"Relying on God" used to mean to me, "you'd better get it right, and figure out exactly what God wants you to do (and there is only one right answer) or else there will be hell to pay."
And that hell-thing felt pretty literal, no matter whether I was in a "once saved - always saved" church, or in a "you can lose your salvation so you'd better be careful" church (SO fun to go back and forth...!).
Because, really, who could be assured? Who didn't hear stories about those who *thought* that they were a "real Christian", and yet discovered later on that they'd merely had "intellectual ascent"? Who didn't secretly wonder if they'd eventually hear, "Depart from Me - I never knew you" ...?
But I mean, really, you can only go down that aisle, and say the "sinner's prayer" so many times, before everyone starts to wonder if whether you have amnesia or multiple personalities (gotta get 'em all saved...!).
So, relying on God, when I was never sure whether I *could* rely on Him, because I was never convinced that we were actually on speaking terms, made for a pretty miserable "relationship" with God.
I see this differently now ... and it makes all the difference in how I live my life.
I'd like to quote a bit from Marianne Williamson's book, "The Age of Miracles," which is about thriving in "mid-life". Whatever THAT is. I'm not there yet, since I'm going to live 'til I'm 120, but I figure I can always get prepared ...! ;)
"Relying on God doesn't mean that you're relying on something outside yourself. It means that you're relying on the Truth of All Things, a higher power whose throne is not out there somewhere but inside your heart. You're relying on the power of compassion and nonjudgment. You're relying on objective, discernible laws of the universe; faith that love produces miracles is no different from faith that gravity makes things fall."
First, you should know that by "miracles", she's not talking about those events that would be splashed on tomorrow's headlines. She's talking about the transformation of the inner man ... the renewal of the mind that comes when we die to ego, and thus the life of the Spirit of God flows through us, unbidden, unhindered ... when thus the Kingdom is real, and all else is added to us. You know, the Abundant Life. Our inheritance.
I love the shift from "God up there, somewhere" to "God who is nearer than breath, closer than hands and feet" ... God who is in me ... God who lives as me ... me-in-Him, and Him-in-me ... God in whom I live and move and have my being. God who is all in all. As if He was ever not.
I love that when this shift begins (& it continues...), when we become aware of being one with God, fear gives way to love ... and that means that judgment gives way to compassion. Life goes from ugly and drab and hopeless, to beautiful and vibrant and hope-infused. Both are contagious ... both are creative ... we experience the very world we expect ...
"Every problem is a challenge to become a better person. Imagine, then, what we're being challenged to become in order to turn history around at this time. What quantum leap will transition us from the level of consciousness at which we created our problems, to a level of consciousness at which we're miraculously able to solve them? Given that God has an answer to every problem the moment it occurs then there exists in His mind an absolute plan - a blueprint for our salvation - already etched in full upon our hearts... the human race will remember at last that we were conceived in love; we are here to love; and one way or another, we'll remember to love. ... Prayer changes us, and through us, the entire world."
I used to cringe at the song, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me ..." Because I believed, for I had been taught, that there could never be peace on earth ... that instead the world had to get worse and worse ... that there had to be a cataclysmic war to end all wars, with 2/3 of the earth being destroyed ... and then Jesus would come and rescue us from the mess (which we'd made - largely due to the self-fulfillment of this very belief!), and then there would be utopia.
Now, I cringe at that fabricated belief, and I believe that peace on earth can come ... as one heart at a time is awakened, as one mind at a time is renewed ... so that we all manifest what we have -- the Mind of Christ. It's not a religious achievement ... it's our very truest identity.
And I'm just crazy enough to dare to believe that this is true:
"Love is to fear what light is to darkness; in the presence of one the other disappears. When enough of us stand in the light of true love - not a simplistic love, but the strong and extraordinary love of God - then all war will cease."
All war -- whether it plays out on the battlefield of the earth, or the battlefield of the mind, all war is ego-manifestation. Whether it's nation against nation, denomination against denomination, gang against gang, husband against wife, or belief against belief. All war is based on "there is a lack - there is not enough of what I need, and so I will take yours for myself!" The ego believes lies ... it doesn't realize that there's enough of everything ... it doesn't realize that it is One with the very Source of Everything.
Miracles are the natural consequence of living in the Presence of Love. Love is who we are. The journey from fear to love is not an esoteric, fuzz-brained, self-deluding exercise! It's not fluffy new-age-ism. It is what we are here to do, in the discovery of who we are, and it is critical for transforming both hearts and human society, and affecting our collective history.
The problem with the world is that we've been torn from our original nature. Torn from ourselves, we become addicts. Torn from others, we become abusers. Torn from the earth, we become its destroyers.
But we can wake up, we can realize who we are, we can face that "this isn't working - this is insane" ... we can realize that we are a child of the Father of All, and we can return Home.
One last quote ... and this one makes my spirit leap and shout with joyful recognition of truth:
"History moves forward one insight at a time. From the Jewish embrace of a monotheistic God to Buddha's vision of compassion; from the teaching of Jesus that God is love to Martin Luther's insistence that we can talk to Him ourselves; from the individual's creative genius spurred by the Italian Renaissance to the philosophical maturity of the European Enlightenment; from the genius of the American Experiment to the invention of quantum physics -- the march of armies is creatively small compared to the march of ideas. And that is the purpose of time, for both the individual and the species; that as life progresses, our understanding can mature.
"All of us take two steps forward and one step back at times, but there is nevertheless an evolutionary impulse - within every heart, every cell, and every aspect of life - marching ahead despite all resistance. Our task is to consciously conspire with that impulse, in full partnership with the Force of Love at the center of all things, entwined with its divine pulsation and heat, both riding and directing the wave by which humanity shall rise up at last."
BINGO and Amen...!