Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Week II - Day 1 - The Cluttered Cup

Our minds are like crows. They pick up everything that glitters, no matter how uncomfortable our nests gets with all that metal in them. ~ Thomas Merton

No matter my mood, I think this quote would have brought a smile!  I almost laughed out loud, thinking of myself as a crow...with a nest full of jewels.

Ornery and beautiful birds...the crow. : )

After Merton's image of the crow, it took me a few minutes to refocus this morning. But...on to Joyce!

Again, this wonderful teacher greeted me where I live, amidst the clutter that is all to often a part of my life. Yes, I have the visible clutter that seems to be a constant battle. Acknowledging the inner clutter may at times be more difficult to admit to having.  All to often I, maybe you, wear a mask, trying to hide what is in our deepest heart. More times than I want to think, I have worn a smile to hide my fears or anxieties, my self doubt, my worries... useless trash but nevertheless, it may be crippling...preventing us from living fully....preventing us from being the Love Song you and I were created to be.

Joyce points out that wonderful things such as success, knowledge, beauty, and pleasure can become clutter when you and I seek these things "madly and at any cost, obsessed with having more, clutching them closely to me, or putting all my energy into preserving them."

She goes on to tell us that we do not have to discard good things, but we do need to keep them from taking over our inner life.
"Clutter throws me off-balance when I let it take over my mind or my emotions. There is not much room for God's agenda when mine takes up all the nooks and crannies. Even prayer itself can become clutter if my spiritual practice becomes the focal point instead of my relationship with God." (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p 48)

Let the freedom of non-clutter pervade your spirit.
            Breathing in: Let go....
            Breathing out.....unclutter

Joyce asks that you and I take a look around at our inner clutter...the clutter that prevents us being fully with God.

What do you see?

Now, she says, take your cup and imagine all that clutter being in your cup.......

Then...she gives us a wonderful image....
"Lift the cup and turn it sideways.
Symbolically empty out the clutter of your inner life.
Now turn the cup back up and sit quietly.
Let the freedom of non-clutter pervade your spirit.
Try to feel the joy of a non-cluttered heart."

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)

        "Write a dialogue with God about your inner clutter.
        "Make a list of the clutter in your life.
        "The inner clutter that is most difficult to discard is.....  because...."

This transforming is hard work!

Remember, San..."...may you continue to open the space within yourself that is waiting to be filled with the radiance of God."

One, I think it would take me longer than one afternoon to list the clutter in my life. Some of it is truly trash, while some of it is "good stuff."  A few years ago I remember reading something to the effect of..."God will not be saddened by the things I did not do as much as he will be by the things I did that he never asked me to do."

I've just Googled this, but I did not have any luck finding whose insight this might be. I will have to ask my friend tomorrow.  Unlike me, he has a mind like a steel trap.  BUT! Regardless who said this, the general thought has stayed with me. Jesus tells us, "My burden will be light..."     ............How often have you ever wondered about that "light burden" when you fall into bed from exhaustion of doing "good work"?

Like I said, this is much deeper work than one afternoon... Some of the inner clutter that is most difficult to discard - the things I do to keep a whole host of people happy... The things I do trying to keep peace.... The things I do to try and keep myself "safe" within these places....  This goes back to some of my journaling last week when I acknowledged that God did not make me responsible for other's peace....I am not responsible for other's happiness or well-being....
Light's on! But, nobody is home......

If I am in their "space", trying to make sure they are happy...who is in my space! It is like the saying, "the light is on, but nobody is home." I am not "home" when I am in somebody else's space, trying to make sure they are happy, peaceful.....

We can drive ourselves crazy wondering, "Well, what if..."
Earlier today I shared with a friend some of my inner questions regarding boundaries, I wondered how one can feel safe to share thoughts or questions...or if they should be shared.

This clutter is difficult to discard....because I am afraid.

I am afraid someone I care for, being hurt.
I am afraid someone who honestly irritates me, being hurt. How crazy is that!

I am afraid of being hurt.

Know what it comes down to?

Do I trust God enough to be present in the "messiness" that I and others create?  This God, for whom I yearn for "his radiance to fill me", can I let go, in order for that to happen? Can I let go of my illusion of control so that God can empty out my cup in order to fill it with his radiance?

If this were easy, the world would be full of saints.  

If this were easy, spiritual teachers, like Joyce Rupp, would no work to do!  

Thinking about the butterflies from Callaway Gardens... We see their beauty, and forget the work that is necessary for their transformation....

Earlier today I said "we" don't like to be uncomfortable. It would have been more correct to say, "I" don't like to be uncomfortable AND that I believe Jesus made the disciples uncomfortable!! A few days ago I wrote about our God of Second Chances.  I am so thankful God recognizes my heart yearns for him YET I do not make it easy for him to fill my heart.

I remember writing about this last week as well...I wrote that I cannot do any of this transforming by my own will.  I can only make myself available...I can do my best to empty my cup by being present and taking care of my spiritual health...I can wait AND in our Gracious God's own time, I will be made whole by his Spirit.

In the meantime, I want to continue working through these wonderful, and yet challenging insights of Joyce Rupp. I pray...that God continues to watch over me, to guide me, to love lead me to wholeness.  A song that says this so well...Celtic Women - The Prayer

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer
As we go our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe

Give us faith so we’ll be safe.

Joyce has been talking with my friend who is always reminding me to work on ONE thing at a time! At the end of today's thoughts she asked us to do our best to discard ONE PIECE of clutter today.  Just ONE!

It is night now, I hope you have smiled as you have done your best to discard one piece of clutter.  Tonight, give thanks for Spirit's help as you make yourself available to be day/one step at a time.

Many Blessings on this St. Patrick's Day!  ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of "one thing" - the thought of the written, never ending list of things was too daunting for me to begin. I have so much clutter, just knowing where to begin to "dejunk" and then starting to do it was overwhelming. When I arrived home tonight, I just had a sideways cup - no list. It seemed to add to the clutter that maybe I should have taken the time to make the literal list. Praise God for His grace and His word. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:21 I looked at this backward (not sure if that is the correct way to do things). Where my hear is, there my treasure will be - I want to declutter and have the Spirit-filled life God desires for me to have. May the desires of my heart be known to God, so that He can begin the work in me of decluttering the "junk" and filling me with his mercies, so I might be a light to God's power and love.