It seems like ages since I felt compelled to write in my personal blog. I have been posting in my Wellspring Community blog and business blog Simplified Living for the most part. Oh yes, and I must not forget a new blog I started, I Luv Fayetteville where I did a lot of posting. But now it is time to focus on me, me, and more me! I know this sounds terribly selfish since I am a follower of Jesus and I am called to serve others selflessly. The “me generation” where people focus on fulfilling their own personal dreams at the expense of others has given focusing on one’s self a bad rap as well. I know that I have been heavily influenced by this scripture:
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew. 16:24-26
As I read this scripture again, what I am seeing is that he is saying that the most important thing we can do is focus on our soul development. I realize now that I have been focusing on my self-development.
Even though my life is devoted to service, I have escaped the nurturing of my soul, rationalizing that since I was serving, this lack of attention to my inner self was okay. And yes, I have poured myself into dealing with my emotions and so forth–but so much of it was my self effort. This can be compared to an analogy I learned from David Takle, author of Forming: I have been rowing with my own effort on my spiritual path instead of doing those things that will raise the sails so that the wind of God’s grace can transform my being.
It is scary for me to even state publicly that I feel I am in a new stage of development. Yet I take courage. I have confidence more than ever before that God is with me. That His wind of love and grace is blowing into my sails even as I write. The fear of someone criticizing me seems to have lost it hold. To know for sure, I can only put myself out there and then see if someone criticizes me. I have more confidence than I ever have had before that I can go to Jesus and present my distress and healing will be the result.
I want to share a memory that has never left me and has caused a huge amount of pain in my life. Recently, I have been re-visiting that memory and asking Jesus to be there with me, and teach me what I need to learn as well as where he was when this memory happened.
Even though this happened about 35 years ago, when I was about 25 years old, the memory is fresh and used to be fraught with pain. Now when I remember it, all I can see is Jesus present, lovingly sitting in the circle of people who at that time contributed to so much pain in my heart. I feel so grateful that I have learned the Immanuel Approach, developed by Karl Lehman and friends. This prayer method has helped me immensely in this journey of soul nurturing, and I even this minute feel so grateful to Karl and his wife Charolotte, and a teacher of the Immanuel Appraoch , Jessie Handy who met with me when I visted Reba Fellowship Place, a Christian Community in Chicago.
You see, these memories, poisitive and negative, have power in our lives to control the present. My goal is that every negatively charged memroiy will be transformed into a patch on a beautiful quilt which describes my whole life up until now. And every thing that happenes to me from now on will be in the presence of my beloved Jesus who loves me so much.
As I write this, I listen to beautiful Celtic music that stirs my soul. Robert and Mahriyanna are the living room where they are chatting quietly. As tears stream down my face, they are able to continue on their loving interaction without needing to fix me. They know my tears are healing. This is the beauty of having to deal with the challenge of living in a small house where only room is warm. Yes, I could be in the office and turn on artificial heat-but there is something about just being with my family and writing this that is beautiful and adds to the richness of the experience.
The memory: I go back on a time machine of sorts to a sparsely furnished, spacious room, probably part of a hotel conference room. I am sitting with the now world famous facilitator and about 9 women and men. We have chosen to be part of what is called an “intensive”. a longer version of the weekend transformational seminar which was designed to help us fulfill our highest potential. I was part of the team which produced the seminars in San Diego. As a perk, I got to attend this seminar for free as a participant. In fact, for a solid year, I attended monthly weekend seminars to help coordinate the volunteers during the events as well as to a great extent participate in the various exercises and teachings. My deepest desire was to realize my highest potential and heal those things in my life which were keeping me from being all I wanted to be. The facilitator promised me that this was going to be the result of me being involved with these seminars.
During this particular circle, we were asked to share our deepest secret which we felt we could not share with anyone. We were reassured that this was a safe place to reveal the inner most expression of our hearts. As I write this, music is coming on that is stirring my heart. I am seeing that Jesus was loving each person in this circle, that he loves us equally and yearns for us all to be connected to him in an intimate, life changing relationship where all the desires of our heart can be fulfilled. How could that song have come on in that minute? I feel like I am in a transformational seminar right now, facilitated by Jesus!
I felt safe. And so I shared what was the scariest thing I could possibly reveal.
“I yearn to be a guru, a teacher. I want people to look up to me and respect me. But I also feel as if I am better than all of you. I know that is wrong–but that is how I feel.”
There. Finally. What a relief. To bare my soul like that was a relief. Now, there would be healing, right? The facilitator, my trusted self-esteem building seminar leader who wanted me to have healing would do something to facilitate a life-changing moment. Oops. I was wrong. Dead wrong.
