TAKING THE LEAP OF FAITH
"The German philosopher and poet Goethe says, 'The highest and most excellent thing in man is formless, and we should guard against giving it shape in anything less than noble dress.'a This is a recognition of the truth that man has the capacity within himself to give form to the formless substance."b
These are beautiful, inspiring words, aren't they? I didn't make them up; I wish I did! Rather, they come from Charles Fillmore's book Prosperity. And while they are beautiful and inspiring, actually accomplishing what they say requires something.
Anyone who has ever taken a dream from:
* incubation to manifestation,
* the embryonic state to the full-fledged experience of it,
* the seed of an idea to the full bloom of the plant . . .
. . . knows that sometimes, sometimes there is some fancy footwork that must happen to bridge the gap between incubating the idea and manifesting the dream. Right?
Remember last month, I said that a minister friend of mine added to the saying that "when one door closes another one opens, but the hallway can be a real . . . . .!"?
Well so can the gap between incubation and manifestation. It doesn't have to be that way, but it can be that way. Anyone know what I'm talking about? And the reason it happens this way is because we need to let go of the beliefs, behaviors, ways of being, etc. that have gotten us to where we are right now, but which won't get us to the dream. And they don't necessarily go quietly. It's called chemicalization.
In The Revealing Word, Charles Fillmore speaks of chemicalization and says: "Whenever a new spiritual idea is introduced into the mind, some negative belief is disturbed. It resists. With this resistance comes more or less commotion in the consciousness. This is called chemicalization."c Chemicalization often happens on the bridge!
We are going to speak all month about bridging the gap (or said another way "addressing the chemicalization") and to begin with, we are going to turn the word "gap" into an acronym -- "Grand Adventure in Purpose." Sometimes that gap - that Grand Adventure in Purpose - can be scary, and yet what we do inside it can make all the difference.
So, this month, we will successfully bridge that gap, and we begin this morning by joining hands and supporting one another in taking a leap of faith that sends us into midair! So for just a moment, take the hands of the person to your right and to your left, look at each other and say "Let's leap together!" Good, now, let's go.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM
So, what is on your heart?
Perhaps a dream you have right now is to expand the life you are already living into something bigger.
Or perhaps you desire to double your income.
Or perhaps you want to actually start getting paid for your art or your writing or your organizational skills.
Maybe you'd like to spice up your current relationship or you'd like to create one.
Maybe you'd like to shift your career around by transferring to a different department or starting your own business.
Perhaps you would like to have a healthier, more vibrant transport for God - meaning your physical body!
Maybe you're ready to let go of an addiction.
Maybe you'd like to become a practitioner/chaplain or a minister.
Maybe you would like to let go of your corporate job to do something more meaningful for you.
Or perhaps you are now like I was in 1987, before I became a minister . . . or even had the nudge to become a minister. Things were great in my life. Five years prior, I had discovered Religious Science and was actively involved in my church - taking classes and attending every single Sunday because I NEEDED to have that weekly reminder of who I was. I had made major shifts in my internal landscape and become the person who could attract the most amazing things. I had manifested my dreams through intention and vision boarding. I had a good job at a software company where I was not only valued and respected, but where I made a very nice living. Things were great. But, they weren't. There was a dissatisfaction in me. Now, I know that is called Divine Discontent. There was something niggling at me that there was more. Something more that I was to be doing with my life. Some expanded way I was to be living, but what was it? I had absolutely no idea. No idea.
So, I know how you feel. And I know that something very important must happen at this juncture or you will be sitting here next year still wanting to:
*expand the life you are already living into something bigger.
*double to your income.
*actually start getting paid for your art or your writing or your organizational skills.
*spice up your current relationship or create one.
*shift your career around by transferring to a different department or starting your own business.
*have a healthier, more vibrant transport for God - meaning your physical body!
*let go of an addiction.
*become a practitioner/chaplain or a minister.
*let go of your corporate job to do something more meaningful for you.
Something has to happen in order for any of those things to occur! We have to take a leap of faith that sends us into midair!
