But God is not a body with hands, nor is God any concept that we might hold in our minds. God is greater than anything we can imagine. God is invisible, intangible, everywhere present, and is all that is “real.”
So, how do we walk with this immanent, yet transcendent, God so that we can feel safe?
We are both human and divine. As humans we have a form, and consequently feel separate and alone. It’s scary!
The great paradox is that it is only as we meet our fears do we find our safety, our true comfort.
My daughter, Leslie, wisely observed that reframing the state of anxiety into “creative stress” could be very helpful for us.
For stress is creative. James O’Dea’s definition of creative stress is “…the energy and potential of your deeper, wiser self drawing you upward towards fulfillment, authenticity, and integrity.”
Stress is really an initiation which can help us open to something larger and more satisfying.
Check out the list of book recommendations on website for Creative Stress by James O’Dea to discover how stress is a major force behind growth and transformation.
So let’s experiment. I invite you to stop for a moment and consider what causes you the most discomfort right now, at this moment.
I’ll join you. As I check out my body, I can feel discomfort — stress in my body. Tightness. Exploring more deeply I find I’m thinking that I won’t have enough time to get everything done that I have committed to do, so I feel anxious.
I discover a “gotta hurry” attitude inside. As I explore more deeply I find feelings of fear that if I don’t accomplish my “list of to dos” I will somehow have failed. And one of my biggest fears is being a failure.
So, I stop again. My practice of conscious breathing helps me calm myself so that I can see what action might be most beneficial in the present circumstances.
Stopping and breathing deeply several times allows my body to relax as much as possible.
Then thoughts come to me. I remind myself that God’s work is more important than my agenda. Suddenly I feel more spacious. I relax even more. Fear is a crowd of worries. Calmness gives me room to see clearly.
I remember that I have wound my body up, unnecessarily, so I speak kindly to my body and thank it for carrying so much stress for me.
I’m enjoying this softer, kinder energy that is now flowing through me.
Another thought comes — there’s plenty of time to do anything the universe considers important. I reflect that the tasks on my list just might not be so important. Maybe going slower will be beneficial.
Through a series of steps, I slow down. Quiet joy begins filling me. I ask to be shown what to do.
Again I remember to place my life in the hands of God, for I can trust God. This creative energy is always here, with me, just as it is within everyone.
Grace is here. Beauty is here. Peace is here. Continuing the practice, I do my very best to meet life as it arises.
My practice of journaling with my fears is a tremendous help also.
In my journal I ask, “How does this threaten me?” Then I answer as fully as possible, and I keep the dialogue going until there is more peace around the issue.
Yes, together with God we can step into the mystery of daily life, knowing something “real” holds us and guides our way.
Gradually we learn to live more comfortably with uncertainty and ambiguity, while trusting Spirit to lead the way.