“Who wants to follow Patricia? Who would like her to be your teacher?” Facilitator demanded rather harshly of the participants sitting in that tragic circle. At first, a moment of silence. But then the nightmare began.
“I wouldn’t want to follow you,” said a blonde woman emphatically. “Even though I am messed up, addicted to alcohol and have a lot of problems–you certainly are no better than me.”
I felt crushed. My intention was not to lord my superiority over them. In fact, I yearned to be cured of this issue of pride. I knew it was wrong. But the comments continued without intervention from facilitator.
“I wouldn’t want you to be my teacher,” spat out a dark-haired, heavy set man. “As many problems as I have, I wouldn’t trust you.”
Another woman chipped in. “No, I would never follow you. How disgusting that you think you could even be a guru.”
As I sat there, I felt overwhelmed with so many feelings. Shock. Fear. Sadness. Anger. A perception that I had been betrayed which lead to a feeling of confusion. I felt heavy, discouraged. Each person shared some reason why I was unworthy of their respect.
When I took this memory into prayer and asked Jesus where he was in this experience, I sensed him saying,
“I was sitting in that circle, telling you that I loved you with an everlasting love. My heart for you is healing. I want more than anything to be in your life and for you to understand that I am the safe place where you can always come–where I will accept you and gently heal and bind up your wounds. I am the person to which you can tell any secret and I will not betray you. But you could not hear me. How I yearned to take you into my arms like a little child, and rock you and let you cry as I stroked your hair and spoke consoling words to you. But it was as if there was a thick window between you and I.
“I would not violate your free will and force myself on you. You were still in a place where you were not connected to me. You were seeking me, but so many influences including Christians gave you the message that I was just a great teacher–not someone with which you could have a friendship, a relationship.
But I did surround you with a kind of force field of protection that kept you from completely falling apart. My whispers of love and comfort could get through enough so that your soul knew that you had been terribly betrayed and that your profession of guilt of feeling better than others was a crying out for help was a beautiful, courageous act. But I wept for you, my daughter, for this cruel thing that had been done to you.
I wept also for facilitator and all the participants, who missed out on an opportunity to help you to deal with this issue of pride. You see, people then, before, and even now, have been jealous of your gifts. And instead of helping you to work with the weakness of pride, they gave into their weakness of self-pity and envy. Even your vulnerability and willingness to be transparent has been exploited.
At last you know that yes, you have a tremendous amount of gifts, but you have been arrogant, frustrated with other’s weaknesses, and angry with those who have hurt you. This is your greatest weakness–not being able to celebrate others and their strengths. Yes, you have the gift of encouragement, but you have dished out the encouragement too many times with a subtle, sub-conscious attitude of still being better than others who you praise. You even feel better than others as you celebrate how great you are at encouraging others!
Yes, I know this truth hurts, my dear, but now you can handle this coming from the one who loves you and ONLY wants the best from you. And now you can hear from others humbly, and be taught, and sort out what is true, what is not, without over reacting with anger or sadness.
I am giving you the gift. of freedom from the fear of man. Actually, it is not so much a gift, as what is your divine birthright. But because of your fear of man, you have been devastated time after time when you were rejected. You don’t even have to go back through all the rejections to heal them because you have gone deep into this one memory. They no longer have power over you. When you relive the memories, you can now respond with forgiveness and compassion and prayer instead of resentment.
Rise my child, be renewed in my love. Yesterday I gave you the three qualities for you to focus on. Play with them. Celebrate them as my gifts.
Courage–to be honest, vulnerable, and to tell the truth in love without fear.
Compassion–to see each person as hurting children who I long to heal, and your heart opens to them in ways you never thought possible with beauty and grace.
Humility–A constant remembrance that I love each of my creatures equally. No matter how many or few their gifts, they are each precious in my sight. Humility means to be fully in touch with your strengths and weaknesses without needing to feel better than. Humility means celebrating all you have done and who you are as my child, and doing the same for others. This is your hardest test, but I will constantly teach you as you open to my presence.”
As I let all this soak in, with Celtic music in the back ground interspersed with advertisements which I finally figured out I could block out by taking out my ear buds, I ask Jesus, “Is there anything else you want to teach me? I feel so grateful for all this, but I am not quite ready to stop writing.” You see, I have actually re-visited that memory and have gotten new insights even as I write this. I close my eyes and imagine Jesus in front of me.
He gazes at me with steady, unchanging eyes of love.
“It will not be easy for you to re-enter the world of interaction with others and to integrate all that I have told you. Your biggest challenge is to be in the present, grateful for each interaction and activity. Your deep need and longing to heal the whole world can keep you from healing yourself and those around you. Remember that time when you were at the Matthew Fox lecture with Robert and you asked the question of Matthew, “Why was it that great people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr and Lincoln had such a hard time nurturing their families?”
