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“Work, work, work, work, work…say mi haffi work” to achieve my spiritual growth! This is real work, learning how to come up higher and not give in to my base emotions like rage and apathy. Just when I think I have achieved some milestones, God shows up with more lessons!
So, the other day my wife and I were in the process of finalizing the accommodations for our wedding reception in Puerto Vallarta next year and I discovered that there were prohibitive stipulations placed on the villa we rented for the express purpose of holding this ceremony. Once I found out that she knew of this for a whole week before telling me, I lost my entire mind! 0-100 is an understatement of my reaction, which I could tell from the expression on her face. Ironically enough, I had just had the thought, “Wow, I haven’t needed to see my therapist in quite a while, I am so glad to be getting better with handling my emotions.” Obviously not. The underlying rage is still there, seething under the surface, waiting for opportunities like this one to emerge. I knew that my anger was about more than this situation so I immediately made an appointment to see my therapist, yet again. I feel like Kendrick, “Be Humble, sit down.” I accept the victories I have achieved but I need not get ahead of myself or God in thinking that I’ve arrived.
Life is all about progress, not perfection and this lesson becomes clearer the longer I live. There is no shame in admitting we’re works in progress. Although I give advice based upon my multitude of experiences with faith and other areas of spiritual growth, it still surprises me when more issues pop up that God clearly wants me to deal with. For the past year, I have been focused on bettering my physical body and I’ve let my spiritual practices slide. Not that I don’t pray daily, but I have neglected that dedicated time I used to look forward to each morning before the sun rose. I relish that early time of morning because I’m able to hear from God with clarity. Prayer is asking from and talking to God but more important is the meditation time where we listen to God. We need to hear the answers we’re begging Him for right?
Since this is nearing the end of Mental Health Awareness month, I thought I’d acknowledge my own issues. I deal with anxiety, depression, a tad of ADD and a few addictions, so yeah, I guess I have some mental health things going on. I don’t really like to identify myself as mentally ill, since I only recently realized that’s what these issues are. However, I cannot ignore my behavior and the need for it to change. This realization is what caused me to seek therapy in the first place. With all this stuff going on, I can’t let taking care of my mental or emotional health slip for a minute. Proverbs 4:23 says to guard your heart above all else because what’s in it flows from you. I have jokingly called myself a Bitter Bitch for years and while I am penning my memoirs of the same name, I have discovered a few roots of my bitterness. This last angry outburst caused me to identify a couple more roots to work on destroying.
I believe that a large portion of mental health is your spiritual relationship with God, the Universe, Your Higher Power, or whatever name you choose to identify Spirit as. I am my own experiment in this. As soon as I get out of the habit of my dedicated prayer and meditation time daily, the blanket of depression drops right over my head. Or the irrational rage-filled tirades spring up and reveal the darker side of me that I am still working to accept. By filling my mind and heart with words of affirmation daily I can at least control the frequency of these episodes. When I feel closer to God I am more comfortable with myself and the anxiety is at bay. I feel like I am enough.
So, to further prove my point, yesterday I woke up about 5:30am and got right into my P.R.R.A.M. routine (Prayer. Reading. Reiki. Affirmations. Meditation.) I was excited about the special blessings I felt were coming my way that day. I went to a Toastmasters meeting in my area because I am preparing myself for what I feel will be the next level of my calling, public speaking. Although the meeting was held in a church, I had no idea that it was going to be like a church meeting. The two speakers were so transparent, authentic and emotional that we were all riveted and changed in some way after their speeches. One woman gave a poignant speech about forgiving an abusive Mother. When the evaluator came up to critique her speech, it became evident that she was dealing with the same issue and the speech opened some deep wounds which she still needed to forgive. After the meeting, I noticed both women being comforted by some of the members. I felt like the Holy Spirit used this time to both connect and heal the speakers as well as the audience. Only God can orchestrate a healing event at a Toastmasters meeting.
So, I got motivated, felt the presence of Spirit and met some new encouraging people all in 90 minutes. I feel like I was primed for this experience all because I stuck to my schedule with God that morning.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. This sums up the main reason for dedicated prayer time or else get ready for the rage, depression, manic compulsive behavior or addictive binges that come with slacking off spiritually. Until next time, work, work, work on this spiritual growth, it’s worth it. Peace and Blessings!