Life Comes At You in Themes

Do you ever experience the same word or thought in your entire day. So far today I’ve encountered the word “Trust” in no less than 3 places unrelated to each other. The first instance was in an email thought for the day type devotional that I get daily. It read in part:

Greetings on the 14th day of May with the theme of Trust.

This is a Receiving/Accepting Affirmation in the second week of the month.

Make this a splendid day!

I am ready right now to live in trust.


….. (excerpted)

Even a very powerful person can feel or think as a victim
from time to time, falling into a trap of agreed-upon
(consensus) reality. Victim consciousness is prevalent –
a weakened and distorted view of the world. This
observation exercise that I suggest is important for the
remaining weeks in this month of Trust. And remember
to be gentle with yourself and others, regardless of what
you observe. This exercise is not intended as an
invitation to judge, but as an invitation to observe and
evolve, so that you can live more fully what you desire to

)0( Copyright Jeanie Marshall, Empowerment Consultant

Ok, that explains my rant the other day. Then I get to work and find this a couple hours later:

Trusting is like holding out our hand in peace to the stranger next to us, not knowing if they will grasp our hand with love or slap it away. Will you be the first to hold out your hand? If it is slapped away, will you hold it out again, or turn to someone else? If your hand is held in love, will you continue to offer it to other strangers? How will you decide in the future whom you hold your hand out to? Why hold it out at all? What is gained, what is lost? All of these questions arise each time we trust, yet we continue to hold out our hands, because God calls us to trust, and to trust again. Being with God is not a passive stance; God’s hand reaches out, and we reach back, trusting that it will not be slapped away. Practicing trusting is practicing being with God.

The issue of trust pervades our life on multiple levels. We start out trusting, then learn not to trust, then try to regain a sense of trust, not just once in a linear fashion, but over and over again as we circle through each stage of our lives. Can we trust our parents, our friends, our lovers, our coworkers? What about our religious leaders? Can we trust ourselves to know and do the things that are best for us? Can we trust God? The commitment to a faith community, to the spiritual journey itself, to companionship, or to this writing practice are all indications of willingness to trust. Most of us have had positive experiences of trusting, as well as painful experiences of the violation of that trust. Placing our trust in someone or something makes us vulnerable. Sometimes the temptation is strong to not take any risks at all. The decision to not trust at all means not moving closer to God. Another path open to us involves paying attention and learning from the consequences of trusting, both painful as well as joyful, which helps us more clearly discern the spiritual path toward God. We gain wisdom in these lessons of trustworthiness; we learn what is worthy of our trust, and what is not. Sorting out what risks are worth taking from the risks that bring only harm, we cultivate the willingness to trust God, to hold out our hand (Sarah Stockton)

Do you think the universe is trying to tell me something? How else do you explain these little nudges along the same theme all day? I’ve never been able to explain this phenomenon to myself, but it happens quite frequently JUST when I need a word of some kind. Freaky.

John 14:1 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.


19 thoughts on “Life Comes At You in Themes

  1. “God’s hand reaches out, and we reach back, trusting that it will not be slapped away.”

    How many times should we get our hands slapped before we quit trusting? Why would a loving God slap my hand back anyway? How many times would you extend your hand to your mother or father to only get it slapped back, before you stopped trusting?

    “we learn what is worthy of our trust, and what is not.”

    MOI, I have learned that God is not worthy of my trust, not until he provides some proof that he is at least there. Then I want to ask why he has slapped my hand back, or at the very least why he simply ignorned my hand.

  2. Noogatiger,
    I don’t thinks she’s saying God slaps our hand away. If that were so, I wouldn’t trust Him either. I think she’s saying that God never slaps our hand away when we reach out.

    I know, I know it’s odd, but I’m trying to figure out why I don’t trust anything or anybody, even God.

