Only In Love…

“…then I can bury myself entirely in you, O mysterious God”

This morning my prayerful reflection was written by Karl Rahner SJ. It is a beautiful invitation into love, which is the presence and form of God.

God of My Life

Only in love can I find you,my God.
In love the gates of my soul spring open,
…..allowing me to breathe a new air of freedom.
…..and forget my own petty self.
In love my whole being streams forth
…..out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion,
…..which makes me a prisoner of my own poverty and emptiness.
In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward you,
wanting never more to return,
but to lose themselves completely in you,
since by your love you are the inmost center of my heart,
closer to me than I am to myself.

But when I love you,
when I manage to break out of the narrow circle of self
and leave behind the restless agony of unanswered questions,
when my blinded eyes no longer look merely from afar
and from the outside upon your unapproachable brightness,
and much more when you yourself, O Incomprehensible One,
have become through love the inmost center of my life,
then I can bury myself entirely in you, O mysterious God,
and with myself all my questions.

Loosen My Grip: Loder

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I just found a quiet space to think, ponder and pray.
I’ve turned off the news…turned off my phone…and am trying to turn off my busy mind.

As I settled in to pray, I read a prayer by Ted Loder to center my tired soul.
I felt the refreshing Spirit fall as I was reminded to loosen my grip.

If your grip has been too tight, take a moment and pray it too…

Loosen My Grip-Ted Loder

O God, it is hard for me to let go,

most times,

and the squeeze I exert

garbles me and gnarls others.

So, loosen my grip a bit

on the good times,

on the moments of sunlight and star shine and joy,

that the thousand graces they scatter as they pass

may nurture growth in me

rather than turn to brittle memories.

Loosen my grip

on those grudges and grievances

I hold so closely,

that I may risk exposing myself

to the spirit of forgiveness

that changes things and resurrects dreams and courage.

Loosen my grip

on my fears

that I may be released a little into humility

and into an acceptance of my humanity.

Loosen my grip

on myself

that I may experience the freedom of a fool

who knows that to believe

is to see kingdoms, find power, sense glory;

to reach out

is to know myself held;

to laugh at myself

is to be in on the joke of your grace;

to attend to each moment

is to hear the faint melody of eternity;

to dare love

is to smell the wild flowers of heaven.

Loosen my grip

on my ways and words,

on my fears and fretfulness

that letting go

into the depths of silence

and my own uncharted longings,

I may find myself held by you

and linked anew to all life

in this wild and wonderous world

you love so much,

so I may take to heart

that you have taken me to heart.

Letting Go

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Letting go…
Release…
Forgiveness…

These three daily practices are the gateway to freedom, but when tried, they have been found to be too hard for too many.

In Galatians 5:1 Paul states: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” All of Christ’s work for people finds its apex in freedom. If this is true, then why are so many so stuck? We are stuck because we surrender to the wrong things.

We surrender to what other people want us to be and never become who we were created to be…

We surrender to the gods of materialism and debt cementing us in a place we don’t want to dwell…

We surrender to culture and become a copy of everyone else…

We surrender to someone else’s idea of success and spend our lives trying to gain what will never satisfy…

We surrender to the image police and never like ourselves…

Bob Dylan said it this way:

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

We all have a master, the question that needs to be asked is, “Is your master immersing you in freedom or bondage?”

Jesus came and freed those who would follow Him and live His kingdom life, but as Paul notes, we can choose, as a follower of Christ, to allow other things to take control. If you are a Christian and find yourself stuck, shackled, or drowning, then you have allowed something else besides Christ to be master.

When we sink into depression because someone speaks negatively about us, we have just given that person power and control.

When we live in so much debt that we are sinking in it, we have allowed Chase or whatever financial institution to become our master.

When we hold onto anger, bitterness or unforgiveness, we have allowed our hurt or another person to have control.

Jesus wants everyone to experience a life of freedom, joy, and abundance, and this kind of life can only be experienced when we live the way Christ told us to live.

There are three freedom killers that everyone needs to be aware of: Expectations, Attachments and Control.

The Bar is Too High

When we have expectations that are too high, no one and nothing can get over the bar. When people fail to meet our expectations, we tend to get angry, judgmental or even depressed. Grace is needed for the person who sets the bar too high or they will never enjoy the beauty of relationships with others or God, as people rarely meet all expectations. Let go of unrealistic expectations…Release the high bar… Forgive the person, and begin to taste the sweetness of freedom.

Stuck Like Duct Tape

We all love duct tape, but when we are so attached to our desires that we hold tenaciously with a death grip, we get stuck like duct tape, and that is really stuck! Holding so tightly to “stuff & things” places those things in the drivers seat, and the sovereignty of God moves into the back seat. When God is not where we are primarily tethered, we lose our freedom and we wonder where God went. He is still there waiting for you to let go of your attachment to things. When we trust God and believe He is good, we release our expectations and our attachment to things…then we regain our freedom. If I do not trust God or believe He is good, I will continue to hold on tightly to what I want or what I expect from others.

Remote Control

Everyone is a control freak to some extent, but some people allow have an excessive need to control and it destroys their lives and the freedom Christ died for. We try to control our spouse, our kids, our boss, our government, our bank, and even our friends. “If they would just do what I say, then everything would be great!” is the conscious or subconscious life commandment. The need to control is insidious and it destroys freedom. It’s yoke crushes all who give in to it. Even when we realize that we can’t control the world, we still live and act as if we can, and this ruptures relationships, our soul and our faith. God alone is sovereign, I am not. The sooner I release my need to control…the sooner I forgive the ones I want to control…and the sooner I let go of my need to control, the sooner I swim in the ocean of God’s freedom.

Open Hands

The image of open palms is the image of freedom.

Open palms hold things loosely…
Open palms release the tight fist of control…
Open palms reveal trust..

Clenched fists are the image of bondage…holding tightly, judging harshly, and missing grace.

Everything Jesus did was to set you free. In John 8:36 we read: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” The initial steps to regaining your freedom today is to choose in this moment to

Let Go of your impossible expectations…

Turn the control over to Christ…

Forgive yourself, your offenders and God…

Are you free?

Do you want to be free?

Then it’s time to unyoke from all the things that shackle you and trust God to unleash you into the life you were created for.