The Gift Of Emptiness

Seeing the good in what is left when everything you have has been taken away. 

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For centuries humans have recognized the benefit of stillness and quietness in forms of meditation and spiritual practice. For some of us, we already practice stillness and mindfulness in our daily rituals of prayer, meditation, yoga, journaling and decluttering walks. For others of us, it is not so easy. Life inundates us with lists of things to do. Now that we are “connected” all day to newsfeeds and tickers, pings, dings and rings, disconnecting is even more difficult to do, for fear of missing out! I usually say that “God sends people to the desert when he really wants to talk to them because the reception is really good out there.” I think there’s some truth to this. Barrenness and stillness is where we are most connected with the soul of the world.

One thing that we need to remember is this: where there is emptiness and barrenness, there is potential for miracles.

Sometimes the universe will deal us a heavy blow if for no other reason than to get our attention. One day everything is going smoothly. The next, we’ve lost our job, our house burns down, there is a divorce or a loved one passes away- in the blink of an eye the entire world has changed.

Sometimes the storms of life happen if for no reason but to bring us back to these places of nothingness so we can build again.

Sometimes life breaks us so we can be rebuilt from the pieces into something even more beautiful.

For some of us, the shock and grief of losing everything can throw us into quite the tailspin from which we have a difficult time trying to recover. Our pain comes not from our brokenness, but from our unwillingness to be broken. We have to learn to let go and be okay with being broken.

To understand what I am saying, one needs only to look at nature. None of the seasons last forever. There is the time for sowing seeds and time for harvesting, and then there are times when the land lies fallow, whether intentionally as a result of an individual, or due to corporate activity around it as in the wild. In and of itself, that land does not lose its worth. Farmers (Mother Nature included!) understand that leaving land unseeded for a while allows it to build up it’s nutrient resources before sowing seeds for harvest once more.

In wintertime there is snow covering the ground and the trees look dead, but we know for sure that when springtime rolls around the snow will thaw and the leaves and grass, flowers and animal life will all be back. So too, when life razes us and we feel like there is nothing left, right there in that moment is potential for growth- finding one’s self, hearing one’s soul; there is opportunity for rebirth among the ashes. We must remember first that this too is temporary- no season lasts forever; no storm lasts forever. We must not lose hope. We must look forward to the next season, and we must do it today.

 

Practicing mindfulness on a daily basis makes this recovery much easier. I’m not saying this to seem harsh or uncaring but quite the opposite- the self love and self care that goes into building this habit into our daily routine often pays off in the face of disaster. If our ear is already pressed to the soul of the world, then we are attuned to what the universe has to say even when, to the natural eye, everything has gone wrong. If we can find the strength in the midst of the storm to be still, we will find the strength to endure the storm. When we are removed from the noise, we can hear what the universe- what our souls- are trying to tell us. We can hear all the things that the busy-ness and business of life drowns out by keeping us distracted. God, as you understand him, is always there.

If you are facing emptiness and barrenness in any area of your life today, I want to encourage you to embrace it. This too is a gift.

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I’ve decided to call this series Lessons From The Lighthouse, in homage to the imagery found in the film, Life Of Pi. These lessons have served as an inspiration to me in my personal growth and development in the past year and half, and now, I’m sharing them with you. I hope that they are instrumental in helping you find your inner ability to create miracles in your own life.

Light & Love!

To find the entire series, click here.

Equipped To Survive…And To Live!

A huge part of “finding the extraordinary in the sacred ordinary” is being able to see the sacred in the ordinary. 

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As children, we believed in magic. We saw the world through innocent eyes- we believed the stories and knew in our hearts that all our dreams would come true.

Then, the storm came.

We grew up and some of those dreams didn’t come to pass. Someone we loved and made promises to made promises back and didn’t keep them. We had our hearts and our spirits broken by tragedy and violence. Our dining tables piled up with bills. Somewhere along the way we forgot about our magic and subscribed to “real life”.

We ruminate over things and let things linger from one day into the next, carrying along baggage with us that weighs us down. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. Our hopes are desperately sinking, and systematically being replaced with misery, or worse, complacency.

Too many times we travel through life feeling like we are inadequate.

Too often, we use our pasts as reasons not to try harder. We convince ourselves that where we are is all we’re ever going to be. That dream we once had is just a dream. There’s no way we could follow our dreams now!

We’re too old,

too tired,

too broke,

too small,

too insignificant,

too broken,

too busy,

too lost…

…the list of excuses goes on and on.

What we don’t realize is, that dream- no matter what it is- was placed on the inside of our hearts for a reason.

Let’s face it- everyone has been through something- some loss, some hurt, some pain- everyone has their own monster to face, their own obstacle to conquer. No one gets to corner the market on pain.

Here is the good news- 

No matter what you have been through, everything you need to survive this life is already inside you. 