Do you remember that the answer that was given did not satisfy your soul? But what you were really saying was, “I want to be a world changer like these men. I long to have their influence and even fame–only so that I can make a huge difference. But I have a hard time wanting to focus on nurturing my children and those who are close to me. Can you help me?”
That was 23 years ago, and you have been wrestling with this problem since then. Having children forced you to come to grips with this problem. You did not want to be unbalanced like so many great people. The yearning of your heart for community and kindred spirits drew you to have the children you now have, thanks to my intervention and my will. The capacity of your heart was stretched as you saw these pure, innocent souls who needed your love. Yes, you struggled with the stronger urges to want to escape the need to nurture these little ones.
What you were escaping was the vulnerability and pain that comes from doing those little things that build the foundation on which you could build a character that is world changing. You could not admit it, but you yearned for the fame and acknowledgement from others which then you hoped would fill that hole in your heart. Your parents could not fill that hole, and even contributed to the emptiness because of their lack of understanding of how to truly nurture you.
With your father gone for months at a time in his job in the Navy, your mother was depressed and not available. Your father, with similar tendencies as you, was escaping his life need to develop himself as a nurturing husband and father. Your mother escaped with food and service.
The whole person you wanted to be could never be accomplished even with perfect parental love–but only by them pointing you to me, as well as loving you with the compassion, understanding, and wisdom that could help you develop to be the person I yearn for you to be. Where were their examples? Love them, dear Patricia, with all your heart. They rose above extremely difficult circumstances of childhood which they never talked about. Remember, they never talked about their child hood stories.
Remember your dear parents and the wondrous memories they left you with. The time your mother held you in her arms, even if a rare time, because you thought you had received lower than an F on your report card for your hand writing. The times your father rose up early in the morning and took you fishing at Lake Otay, bringing a thermos of hot chocolate.
The beautiful vacations where you were able to camp in some of the loveliest places in the world, sleeping outside on your cot gazing at the stars. The smell of bacon and eggs frying early in the morning where your father loved to arise early to nurture his family using the clever camp kitchen that he built. Does this sound much like Robert?
Remember, dearest Patricia, how they had such good friends. Uncle Basil and Aunt Jean. Your name sake, Aunt Eileen and her husband. Visiting relatives all over the country including a lake in Massachusetts, Great Aunt in Kentuck on the farm, Grandfather Chobot on the bay in Destin, Florida. buying you your own dog, Goldie.
Oh, so many beautiful memories, dear Patricia. Exercise your qualities of compassion, courage and humility whenever you think of your diseased parents and even your living siblings. All will be reconciled in time at very least in your own heart as you pray for them and reach out as you feel lead.
I am going to close this time with a final admonishment. You must trust in me to provide what you need and not push to work a lot because you think you have to. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.” must be uppermost in your mind as you are tempted to go into fear of want. You have a desperate need–for me–and to write and process and allow me to continue to heal your memories. Trust me. I will guide you. Whenever you fear, remember all the times I have provided for you. Write these things down so you can remember. Write them on your heart.
From this moment on, you can be with me unceasingly no matter what is happening. Just like Richard Warmbrant, who was tortured during the day yet could dance in exstacy at night, you can deal with all of life’s problems no matter how challenging–and draw closer to me. It is when you let me out of your sight that suffering ensue.
Lo, I am with you always. I have come that you might have life and that more abundantly. I will never sake you or leave you. I leave you the Holy Spirit. Take every thought captive. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, that is you, Patricia. You will be renewed. Rise up on wings of eagles when ever you feel the cares of the world. Do not worry. Trust in me. I love you with an everlasting love. For I so loved the world, that I gave my son to you to take care of you and remind you and show you my true nature.
Patricia, all the dreams of your heart to save the world and help bring my kingdom on earth as it is in heaven will be filled if you cling to me, stay close to me. I will help you.
I love you.
Peace be with you.”
Okay, I am back now. Patricia speaking. Whew! That was intense. Beautiful. Breathtaking. Listening to Celtic music. Having my family close by. Robert has had a healing with his daughter even as I went through this. Harmony. Love. Can it be–that truly, if I stay connected to Jesus–all the desires of my heart can be answered–that I don’t have to nag, try hard, push, struggle.
Okay, I am going to try this. And I am for sure going to read this again later and see what I get.
Thank you reader, Just knowing that members of my family, friends, and even strangers might get some benefit out of this inspired me and motivated me to take this time. I hope that you can learn more about how I learned this by going to www.kingdomformation.org and www.Immanuelapproach.com and www.lifemodel.org
And, I hope that the facilitator I mentioned might read this as well:) I forgive you, facilitator, and I pray that some day we can connect and talk about this.