  3. You are aware and you are recieving a message, one which only you can discern. I would meditate on the word “trust” an see what happens, it may simply be a trust issue with yourself.
    Many people do not trust themselves on some level. What do you know deep down that you are not allowing yourself to trust in?

  4. I love synchronicity. It’s like a bit of magic showing itself to me or in the tarot the messenger of the gods (god), confirming my place in the universe. It makes me feel special and loved and set apart for special attention. I know it is the Jungian Archteypal patterns of like attracting like, but it feels magical.

    Here’s the thing about Atheism to me: It’s boring. It doesn’t seem like it is about anything other than tearing down what others believe or bashing religion as one big lump, not even seeing the nuances between doctrine or philosophy. I don’t think I have read one beautiful or life affirming thing on any of the sites I have seen so far on atheism. They seem like a pretty bitter and angry bunch. and so negative. how tiresome it would be to have such a mindset. Where is the beauty in that? Where is the grace? Where is the magic? I like magic. I like mystery. It seems to me there is a big difference in thinking there may not be a god and asserting there is no god, or if there is, I hate him and he can kiss my butt because he isn’t the god I want him to be. Petulant and childish.

    MOI – maybe your lack of trust is really about not feeling like you are able to trust yourself and you are projecting that outward. I know it’s basic Psych 102, but sometimes we overlook the obvious. I wonder if that is why the Universe planted things about trust in your heart today.

  5. tobeme,
    I’ve always assumed I trust myself, but now I’m not sure. I am a little scary and my thoughts are all over the place. My hubby’s used to it, but I don’t even know what I think or believe sometimes myself. I definitely don’t trust other people and I’m certain I have trust issues with a God, should there be one. I’m not sure I’m trustworthy either. Hmmmm.

  6. Robin,
    Many good points. I like mystery and magic myself. I KNOW that serendipitous events occur because they happen all around me all the time. Whatever that is, I like it, need it, and want to keep noticing it.

    I finished an excellent book “Glittering Images” by Susan Howatch. Perhaps you know it. 🙂 In it, there is a man with two personalities. One is the glittering image he projects to the world to make himself accepted by them. The other is his true self that he feels he cannot show to others because it’s his angry, resentful, but all too human face. What is his lifeline? A charismatic spiritual director who grounds him in honest, less heady and more heartfelt faith, mixed with a good dose of basic human psychology. Where can you find such a person when you need one?

    Like you, I’m tired of the negative. I need the silence, stillness, and….well….mysticism of spirituality. I am compelled by it. I want the magic of spirits all around. If that makes me weak, so be it.

  7. I know Glittering Images well… Susan Howatch has such an insight into that whole idea of the person you were meant to be, the person you strive to be, and the tragic consequences of murdering your true self. The Wheel of Fortune by the same author deals specifically with that idea. She has such an insight into the human psyche.

  8. Robin was saying: “Here’s the thing about Atheism to me: It’s boring. It doesn’t seem like it is about anything other than tearing down what others believe or bashing religion as one big lump, not even seeing the nuances between doctrine or philosophy. I don’t think I have read one beautiful or life affirming thing on any of the sites I have seen so far on atheism. They seem like a pretty bitter and angry bunch. and so negative. how tiresome it would be to have such a mindset. Where is the beauty in that? Where is the grace? Where is the magic? I like magic. I like mystery. It seems to me there is a big difference in thinking there may not be a god and asserting there is no god, or if there is, I hate him and he can kiss my butt because he isn’t the god I want him to be. Petulant and childish.”

    I hope you don’t mind me speaking up here Robin…I’d like to say that I’m an agnostic atheist. I’m a rather spiritual old soul/person myself. I think that my sharing here with MOI is life affirming. She often mentions she’s encouraged by my coming alongside of her.

    My journey is anything but boring. And nothing has happened to the mystery, the beauty or the magic in my life.

    As for grace, there is an abundance of it out there and I find that it often has nothing to do with belief. If it did, we’d see more of it amongst the believers. I’ve met some very grace-fllled atheists in my journey and I love them to bits.

