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

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Week II - Day 4 - Readiness to Receive...Day 2

Feel like a dog is shaking me in his mouth.
I debated on skipping Day 4 so that I could be where I was "supposed" to be in the book, or not worry about the "supposed to be" of this day and simply be where I am.

I must be learning something, because once I began reading Day 4 I knew I was where I needed to be. A friend sent me this image yesterday, that I only found today since I felt to bad to even be on the computer. It definitely brought a smile and it pretty much looks like I feel today.

Be empty, and you will remain full.
Clay is molded into vessels, and because of the space where there is nothing, you can carry water. Space is carved out from a wall, and because of the place where there is nothing, you can receive light. Be empty, and you will remain full...  ~ Lao-Tsu

Wow...that last insight really caused me to pause..."Be empty, and you will remain full..."

Obviously, when I am "full" I cannot hold anything else.  It is only in the emptying, that I can receive God, and as I strive to empty myself, God is naturally going to fill me...over and over again.  God filling me is very different than "me" filling myself with stuff.

Oh, does this resonate with me!
I recently had a similar conversation to today's reading with two other women.  All three of us described our selves as a Type A and all three of us admitted how difficult it is to receive help.  We were all much more comfortable giving and organizing help for someone else.  Two of us had experienced being brought to our knees before we were ready to receive.  The third woman was just getting ready to learn about being brought to her knees.

Interesting enough, the two who had lived through and survived the experience, both admitted that it had been a valuable time of learning, much like the woman in Joyce's book who says, "I think that the greatest gift of my emptiness was that I could not give. Al I could do was receive."

One learns a sense of humbleness in receiving.  I am not sure we can receive when we are proud and self assured of what "I" can accomplish and get done.
"When we are empty and poor inside, we finally realize that we have to rely on someone else giving us what we need." (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p 55)
I might have broken a bit, but  not
something I couldn't  "manage".
And what I learned...that applies to receiving from God as much as it applied receiving from others.  Basically, if I am able to stand on my own without help from any physical being, I most likely am going to forget how much I need God in my life as well.

That was a bitter pill for me to swallow, yet it was a lesson I desperately needed to learn at the time.  I have said that I wish I could have learned the lesson without the pain...without being brought to my knees.  But, I was a hard egg to crack.
"Eventually we learn how wonderful it is to receive and we become more open and receptive. We receive more graciously, accepting the gifts that we need for our growth. We become more confident because we learn that at the heart of all the gifts is the treasurer of Diving Love, poured out profusely into our open, emptied, readied hearts." (Ibid)
          Breathing in: I am ready......
          Breathing out: ...I receive

Hold the empty cup in your hands.Look at all the room the cup has for filling.Picture the inner part of yourself.Notice how much more room there is for filling.Hold the cup out before you in the gesture of a beggar.Ask God to fill you.Arise, go and slowly pour something in your cup (coffee, tea, water...)Come back and sit down.Receive and enjoy the contents of the cup. (Ibid) 
Scripture: Psalm 81:10, 16
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it....
I would feed you with the finest of wheat
and with honey from the rock
I would satisfy you.

Reflect on a time in your life when you felt very empty and received something you needed for your life. Describe the experience.
What do I find most difficult about receiving?
What would help me to be more ready to receive graciously? 

I had not read the journaling questions before I journaled my thoughts on the reading.  In many ways, I have already described a time when I was empty...brought to my knees, and I needed someone else to help me.  I was the receiver instead of the gifter. I must admit, reading the reflection piece, I was struck by the image of holding my cup out like a beggar.  Even after everything I have been through and everything I have learned...I still hesitated!

Dear God, help me with my pride!  Spirit of Growth and Transformation, help me to trust you so that I do not even hesitate to hold my cup out to you.

I wrote a few days ago that transformation is difficult, and it even is a bit painful.  It is painful to let go of our pride and that darned illusion of control that I, and maybe you, carry so well.

For me, the most difficult thing about receiving is the image of a beggar.  Yes, we have heard stories of those who take advantage of the system, but there are those who truly have nothing and rely on the grace of others to even exist...and I resist that dependency.  But, the good news is that even though I am a hard egg, God loves me and continues to gently nudge me toward "emptiness."

While I am more willing to receive graciously, I still have a long way to go. Yet, I know through the words and insights of teachers like Joyce Rupp, I can find my way toward wholeness as a beloved child of God.

Loving and Gracious Father, thank you for the opportunities to continue growing.  Help me to recognize the fears and anxieties that I carry deep in my heart...and to let them go.  God, may I be receptive to the outpouring of your love and wisdom, today...and in the days to come! AMEN!

Outpouring of God's amazing Love
"Today, when others offer me help in any form, I will receive it graciously and with gratitude."

Ummmm, I pray you and I have a deep and full day and that when another reaches out to put something in our cup, we can receive it with grace and with thankfulness.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. My prayer was also to be gracious to others when I receive, and it was to be ready for ALL help. It is so easy to get caught up in the "doing" that I forget to be in the moment of waiting/listening/being receptive to what God and others are offering.