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Even in the midst of the mighty, terrible storm, there is a plan. Nothing happens by coincidence. No one crosses your path by accident. Everything that has happened to you- both positive and negative- has happened to prepare you for what is now and what is to come. Embrace your experiences and validate your own existence by choosing to live your life on purpose!

If you can train your mind to see the good in yourself and the good in your story, you will find the courage to power through whatever it is that is holding you back from achieving your truest potential.

Training your mind to see the positive in the negative, the light in the darkness- seeing the sacred in the ordinary- gives us a glimpse of the divine in everything and in everyone.

And then…oh, my friends…then…

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Life begins!

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I’ve decided to call this series Lessons From The Lighthouse, in homage to the imagery found in the film, Life Of Pi. These lessons have served as an inspiration to me in my personal growth and development in the past year and half, and now, I’m sharing them with you. I hope that they are instrumental in helping you find your inner ability to create miracles in your own life.

Light & Love!

To find the entire series, click here.

Standing Firm On God’s Promises

Psalm 84:11: “No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”

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The beauty of being covered by the blood of Christ is that once born of His Spirit, we begin to see the world in a whole new way, we begin to perceive things differently. And with this new set of eyes, our value systems begin to change, and our everyday walk begins to change it’s shape. Suddenly the things that used to be pleasurable and fun, the negative things, just don’t seem to be fun anymore. We value the things that God values. And when we begin to live this way, our lives become truly blessed, for God rewards those who seek after Him.

In the Jewish culture, this weekend marks the beginning of a brand New Year. Let us all put on a brand new attitude, one of faith and confidence in the promises of God! Let us remember that our God is a faithful God, who seeks to reward those who love Him above all things. Let us remember that all things work out for good for those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28).

We are all called to fulfill some purpose while here on earth, and every facet of our lives is part of that kingdom building work! Remember that God always finishes what He started, and be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phillipians 1:6). And let us always remember that when we seek after the things that are of God– when we focus on His plans for us instead of our plans for us; when we allow Him to have control over our lives and our destinies, He promises to fulfill the desires of our hearts. (Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.)

My friends, the promises of God are sure and they are true. When we make His Word the foundation of our hope and our happiness, when we are standing securely in His Word, then no downturned economy, criminal background, chemical addiction, bad relationship or any other ghost of our past can take us out of the game! Because God’s promises are sure and strong, and they will sustain you even in the roughest times. When I think back over my life in the past ten years, I am grateful that I finally came to understand who God is and how truly powerful He is, and I see now that had I not been standing on His promises specifically in the past three years of my life, I would surely have given up. But when your source of hope comes from God, then there is always hope. And when God is your source of love, then there is always love. And love never fails. God will never fail you. He will never leave you, nor will He forsake you (Joshua 1:5). Remember that above anything else, He loves you so much , that he sent His Son to die in your place so that you can be free to live the life you have today (John 3:16) Jesus entered this world to take on the burden of our sins and the penalty of our sinfulness so that we could share His perfection.

Today, if our hearts are aligned with God, our walk is considered blameless, for there is no condemnation for us because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He gave his life so that we might truly live. Go boldly knowing that God rewards those who seek after Him. Declare your faith by speaking positive words over yourself, your loved ones, your situations and circumstances.

A Grateful Heart Is A Happy Heart

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“…the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying,
“Give thanks to the LORD Almighty,
for the LORD is good;
his love endures forever.”
For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 33:11, NIV)

The hand of the LORD was heavy upon His people, molding them, shaping them, purifying them into the people He knew He created them to be. In the face of their sinfulness, He had no choice but to deal with them according to their ways. That meant destruction and famine, homelessness and waste, sickness and death. But greater than His anger, was His love for them. For even among the darkness, God sent them a messenger who spoke to them words of hope.

Praising God is always the right thing to do, whether you are having a good day, but especially when you are not. God loves a cheerful heart, one that is full of faith and is willing and able to declare His name boldly in times of trouble. If we reflect, we can easily call to mind the times when God delivered us from some thing or other; times when we thought our backs were against the wall and we thought surely we were about to die! But if we remember clearly, God did not abandon us then. He came through, just at the right time, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

The reason why God loves a cheerful heart such as this is that the heart that remembers His faithfulness will always be faithful to Him. When we get in the practice of praising God, we get to the point where we are unstoppable—the obstacles don’t matter, and the disappointments don’t faze us—because our hearts are focused on the promises of God. Our faith, then, is built on the personal history we have with Him, a first hand knowledge that God is powerful and all-mighty and able to do what He said He would do. God calls us to be a powerful people such as this, a people who believe with their heart and worship Him in spirit and in truth. Purpose yourself to praise Him continuously, and watch the circumstances of your life transform into your most powerful testimony!