Tuesday, June 17, 2008

holding back

I find myself holding back and I can only imagine that it is tied to years of feeling wrong, out of place and judged. I do not want to go back there AND I do not want those chains to continue to have their hold on me. So, what’s a girl to do?

I find myself on a journey of amazing possibilities with forks in the road and so many choices to be made along the way. Do they all lead to the same place? Can choices be made along the path that look different for each of us and still lead to one source? I hear the voices of my past (and occasional present) saying, “Do not stray from the narrow path. If you do, you will be wrong. You will live in eternal hell.” Ironically, it feels more like hell to follow the narrow voices that want to rein me in—to keep me from living my true nature. But wait; would that be a “sinful” nature? The one that the devil tempts me to? Yikes. It all feels so dramatic and forced and fear-based. But the voices of judgment hang tough and strong, telling me to keep myself in check.

Could those strong and tough voices of judgment be from God? Is my true nature really evil and so I need hard and fast guardrails? I think not. My heart, my soul, my very being tells me to listen to the beauty…To trust that God will meet me where I am as long as it is God I am seeking.

Hmmm...I don’t believe it is God I have the problem with ☺. The challenge is to live in the world and follow my path regardless of how others tell me I “should” live. You see I believe that the Way of Jesus is love. Period. It is God I am seeking. It is God who is seeking me. Together, we will make our own path. Period.

If you are reading this, I chose to push “publish’ and let up on the holding back…a little ☺. Thoughts? Comments? Where do you choose to listen? Heart? Head? Man? God? How do you KNOW what YOU believe? How do you discern whether it is your belief or just a hangover of others’ voices? Where do you hold back?

15 comments:

blisschick said...

Yes, follow your heart. Christ was so very clear about the TWO things he came to teach (and why people can't get this?!): first, that love is IT, like you assert; and second, no fear -- as he demonstrated through his resurrection -- that the very thing we fear most of all (death) should not be feared. Therefore go out there and take risks and walk different paths and push your boundaries. All of it is play! As long as all you do is in love -- for yourself and others -- it can't and won't ever be "wrong."

sorrow11 said...

I had a conversation with my child once, I told him that God made everyone different, and in doing so, realized that there could never be just one way to God. So he left road maps,guides and well traveled paths. Now that doesn't mean it's the only way, because God is You and You are God.
I have always believed that our unhappiness and misery comes from when we do not follow our Heart. You need a little bear or stuffed animal, that when the voices of doubt and enter, when the inner fear and critics start their caterwauling you can pick up the Bear and say " I hear you! Now shut up! ...thank you", it works for me most days..
and then there are the days i pick it up 10x..
~snort~
This above all things, be good to yourself, you are a gift from the highest source.

Kel said...

i think the art of discernment often involves listening to all four - Heart, Head, Man, God - and knowing which percent of which message you believe you are hearing you will act on.

as i mature, knowing what one believes, has become less about knowing, more about not knowing, about embracing mystery, and being willing to sit with that unknowing

a gauge i always recommend is, "go with your gut" which is another way of saying listen to your heart
what is your body telling you - the body never lies

i hold back on trying to make those who tell me how i should live "see the light", i hold back on spending too much time with them

Tess said...

I was going to write a lengthy response to this, but having re-read it, I'm just going to say this: trust yourself, you are a child of God.

Country Parson (Steven Woolley) said...

Robert Bellah et al. in Habits of the Heart warned about following heart alone because it can be so easily manipulated by whims of the moment. My own tradition has long followed that advice by asserting that faith, and therefore our lives, must be rooted not only in heart, but also scripture, tradition and reason. Scripture as the reliable revelation of God's engagement with humanity, and although the words remain the same they day by day become filled with new meaning for new times. Tradition as thousands of years of informed testimony from persons who have given their lives to a deeper and more profound understanding of where God is leading us. We would be foolish to ignore the legacy they have left to us. Reason as the gift of rational, creative, intuitive thinking that allows us to build on what has gone on before, laying down a new course not only for ourselves but also as solid stones upon which the next generation can build.

Abbey of the Arts said...

lucy, thanks for having the courage to name these inner conflicts. I have been having similar internal movements, with slightly different language attached. So I will just echo what Tess says, to trust yourself, especially those words about dancing in the spacious and wide landscape rather than the narrow one. I believe that God is so abundant that there will always be a multitude of paths, even for each person, that lead to grace.

lucy said...

blisschick--
thank you so much for weighing in here. so really we have two choices in life...to either live in love or in fear. which leads us back to choosing love which is jesus' way. the tricky distinction comes when we say we are acting out of love and really it is fear-based. make sense? that fear is a sneaky thing, methinks.

sorrow11--i love the idea of "road maps,guides and well traveled paths" to follow. i know along my journey there are some paths that fit quite nicely to the soles of my feet and i feel quite at home there (and for me home is representative of God). other paths feel like i am walking in 4 inch heels on cobblestones, but they still can teach me something. other paths look like bridges on fire over a large ravine and given the choice, i will choose not to go there.

i love the imagery your comment has stirred for me. thank you!