    I love my husband of 30 years, I love my children, I love my garden and I love my life. I love people and I love peace.

  9. Rebecca,
    You know that you are especially comforting to me and I value your outlook and advice. 🙂

    Not speaking for Robin, I personally agree that what passes for atheist/christian dialogue out there can be very negative and not affirmative at all. But, that said, I’m not including the generous souls who contribute regularly to the debate such as you, Noogatiger, tobeme, and aA.

    I think that there is a danger for many of us to fall into the either/or dichotomy of faith vs. no faith that says there is no mystery or magic in atheism or that there is no reason or intelligence in christianity. I commit these errors myself. I see others do it on both sides of the dialogue, but I happen to think that the two views of life overlap very nicely if we let them.

  10. MOI, my last post got sent to the spam file I suppose. It may have been because I copied something from my own website.
    Lets try this again. I thought this fit in with this discussion.

    Here is where I am in my life. I have learned to trust myself and not much else. Well, OK there is my wife, I trust her. I trust my kids up to a point, but I love them all the time. I am not bitter nor am I angry. Many believers accuse me of both of those traits simply based on the idea that I no longer believe their fairy tales. See, you are thinking angry and negative thoughts right now.
    I no longer trust a flawed scripture written by flawed men, I no longer trust God will fix things or make things right and I do not wait for some miracle to fix everything. That is not anger, it is simply facing reality. Where is my grace, I am full of it. I now accept people just as they are, not as I expect them to be.

    The document below is called “The Great Awakening”. I found parts of it awhile back by an unknown author, so I felt free to change it to fit my current views about life, love, honesty and integrity.

    The Great Awakening

    I have reached a point in my life where I finally get it. A lot of people before me have experienced it, and if you live long enough you probably will do the same some day. It is not a religious experience. It is instead the acceptance of reality, redefining your worldview, and the putting off of all mystical unrealistic beliefs and ideals, those which we all have been trying to live up to or even understand and reconcile, against the harsh reality of the real world, all of them of course except honesty and integrity, and not just with others but with yourself. You finally see that those last two are really the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

    When you have reached this point of being honest with yourself, you realize that it is time to stop waiting for some miracle, or for happiness, safety or security to come galloping over the next horizon. You learn that you do not know everything, and you learn that those who think they have all the answers, know even less. You can finally be honest with yourself, and others, by simply saying, “I don’t know”, rather than making up elaborate reasons, to explain the views you held of yourself, and the world around you, as a result of all the messages and stories and strange doctrines which were ingrained into your psyche since childhood. You realize that you can’t save the world, or make a silk purse from a pigs ear.

    You have come to realize that in order to be really happy you need to readjust your world view closer to the reality you see around you. You have found that there is a way of thinking that is better than relying on authority figures, intuition, or even prayer-induced thoughts. It is the process of critical thinking. It involves careful observation, and the use of reason to determine the truth. To think critically, you must ask questions, which people will not like, and you must be open to all views. You seek to understand different sides of an argument. You try to be fair-minded in appraisal of the facts. Then you suspend judgment until you have time to look at the available facts, and you find out that you actually can then make a conclusion based on those facts, and not on some warped world view ingrained into you from the past. This concept is called freedom of thought.

    You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect, nor will you ever be, and that not everyone will love, appreciate, or approve of who or what you are…….and that is OK. Sure it hurts at first, but eventually you stop bitching and complaining about the things other people did to you, and you learn that the only thing you can count on is the unexpected. You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and in the process a new sense of confidence is born of self approval. You also are keenly aware that this was just the opposite of the world view so ingrained into you since childhood, and that it was not an easy transition.

