I love to read inspirational quotes and shorts from a bunch of different sources. I get some forwarded to me or I stumble across them and I sign up to receive the ongoing daily words. Having fallen out of the desire to be inspired by them, or having hit a few that just don’t move me to the degree of the one that caused me sign up in the first place, I tend to ignore them. Suddenly the inbox if filled with them. Too many—I’ve been spammed by God!
So I read the following this morning:
“Know that when you seek anything of your own, you will never find God, because you do not seek God purely. You are seeking something along with God, and you are acting just as if you were to make a candle out of God in order to look for something with it. Once one finds the things one is looking for, one throws the candle away. This is what you are doing.”
– Meister Eckhart.
Instant conviction—I’m using God as a candle. How often I am guilty of just that? I realize that many times in my earnest prayers I’m actually seeking my own will. Seeking out what I should do, what I should feel, what I should think. Yes, striking that match and lighting that candle will allow me to seek God’s will, or actually my will with God’s approval. I feel partnered with God and my will seems to be in line with what God would have me do or at least it seems that way. Truth be told, upon deeper reflection and analysis I’ve simply turned on the God candle—or maybe in this day and age the God Magnalite. I’m searching for surety, for the comfort of purpose using God as the vehicle for my peace of mind. Knowing God’s will allows me to have some control or the feeling of it anyway. So how do I know? I can feel myself getting all wrapped up in what will become a circle of thought and anxiety about who’s holding the flashlight.
“Be still and know that I am God” says the psalmist. In Hebrew the word for “still” in this case is to lay down arms, to surrender—not to stop my leg from bouncing or to stop biting my nails. Or maybe it means putting down my God candle and stopping the self-focused searching. It is possible that when I rest in God’s presence with no agenda, with no goal of clarity of purpose or thought, I experience a simple divine connection. There is a moment in which spirit to Spirit is in step and communion is real. That, out of an up swell of the spirit, the grace of God becomes a state of the soul. “My cup runs over” is apt. Response to this amazing love is to live in the present moment, in the presence of the Spirit. God’s will is revealed over time through my response. Mindfulness of God’s presence allows for a love-filled response to life now. How simple—how hard.