Barbara said...

A wise woman named Denise taught me that, when I hear those scolding voices within, it is the Parental voice. If I let it get the upper hand, I will not be happy because she squelches that delightful Inner Child. I personally believe that it is the Inner Child that best connects with God. The Adult in you, that Country Parson referred to, I think, can take control and make sure that the Inner Child is respected and treated like the precious princess she is, beloved of God and all. The Adult is the kind and compassionate voice of reason.
Listen to these voices within and in your own voice (you can hear the difference!) and open your heart to the words of Scripture and to silence. If you feel a "tug", follow it. God does not desert you.

rebecca said...

Here is a quote from Marianne Williamson - I think we do "play small" and we sort of shrink things to fit -

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

It's in all of us - that is important to keep in mind. Trust yourself - don't let others create your house/world as they think it should be - build your own house/world, because you can, wonderfully well.

rebecca said...

I read your last paragraph and thought I didn't really answer your questions - I responded but I didn't answer (does that make sense). How do I KNOW what I believe? I know because it is uniquely me, mine - a core being, or is it knowing, something I can trace back to always having simply been there - yet at the same time it grows, flexes, changes, is influenced by everything I hear, read, learn, contemplate. I think we live too fast - and want someone to give us the one "right" answer - where maybe more then one answer might be "right". When you come to the fork in the road and wonder is the right or left the best way to go - maybe either will work just fine - just be different. Looking back and second guessing ourselves (oh, I shoulda - always a bad sign), or agonizing about the one right way (oh, I should - uhoh there it is again), can cause great pain, great uncertainty and I'm not sure it isn't a great waste of time and energy. Maybe it isn't whether we take the right or the left, but what we learn, what we do along the way with what we find as we walk that path. Maybe it is the path less travelled, and maybe it isn't.

Hmm, maybe I shouldn't answer when I'm so tired :).

lucy said...

kel--i like your concept of listening to all four--heart, head, man, God. heart is feeling, head is thinking, man is theory, God is knowing. when we operate on all four cylinders, kind of like a car, i believe we can come to a place of deep rest and knowing. and i am with you on embracing the mystery!

tess--thank you. i like the wisdom in your brief words! :-) xoxooxoxo

thanks, cp--i am not familiar with bellah, but can see where following the heart sentimentally one could easily sway with the wind. grounded, however, with tradition and reason as well as scripture, i still believe the heart to be more trustworthy than the brain which easily gets sidetracked by the ego.

christine--thank you for the reminder of the image of "dancing in the spacious and wide landscape." i look forward to more conversation about this! xoxoxoox

Karen said...

When it comes to spirituality, I never hold back--and it's one of the few things I'm NOT afraid of. I truly believe that all paths are valid, and that God is everything. What holds me back is accepting that I am God (that we are all God)--which means I need to work harder on the self-acceptance and self-love. If that makes sense....

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Lucy - you bring out the best comments from your readers! I am astounded to read your beautiful posts and then to have the joy of hearing such profound words from your readers. I am going to rest in the words of all of you tonight.

xoxoxoxoxoxo

lucy said...

barbara--i really appreciate your look at this post and whether or not CP was referring to the "adult" who can foster the inner child's growth, the description really resonated with me. i find myself wondering why some voices seem so much more "parental" in tone than others...but i guess it doesn't take a whole lot to figure that out once i think about it.

rebecca--thank you so much for the marianne williamson quote! right on!!! after all, "We are all meant to shine, as children do."

also, i love your (tired?) response :-) it's like you took the words from my brain and put them on paper. thank you!! i really appreciate the thoughtfulness, energy and time you took to comment on this post! let your light shine on, sister!!

karen--i get a little caught on the "i am God" thing too. i can get really close with God is in each of us...we manifest God...i can clearly see God in others, but "i am God?"...i can't quite get there yet :-) thanks for your clarity and honesty!!!

SS--i totally agree that these are great comments. i would love to hear what you have to say too!
xoxooxoxooxoxo


THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR WONDERFUL INPUT AND COMMENTS!!!!! i am blessed to have you here...truly blessed!

Sue said...

I love these comments as much as I love the post :) Great stuff, Lucy and friends :)