many of my classmates) and I remember I had this little brown case with a girl on it, and it said “Be Patient with me, God isn’t finished with me yet.” So brothers and sisters I leave you with this good news – be patient and persevere; God got you here and God will see you through; GOD is not finished with you yet and He has great things in store — if you will keep your eyes on Him.
If you’re going through Hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared, don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there — Rodney Atkins
Love, (I love you and I know you can do it!)