A Budding Change

In the springtime I love watching the trees. Their branches have appeared dead. But when spring comes, you see them coming back to life. Of course they were never dead, just sleeping. The buds begin to form and swell and you know that the time is just about right for them to burst out of their buds and start leafing out. I never tire of watching this happen. New life—fresh life is exciting!

The world is budding. New spiritual awakening is happening everywhere. Ten years ago when I was finishing graduate school it was almost unheard of to hear a spiritual discussion at school. It was not in style to be a spiritual person. Things have changed. I was recently cruising around the Internet and have found some amazing, beautiful spiritual sites that encourage people in their daily struggles and encourage them to a closer walk with God.

There is a lot of good information out there, from every denomination and faith base. I can always tell the difference when looking for spiritual resources about whether or not the information is truly helpful. The Bible gives us some good insight into determining what will help us grow and what will lead us off-track. It tells us about the spiritual fruit produced by someone. Spiritual fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) The Spirit who lives in us produces these in us.

This past week I ran into someone from my own church that was passing out “literature” that was based on fear. I don’t see fear listed as a gift of the Spirit. My conclusion has to be that this person is acting out of their own wounding and doesn’t understand yet that God truly loves them and wants to save them.

There is a wonderful Native American teaching that describes people who approach life through negativity and fear as those standing outside of the circle of love. They do not enter it because they do not think that they are worthy. Another way of understanding this is the idea of a “true believer”. A true believer is one who is held captive by their set of beliefs. Fear is the foundation of any type of narrowness and exclusiveness that we see in religion.

When I am searching for spiritual reading or spiritual practices to help me draw closer to God, I always see what kind of fruit they produce. Do they help me to love God better? Am I drawn to be more loving and caring of my fellow travelers? Do I better understand my own relationship to God? Jesus summed up all of the commandments into two commands, love God will all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22). He went on to state that all of the law and all of the writings of the prophets are based on these two principles.

In reality it is quite a tall order for us to love in this way. In fact, it is quite impossible. This is why we need the power of the Spirit living in us. We can’t love God, others, or ourselves without some Divine help. If we want to see our world change and our lives change for the better we have to invite God’s Spirit to live in our hearts and love through us. This is the healing of the wounded feminine. Spirit (feminine aspect of God) living within us brings healing and restoration. This allows us, it empowers us, and it enlivens us to love supernaturally. This is what will change our world one heart at a time.

To bring this change into my own heart and life I invite God’s Spirit to dwell there every day. I spend time meditating on all that was done for me at the cross. I express gratitude that power is available to me to transform my heart and I set intentions for the day of which gifts of the Spirit on want to manifest in my life.

It is by focusing on my intention to be filled with the Spirit that I can navigate a less than perfect world. When I am distracted by other things, sometimes my own inner stuff, I refocus my attention as soon as possible back to the spiritual realities that I want to take center stage in my life.

Here they are again, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They are the spiritual fruits of God’s Spirit. Not mine—God’s. I see them as buds opening up in my life as the Spirit of God starts to flow through me. It is always God that creates new life. To God we give glory even in our own growth and change. Gratitude is our most gracious response.