    You stop judging and pointing fingers, and you begin to be able to accept people as they are. Oh, the irony is thick here, because you realize that while your old world view taught this principle, nobody actually practiced it, nobody! So now you begin to sift through all the bullshit you have been fed about how you should believe, what you should have faith in, what you should and should not read, how you should dress, how you should act, how you should think, how much you should weigh, where you should and should not go, who you should marry, who to associate with, where you should live and even what to expect in marriage. You learn to open up to new points of view, to new world views, and different opinions, all of which are the opposite of what you were taught to do. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for, and you realize finally just how much crap you really were force fed.

    You begin to look at relationships as they truly are, and not as you would have them to be. You stop trying to control people, situations or outcomes. You learn that just as people grow and change so it is with love. You come to realize that you do deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity, and respect, and you won’t settle for less.

    You learn that God is not punishing you for some unknown infraction, nor is he failing to answer your prayers, nor most likely will any of your prayers fix the situation either, because God, if he is even there, is not bringing this crap into your life simply to work out some unknown plan. It is just life happening, that’s all.

    You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy or resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you, and poison the universe around you. You learn to quickly admit when you are wrong, and start building bridges instead of walls.

    Slowly you begin to take responsibility for yourself, by yourself, and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself again, and to never ever settle for less than honesty and integrity within yourself and in others, and especially in what you choose to have faith in, and from this moment forward you will always think for yourself, and know that whomever created you gave you this ability for a reason.

    This is: The Great Awakening.

    I am full of love, grace, mercy, optimism and life is great. I will love each of you as you are, as long as you are not condemning me to everlasting torment for not believing what you believe. If any out there still feel the need to condemn me to hell, then hell yes I will be pretty negative about your form of grace.

  11. Noogatiger,
    I don’t know why your posts keep ending up in the Spam folder, cause I certainly don’t put them there. I usually look at all the Spam, but just checked right now and sure enough, you were in there. Hmmmm. It’s a conspiracy. 🙂
    I personally do not believe in heaven or hell as conservative christians define them. I believe in a Godde or Spirit big enough to encompass all and correct all if anything needs correcting that is. Chances are we all recycle when we die. I’m not looking at the old punishment and reward system at all, so I won’t be consigning anyone there myself, least of all you.

  12. Noogatiger – Many of the things you are describing are the same things I have Awakened too as well. But to close youself off to any possibility of magic and mysticism seems like a reactive decision based in anger and pain. And I don’t believe in eternal punishment either, so this is not a condemnation of you, it is simply saying how much you miss by denying the possibility of a higher power. But, whatever works for you.

    Rebecca, I was only referring to comments I have seen again and again from self proclaimed athiests that seem like they probably would not be very pleasant people to be around as their only contribution seems to be on the theme of “god and christians can kiss my butt” I know i am paraphrasing and generalizing. I’m not even singling anyone out, it is just the general vibe.

  13. Robin: I understand about the vibe. I just figured I’d send some positive vibes your way to break up that general vibe. 🙂

  14. But I don’t have any anger nor any pain. Oh I admit that I did. It hurts to find out you have been lied to for most of your life. It hurts to find out that the things you had placed so much faith in for so long and really believed to be the absolute truth and nothing but the truth, is just a bunch of fairy tales.

    Coming out of any cult is a painful experience, and I think it was simply a natural progression for me to now not have any trust for other mystical magical beliefs and ideals, simply based on feelings or arbitrary faiths. However as I said, I have learned to redirect my anger and the truth is I am no longer angry. I have totally accepted reality.

    I am not denying that their may be, could be a higher power, truth is nobody and I mean nobody knows for sure. Everyone has their hopes, their experiences, their feelings, their arbitrary faith, if they want, and if it makes them feel good, but I have decided to let go of all of that and quit trying to reconcile it with reality. I am happier, much happier now that my worldview can be reconciled with the real world. To me this is peace of mind. As I said, it is freedom of thought.

