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.

The Sacrifice Of Praise

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Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:15-16 NIV)

God has been conditioning His people for centuries to respond favorably to Him in the midst of hard times. The fondest example we have of this is among the Israelites in the desert, and the way they complained and complained about what they did not have and could not do. They overlooked the fact that God had just rescued them from years of bondage under the mightiest rule in the land. That caused them to miss their blessing for forty years. Some of them never got to see the Promised Land, although it had been PROMISED them!

Depression is the brain’s response to mental stress. Like all other responses, it is either intrinsic (hereditary, just a part of your built-in character), or learned over time. The Good News is that our brains are created in such a way that they can be reprogrammed to give new responses in the same way you can reprogram a computer. You can train your brain to recognize stimuli and respond in a certain way. Know that God’s Promises to us are sure. He never starts something in us without completing it. He is the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end. Be assured that God has started a good work in you, one that He promises to see to completion. Regardless of what the facts say— the economy is a mess, you are unemployed, your relationship has failed- God is still in control and He says you have His favor!

What He asks of us is to offer Him a sacrifice of Praise.

A sacrifice is an offering (something you present as an act of worship) of something highly valued for the sake of one that is considered to have a greater value or claim. When we offer praise instead of complaints, we offer ourselves, and our pride, in exchange for the faith we have that God will do just what He promised in spite of the way things might seem. Praise takes our eyes off ourselves and off the problem and focuses our eyes on Him, the One From Whom All Good Things Come.

Amazing Faith was given to us so we can have Amazing Faith!