As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?Psalm 42:1-2
From a reader:
I want to listen to the Divine and I do not always like the answer. Sometimes I am afraid to act on the answer. What if I misheard? How do I have faith and let go of fear?
Who is the Divine and what is the relationship you share? I just spent a year practicing awareness of the Beloved. (And I do mean "practicing.") How do we know? How do we know when we are listening and when we are making shit up?
I believe that the Divine wants a relationship with us as much as we want one with It. And I believe that in relationship, communication goes both ways. If I talk to the Beloved, as I would with a lover, I say what's on my mind and I expect the Beloved to be forthcoming with me, as well.
I grew up in churches that told me that obedience to God was paramount. If God asks you to do something, you do it...no matter what. I've tried on authoritarian relationships from both sides and I don't like being the authority nor do I like being the unquestioning obedient. If God wanted me to be unquestioningly obedient, why give me a mind and free will?
When I see the Divine as Beloved, I enter an entirely new kind of relationship. I do things for the Beloved because of love. In the same way, the Beloved doesn't demand of me. The Beloved doesn't expect me to say, "How high?" when responding to "Jump!"
Do I always want to do the things that my Beloved wants? Not necessarily. When we have a conversation do I always like what I hear? No...not even from the Beloved. That's part of relationship. I feel the same way in relationships with humans I love.
We don't have to like the answer. We do have to decide what we are going to do with that. We might pray that our heart be changed or our attitude adjusted. We might ask for more understanding so that we "get it" in a new way that somehow makes more sense. In other words, if you don't like what you are hearing, ask the Beloved to somehow "convince" you to like it or change your mind and heart.
Fear of acting on the answer? Hmm. What is the fear? Fear of the outcome? Not understanding the consequences? Fear of the unknown?
What if you did mishear? At my age, I am always asking people to repeat themselves. "Excuse me? Could you repeat that?"
The way I see it, if you are acting on what you think the Divine is telling you, the Divine has a vested interest in what you do, too. If you step forward on what you think you heard and you're a little off target, the onus is on the Divine to help guide you. If you are not sure that you heard correctly or whether the quest is clear, ask for clarification: "This is what I think you said. If I got it right, make the way clear. If I missed something, steer me."
I don't know that letting go of fear and acting in faith are necessarily the same thing. However, I believe that if we are doing what the Beloved asks of us, we are not in it alone. In those situations, my mantra becomes, "Hmm...I wonder how the Beloved is going to work this out."
I sometimes only get to see the picture one day at a time. And most of the time, I can honestly say, "Today...everything is okay. I am blessed." Even driving in the fog, we can see a few feet ahead. Sometimes that is enough. Sometimes we stop and wait for the way to clear.
The Divine wants you...just as you want the Divine.