    I am at peace now because I realize that friends and relatives who were not Christians are not burning in an eternal flame. No such place ever existed. I no longer have to stay away from people because they might not be Christian enough. I no longer judge people based upon what they believe, unless of course they are condemning me for what I believe, or don’t believe. The world finally makes sense. Evolution actually makes sense. The geologic record finally makes sense. The millions of years it takes starlight to reach us finally makes sense. The cosmology of the universe finally makes some sense.

    Is there really magic, do Ghosts exists, does God exist, I really don’t know, and nobody else does. However it would be dishonest to my own inner self, and to you, for me to say that anything is an absolute truth, or a fact, or that you too should believe anything based upon my feelings, or my hopes, or my experiences, or because something is unexplainable to me or because nobody understands it, therefore there must be magic involved.

    If you want to believe there is a God, then great, but just don’t tell me that it is absolute truth, without proof.
    If you want to believe in magic, great, but you can’t say that I must also believe it to be true, unless you can prove it to me.
    If you want to believe that God is simply the life force, (may the force be with you), then go ahead, but don’t claim to have the final authority on the subject without proof.

    See, now I know some will say that I come across as angry, bitter person but I’m not, I really am not. I have lots of love in my heart, for other humans. It does get hard sometimes to be nice and to respond with love, when the fundamentalist’s keep telling you over and over, (with glee), that you are headed straight to hell to burn forever. It is hard not to tell them to kiss your ass. It is hard not to be angry with that. I am under no obligation to turn the other cheek to that kind of thing.

    It has taken me 7 years now to get where I am. It was painful. It was scary. I also know that I have a lot of hatred and anger headed my way later, when the rest of my extended family finds out that I am no longer a Christian. You want to see anger, just be around for that day. I dread the day.

    However, for me finally the world makes some sense.

  15. But, Noot – don’t you see that it wasn’t that you were lied to, it was that YOU believed a lie (whether or not they were ACTUALLY lies is another matter that is debatable). Think about this: you think that God is a made up fairy tale. On what evidence do you make this claim? Don’t you see it is just as much unprovable that there is no god as it is unprovable that there is? It’s just that your particular revelation is that he , she or it does not exist. And don’t you see that when you say to me things like “lied to” or “a bunch of fairy tales” in reference to things I honestly believe with a certainty that implies it is fact is just as irksome as a born again telling you that you are going to hell for not believing what they believe.

    You say that you are not angry or in pain, but I am telling you sweetie, you have issues. You KNOW you do. If you have not even come clean with your family for SEVEN years, there is a reason why. I know living a lie for seven years might make me a little testy. 🙂 Perhaps your pain derives from much more than someone triggering you with talk of god (maybe you have demons… just kidding!). Seriously, if you are keeping something like this which in your family is of great importance, then this speaks to your family dynamic as well. Here’s the thing, if you were really at peace with where you were at, your words would not have the emotional weight they do.I have a friend at work who is an athiest. And we have conversations, and he is completely deadpan, it strikes no chord in him whatsoever. It’s as if I am speaking a language he does not even understand. But this subject is very much alive for you, and carries a lot of power over you.

    How is the mere idea of a god more fantastic and ridiculous than all the matter in the universe was once so tiny it fit on the head of a pin and for some unknown reason exploded so powerfully that the vast universe was created in a matter of seconds. And all of it happened for no particular reason? Seriously. How is that theory of existence any more believable? I’m not saying one is over the other more credible, but to say one is impossible while the other is probable is really only a matter of opinion.

    Now, if you want to argue the merits of one religion vesus another that is a different debate altogether. But even the ancient philosophers had names for a starting point when grappling with the problems of existence. Prime Mover, Demiurge, First Cause, etc to describe the seemingly carefully constructed laws of nature and the universe, which later became science and physics. So, god can mean simply the powers that be, or the collection of laws that make up the universe to which all existence adhere, all of which we have yet to discover. The latest craze in physics is String Theory which suggests that there are as many as 12 dimensions sharing the same time space continuum as we do, but that we are unable to see or experience the others at this time. I dunno, sounds like there is a theory of the soul in there somewhere.

