Saturday, June 16, 2007

Soul Work and Surrender

About a month ago I offered God the opportunity to engage in some serious work with me on my soul and psyche. I had been frustrated with some very old issues that kept rearing their heads again and again in my life, and finally in desperation I decided to stop trying to do it all myself (as is my usual MO). I decided to stop trying so blasted hard to barge my way through this, to stop willing it to change, to stop struggling with myself so hard. I decided to try to relax with it a bit, take a deep breath and (gasp) surrender and see what God would do with the whole business and with me.

God seems to have taken me at my word, and God has been taking no chances with me getting the point! Rarely have I been beset with such serendipity, such a surfeit of synchronicity and apparent coincidence. Conversations, books that keeping leaping at me, random encounters with things on the internet (links to links to links), insights found while looking for other completely unrelated information, even things I overhear other people talking about, all center on the same theme, which “just happens” to be the one I have committed myself to, that of authenticity. Trying to bring my deepest, truest self to this endeavor of priesthood. Not some perfect person, someone who would be good enough, holy enough, perfect enough to be called priest. For this is what the chorus of critics in my head would have me think! But in my saner moments, I know this paragon is not who God called. God called the one she created in her own image as me, the me who is unencumbered by the masks and armor of false selves. The task of this time is to clear away that which is not true, that is not authentic, to gently allow all that is real to be birthed into being. To move away from anything that stands in the way of the priest God called me to be. I’ve been thinking about what it is I am called to leave by the side of the road in the quest to follow Jesus. It seems it is the masks and the armor of the false selves. What could be harder? What could I be more attached to? They have been the stuff of survival for so long. To step out in radical trust that I can live as that authentic being requires faith in God’s love at a soul level. And yet it is promised, that love. Jesus prayed that all may be one. I can’t help but wonder if some part of that prayer was about a kind of an internal oneness – a life without subterfuge, a totally authentic life like the one He lived. And I think again about the Incarnation discussion from last week, the great “both/and” Jesus showing us who we can be…..

Soul work is not for wimps. I am grateful for good people and good tools. Yoga is helpful. Breath, awareness, observing, practicing the balance of clear-seeing and equanimity, remaining conscious as much as possible, acceptance, non-judging. It is definitely a practice. And a process. And new life does grow here. Thanks be to God.


Gannet Girl said...

Ok -- I've been thinking about this: Soul work is not for wimps.

I have concluded that I must beg to disagree. VBG! I am pretty much of a wimp. And yet ~ God is doing amazing things in my life. I don't think we need to be brave or strong or really anything at all in particular. We just need to leave the door open a tiny crack, and we don't even need to know we're doing it.

RevDrKate said...

You know that is really a good point. I havee been reading Sue Monk Kidd's When the Heart Waits and she is talking about a kind of second level letting go that happens that she talks about as "letting go of our letting go", "giving up fo self-efforts and allow God to intercede and draw us to our moment of readiness." It resonates as a place that I can see from here, almost touch and am getting closer to daily. And absolutely, it rquires nothing of us, because it is not about us or "of" us but grace alone. Thanks! Takes me another step!

Silent said...

Thanks for stopping by my place on Saturday. If you think my sermon would be meaningful to the young woman you spoke of, please do share it.

Thanks again.

Katherine E. said...

Ah, your post is so great. Thank you. You've articulate much of my heart and my life's work/calling. Thanks for stopping by at my blog...I'm VERY glad to "meet" you!

Tandaina said...

Thank you for the post Kate!! I can see myself thinking the same thing. That somehow I have to be perfect for this call. I'm sure part of it is the feeling of need to "prove" I'm good enough to all the various folks who can say yea or nae but part of it is the need to feel "worthy" of what God is calling me to. You've given me a lot to think about. Thank you!