Food for thought from "Faith and Will" by Julia Cameron
[sub-title: Weathering the Storms in Our Spiritual Lives]
[still reading; I'm only on page 76; I flag quotes as I read and this book has several dozen flags already]
There is a way to live each day that feels in accord with God's will for us . . . All of these [daily] choices are points where our life touches God's. God touches our lives everywhere and at all times.
If God is with us every moment, then we can ask for directions at all times. There will never be a moment in which our prayer is unheard, although we may hurry onward, not taking time for the answer.
To know God takes a beat.
We must reach out and allow the time to feel that what we have reached out to has reached out back to us. Most of us are too hurried to know God. And yet we act as if God is too hurried to know us.
They say that faith without works is dead. It is faith that allows us to make our works. It is faith that allows us to take risks. Faith in something greater than ourselves, faith that the bread will somehow land jam side up. Faith is what says, in the face of "bad" news, "I wonder where this is going." Faith knows that life is an evolutionary process and that "all bets are off" is not such a bad position to be in. Faith puts our money on the certain number - "God" - and spins the wheel.
It is one of the ironies of the spiritual life that so much can be seen in retrospect as having been designed in our own best interest.
But people have free will and so, for that matter, does God. God is no dummy. God is not easily bribed or coerced. God does not fall for our pretty, phony prayers. God is seeking something deeper, and if we cannot muster it, God is stubborn. God holds out for what is in our best interests. God is willing to be unpopular.
In order to find a silver lining, we must be willing to look for one. At the very least, we must be willing to recognize one when it appears. We must be willing to be comforted in order to be comforted. We must maintain an openness to spiritual realities. We must be teachable in order that we may be taught. It is for this reason that the great prayer is "Thy will be done." The surrendering of our independent spirits to a higher good make it possible to find a path through darkness. "Thy will be done, O Lord, Thy will be done." This is the prayer of the dark night of the soul. This is the prayer of surrender.
When we ask God to fulfill us, we have a notion of what it is we think might best serve, and that notion is not always God's intention for us. It is not that God fails to hear our prayers, rather that the prayer God hears may be a deeper prayer that we are able consciously to make. When we invite God to shape us, we are yielding our notions of what our best shape may be. We are entering a new terrirory, a world of openmindedness, where God's decisions become those we abide by and God's blueprint becomes the plan for our own unfolding. This can be frightening. What are you turning me into? Will I recognize the person that I become? Perhaps not.