    In short, to completely dismiss the possible existence of god is intellectually dishonest. And it still seems like the emotional reaction of someone who still has issues to sort out about their own existence.

    Please know that my words are meant in the spirit of debate and that I am in no way trying to belittle you or make light of whatever path you are on. My hope is to expand your view just a bit. Or at least refine it.

  16. PS Noot – there are lots of Christians who think I am hellbound as well. But, since I don’t buy into their concept of hell anymore, it doesn’t bother me. I sort of feel sorry for them that they have a limited perception of God. Perhaps it is important to their self esteem to think they are special, and they are chosen. I understand them feeling that way, for I feel the same way, special and chosen by god to have a vision of him that is more glorious than they can even conceive of. I know what it is to leave organized religion and wander in the wilderness, knowing that it could mean leaving god forever. Just don’t confuse God with religion. They really are two different things.

  17. But Rob,
    I have never, ever, ever, said anywhere anytime that there is no God. Never said it. You keep repeating that, but I never said that. What I said is that I do not know if there is a God, and neither does anyone else. I have said that the Bible and Religion are fairy tales and that has become self evident from the examination of them, and I also see no reason to believe in magic. Magic usually is just something for which we simply don’t understand its mechanisms yet. Does the Mindfreak really do magic, or is it that we simply don’t know how he does his tricks?

    I may have issues, I don’t deny that, but I am no longer an angry man. There is no doubt that this stuff has and still does carry a lot of weight with me. Think about it for a minute, being in a cult for 39 years, actually since birth, will always carry a lot of weight with a person, no matter how far removed. Do you think being a POW still carries weight with those guys many, many years after the events? They may be over the anger, but it is still a strong memory, and they will never forget it. This issue, and my past, and the fairy tales passed off as truth, will always be a weighty issue with me always, partly because I do not want anyone else to go through it, however that does not mean I am an angry man. I have let go of that. Believe what you want.

    I live in a family of fundamentalist, both sides. My father is still a fundamentalist preacher, my father in law is still a fundamentalist preacher. I have uncles who are church leaders, deacons, and elders.. I live in a community of fundamentalists. I live in a City of fundamentalists. I live in a State of Fundamentalists. I live in a region of the country full of fundamentalists. Even if I wanted to forget it, I can’t. It is in my face each and every day.

    If someone, anyone chooses to believe in God, Religion, The Bible, or magic, that is just simply their personal arbitrary faith, not a fact, not an absolute truth of any kind, can’t be proven in any way.

    Just because I can articulate a point, and/or argue vehemently for or against it, does not mean I am angry. Passion is not always anger. Deep feelings yes, and I always will have them. Angry, not. If people think that because I will not shut up that I must be angry, that is their problem.

    With love in my heart for ya, Rob.

  18. OH by the way, about this statement:

    “How is the mere idea of a god more fantastic and ridiculous than all the matter in the universe was once so tiny it fit on the head of a pin and for some unknown reason exploded so powerfully that the vast universe was created in a matter of seconds. ” Rob

    From NASA Cosmology 101. “The Big Bang did not occur at a single point in space as an “explosion.” It is better thought of as the simultaneous appearance of space everywhere in the universe. That region of space that is within our present horizon was indeed no bigger than a point in the past. Nevertheless, if all of space both inside and outside our horizon is infinite now, it was born infinite. If it is closed and finite, then it was born with zero volume and grew from that. In neither case is there a “center of expansion” – a point from which the universe is expanding away from. In the ball analogy, the radius of the ball grows as the universe expands, but all points on the surface of the ball (the universe) recede from each other in an identical fashion. The interior of the ball should not be regarded as part of the universe in this analogy.”

    In other words what is visible to us may have been a small point, but not the whole universe.

    Where did the material for the big bang come from?
    Where did God come from?
    Who knows? Nobody

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