~During this month, I will have guest blogs from friends, family, and loved ones about how My Mended Heart has impacted them. Today's blog is written by my friend Howie Soucek. I hope you enjoy!~
There are so many meaningful quotations in Micah’s book, My Mended Heart, that it is difficult to pick just one at a time to comment about. However, this morning, Micah’s quotation appearing on page 44 insisted on my reflection here.
The associated scripture is from Romans 12:2, calling for us to be “inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think,” which happens to be the original, intended, and precise meaning of the word “Repent” in both Hebrew and Greek.
So, yes!—To repent is to have a paradigm shift in how we think about what is real and true; in how we think about our place as human beings in Relationship with God and His Kingdom; and in how we think about the awe-some power of our free will.
On page 44, Micah observes that, “When life blindsides us, we have a choice as to how we respond.” This points to our gift of free will, by which we are personally responsible for our progress along the Way that Jesus the Christ has shown us as the means to grow ever-closer in our Relationship with God. It is our repentance that allows us to understand this personal responsibility.
We make dozens of such choices every day (such as regarding what we say or how we say something to someone else). We think of them as little choices, but each choice is powerful and will move us either closer to God or not. We know that God yearns for our actions to be aligned with His Divine Will (such as to Love one another as Jesus showed us to do), and it is for us then to strive to align our personal will with God’s—The choice is ours! It is for us also to ponder what a Loving Relationship truly is, as something to diligently, consciously strive for.
Thus, when we lose someone dear to us, we are confronted with an enormous choice to make many times and in different ways along our journey—one which normally unfolds in time varyingly between two extremes.
At one extreme, we are consumed by a self-pity that expresses itself in a deep, depressive, isolating sorrow—and sometimes a confusing bewilderment or even anger and bitterness. However it is expressed, such self-pity is defensive and entails a withdrawal by and into the egoic self—and thus it is a turning away from the Presence of God. As we are flesh and bone, it is perfectly natural and normal that we have such a proclivity in the world we live in.
At the other extreme, we surrender our egoic self by deliberately (choosing to) “connect to the true power source” (page 44 of My Mended Heart). This does not require any struggle to overcome the obstacles generated by the egoic self, rather we make this connection simply by focusing our consciousness upon God. How? Jesus showed us the Way: It is a blend of ac-know-ledging and Loving God; it is being profoundly grateful for and en-joying the uncountable blessings poured upon us in each moment; it is recognizing them more and more as we progress on our journey; it is consciously, thoughtfully Loving, in humbling awe-some wonder our own being, our brothers and sisters in the world, and every element of our Creation-gift; and it is deliberately choosing to manifest this boundless Love through behaviors that assuage the effects of evil and that also nurture and encourage other people (especially those who suffer). Such help and support for others should be accordant to our unique gifts given us by our Lord to use, rather than designed by our egoic self to be impressive in a worldly way.
Remember that to do this, “the power is closer than you think” (page 44 of My Mended Heart)—so close, in fact, that you don’t even have to think about it. An example of tapping into this power (while also a great way to manifest God’s Love in helping others—especially in the face of your own personal suffering), is to “use your voice to tell your story” (page 44 of My Mended Heart). You can do this with a brief conversation, a long talk over coffee, a little written note, some poetry, or a full-blown book. Throughout, your presence—your attitude, demeanor, body language— and your heart also speaks volumes of comfort, even beyond the words that you have used.
When you tell your story (or any part of it) you are sharing yourself with the other person, and this just may be the best way possible for human beings to participate in the kind of innocent, compassionate, Loving Relationship that furthers us along our Way to God. Thus wonderfully, if ironically, “In the sending comes the mending” (page 23 of My Mended Heart) even though this was not your intent—It just happens by the Grace of God.
So repent! And, witness this Truth for yourself.
Finally, in using your voice to tell your story, “He gets the glory for every uncommon story” (page 44 of My Mended Heart), because nothing good, including healing, is possible for us to even choose to accept, except by God’s Will and in His sight. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Written by Howie Soucek