The Beginning, Part Two
Galatians, Chapter One
I have to admit that while I’ve read and studied Galatians numerous times in my life, I have always ‘glossed over’ the first part of the book. It’s been like, ‘yada, yada, yada.’ It seems when I’ve read something several times I need to look at it from a new lens.
So I prayed and prayed yesterday afternoon. I pray about every lesson I write and I spend time listening. I try to listen closely to what God has for me. If my Spiritual Director of ten years taught me one thing, it would be to stop trying to be the person I think God wants me to be and START letting God give me “what he has for me”. When my Spiritual Director first started telling me the “what God has for me” line (which he probably repeated about a thousand times), I couldn’t even process it.
I had been so caught up in ministry and what I needed to do for God that I wasn’t letting God give anything TO ME. I now think that’s the very reason many ministries burn out today. The crux of the matter that Paul was dealing with in the churches in Galatia was that they had turned away from what he taught them about Grace, true free grace and peace.
In Chapter one Paul established his call to be an Apostle of Jesus. He outlined his journey with the other Apostles after his Damascus Road experience, and he made it clear (with fire in his belly) that the churches in Galatia had been “preverted” by another gospel after he left them.
When I read that yesterday, that brought me to my knees. I remembered all the times my Spiritual Director corrected my words that hinted at the fact that my mission in life was to do what God called me to do. While that was admirable, it meant I was working to please God. I fell into the trap of not waiting for what God had for me. Without even realizing it, I was not receiving the free gift of God’s grace.
The overarching question for me and for the churches in Galatia was this...what did (does) God have to give to me today?
Looking back, I think that is the question that I dreaded the most during the time I was in Spiritual Direction. Hardly a session went by that I wasn’t faced with my own well-intentioned perverted “doing” thinking. After all, the American western culture is all about us receiving acclaim because of what we DO. I easily fell into the trap.
When I started going to see a Spiritual Director I realized that those thought processes had inculcated my brain for over 20 years. I lived to work for God. In a way I was trying to earn my salvation, my place in the world. Not once during that time did I stop to ask God what He had to give me.
Gradually, ever so gradually when thoughts came to me about what I NEEDED to do for God, I remembered the words, “what does God have for you?”
It took time.
I was so accustomed to earning the right to BE acceptable that I forgot that in God’s eyes I AM acceptable simply because of His GRACE.
I had to re-write the old tapes that had been running in my head all those years. I didn’t need to earn God’s love. I only needed to receive it.
The process (for me) meant that every time I was faced with my old perverted thinking, I needed to stop thinking I needed to DO work for God, back up the truck, and START thinking I needed to receive from God what He had for ME today.
Again, it took time.
It started with learning to spend time with God so He could give me what I needed. I had to learn to listen. I mean really listen. I had to learn to wait and I learned that while I waited I got to know God...spending quality time with someone DOES that. I had to learn to recognize when God is calling my name and I learned to wait and watch for the movement of the Holy Spirit. I found that in that space, that Holy Sacred Space, God gives me what I need.
It’s a holy space filled with grace and peace.*
Thanks to the Apostle Paul, I was reminded today to stop working and start listening for what God has to give to me today. What Paul wanted for the churches in Galatia really was peace and grace.
I am also reminded that IN THE BEGINNING, man was not present. God didn’t need our help in order to create the heavens and the earth. God created man/woman so we would be in fellowship with Him. God still doesn’t need us to DO anything. He IS God. God loves us and wants to spend time with us.
Free grace doesn’t require our work.
We don’t need to earn it.
We just need to stop long enough to really connect with God.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: listen for the movement and the voice of God
Take as much time as you need to watch for the movement of the Spirit and listen for the voice of God. What does God have for you today?
In God, Deborah
*I have set aside a page on ‘acrazyjourney.com’ for helping others learn and establish their own sacred space where God meets us in our heart.