God is in your place of desperation

end road

When you feel that you have reached the end and that you cannot go one step further.  When life seems to be drained of all purpose: What a wonderful opportunity to start all over again, to turn over a new page.Eileen Caddy

There is hope at the end of your road

 

Let that sit with you for a moment … Do you believe it ?

Some of you are at the point where you have discovered this life truth
Others still need to be convinced that the end can indeed be a new beginning

I’m not sure where you are on your journey today

I want to invite you to be open to the possibility that you can turn a new page

““Not until we are lost , Do we begin to understand ourselves.” Henry Thoreau

How many today feel you at the end of your road, at a crossroad or feel lost ?

You’re in a good place – God is in our place of desperation

I choose the title of my book ‘desperation to destiny’ because I believe that any significant journey of healing and growth begins at the place of desperation.

In a paradoxical way – the end is the beginning….

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Detachment & Attachment

Larry Crabb, a Christian psychologist and spiritual director speaks of detachment and attachment as a cycle of spiritual growth. Inherent in our human nature is our attachment to sin. Sin is the desire to be satisfied with ‘second things’ instead of the ‘first things’. He describes ‘second things’ as our pursuit for things other than God. The work of spiritual direction is to detach from the second things and learn to attach to first things, as God intended for us at the beginning of time.

In the words of Ecclesiastes, second things are described as ‘vanities’. The wise King Solomon, came to a point in his life where he discovered that all things apart from God are vanity, five of which are described in the book:

  • gaining wisdom through thinking
  • finding pleasure in your sensations
  • achieving wealth and power
  • living ethically by a code that suits your self conscience
  • practicing religious piety to realize spirituality

At face value there is no problem with thinking, pleasure, wealth and power, ethical living and religious piety. The problem is when these ‘second things’ become the ‘first things’; when second things substitute first things. We were made for the ‘first things’. We recognize the Satan enamors us with the glitz and glamour of second things.

Coming to the place of detachment is not a rational journey. We have to come to the place when we recognize that the second things  really don’t matter and are insufficient in themselves.We come into a deep sense of knowing – not in the head – but in our whole being. “Detachment begins when the passions of the heart have nowhere to go”  (Larry Crabb).

Coming to this place of desperation is often referred to as ‘the dark night’ as described by St John of the Cross “God will lead the soul by a most lofty path of dark contemplation and aridity wherein it seems to be lost.”

Only when we recognise our foolish dependence on the ‘second things’ will we be open to the God of the ‘first things’. This is a good place to end up !

REFERENCE: LARRY CRABB. SCHOOL OF SPIRITUAL DIRECTION (2011)

Soul Making: Children of the Desert


Teresa of Avila – the soul as an interior castle which most people never explore 
Questioning our faith:
The work of the heart involves questioning and wondering:

  • Deepens and strengthens my faith
  • A way of revealing Gods grace

Believers from time to time need to break away from their old ways of believing.

Few would want to be free of either their idolatrous imaginings or their fixed opinions.

how can I be a believer in today’s world in such a way that it involves my whole self – my passion, my intelligence, and my allegiance? my question always returns me to the desert. 

It’s no longer possible to believe simply on someone else’s say so – on naked authority

We believe not because we’re supposed to – we believe because because we find them true

We are also mindful that as we throw out the external pope we don’t internalide our lofty idea

The danger of cults (blind faith) and dogmatic (biblical fundamentalism)

Three imperatives of mature believers: 

1. Look – contemplating willingness to see what is there in front of us without prematurely interpreting what we see

2. Weep – the fruit of honest contemplation is the gift of tears

3. Live – with inner joy

The desert emptiness and desolation is to prepare us for joy and grounding in hope – it is not a place for masochists

The desert and psychoanalysis are metaphors for focus, receptivity and change

What do we see when we look: disconnection, absurdity, glory -contradictions. Look hard and we see glory and promise

Spirituality rejoices in the interdependence of all things ‘the Art of making connections’ in a holistic sense

The way of images and the way of rejecting images:

We are connected through images and ideas. The trouble is separating images from the thing itself – can become idolatrous in themselves

The other way is the contradiction of opposites – negation and affirmation

What does it mean that I and others are created in the image of God?

Any attempts to trap God in an image, form, or figure is both futile and dangerous because God becomes ‘God’ and terrible things have been done in the name of God

The idolatry of ideas


We have a tendency to make ideas into things, and so we’re tempted to take our way or believing and thinking and imagine that our way is the only right and sane one there is out there.

Contemplation means seeing what is there and refusing to hallucinate so that we see only what we want to see.

What would it mean to be committed to a way of seeing that would challenge us to change? Contemplation (like art ) requires of us a willingness to be transformed. So does the study of theology.
JHB – Zurich overnight flight