I love this definition of faith: "Faith is knowing that as you step off the cliff, one of two things will happen:
Either the ground will rise up to meet you or
You will spread wings and fly."
Or you may have heard this (by French poet, Guillaume Apollinaire):
"Come to the edge of the cliff," he said.
"We can't, we're afraid!"
"Come to the edge of the cliff," he said.
"We can't. We're afraid. We'll fall!"
"Come to the edge of the cliff," he said.
And so we came. He pushed. We flew.
The leap of faith requires action; you actually have to do something!
Most of us usually start off the year with good intentions. This is a good time to get clear about our visions and dreams and so in January we make a commitment to lose the weight, to quit smoking, to start that new business . . .
And all of a sudden, we realize it is March and we haven't accomplished (or perhaps even started to work on) anything. We haven't even taken our toes over the edge of the cliff, let alone taken a leap!
Can you relate? If this sounds familiar at all, don't beat yourself up. It's actually pretty common for life to get in the way of reaching our ultimate dream...That's why today, I'd like to share three ideas that will help get you off the edge.
1. CONNECT REGULARLY WITH YOUR VISION
First, connect regularly, regularly - do I dare say daily! -- with your Vision, which is your source of motivation.
Have you ever heard this quote? "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing, that's why we recommend it daily."
Lack of motivation is the number one reason why people don't follow through with their plans.
Author Howard Thurman wrote in For the Inward Journey: "So, in the quietness of this place, surrounded by the all-pervading Presence of God, my heart whispers: Keep fresh before me the moments of my High Resolve, that in fair weather or foul, in good times or in tempest, in the days when the darkness and the foe are nameless or familiar, I may not forget that to which my life is committed. Keep fresh before me the moments of my High Resolve."d
To keep fresh before you the moments of your High Resolve, spend a few minutes every day reading your vision, seeing it in detail and feeling what your life is like as you achieve it. In New Thought speak, we call this getting a Mental Equivalent. And when we have a clear, strong Mental Equivalent that involves head and heart, we are on our way!
2. CREATE A LIST OF SMALL STEPS AND TAKE ACTION
Second, create a list of small steps and take action TODAY.
If you haven't done this already, break your vision into smaller steps and write down every single action that you need to take in order to achieve each of them and set a time of completion right next to them.
Make sure to cross off at least one task from your list every day so you keep moving forward.
Holmes writes in The Science of Mind: "Our mind should swing from inspiration to action, from contemplation to accomplishment, from prayer to performance. This would be a well-balanced existence."e
"From prayer to performance." That's good isn't it? That's where the rubber meets the road!
3. LET GO OF THAT WHICH IS STOPPING YOU
Third, let go of that which is stopping you from moving forward. A belief, a habit, a negative family member or friend that brings you down with fear and self-doubt?
Replace the belief with a new idea, change the habit, set boundaries with the person or whatever is preventing you from succeeding in life. This is not selfish, this is part of loving and honoring yourself. Do what it takes to release whatever may be stopping you from moving forward.
And it is with these three ideas firmly in mind and in practice, that we can take the leap of faith.
Regular connection with our vision.
Small, regular steps toward it
Consciously evaluating and letting go of WHATEVER may be standing in the way.
I want to bring this time to a close with a poem entitled "Lessons in Faith" written by a congregant of a colleague of mine after she miscarried a little girl whose name would have been Faith. It goes like this:
Just like a flower in bloom,
I have learned to open up and stretch myself, living life more fully than ever before.
Just like the bird takes flight,
I've learned to spread my wings, lift off, let go, and trust in God's Power and Presence to support and uphold me.
Just like the ocean tides change from morning to night,
I've learned to surrender to God's Divine Flow and move with the current of life easily and gently.
Just like the stars and moon shine brightly in the evening sky,
I've learned to be still and let my inner light shine forth.
Just like the rain falls sometimes gently; sometimes hard,
I've learned to detach from the outcome and stay in the moment.
Just like the natural disasters of fires, floods, earthquakes and storms,
I've learned to recognize my part of all creation, taking responsibility for my destruction and releasing the wreckage of my past.
Just like an Arizona monsoon dust storm blurs the landscape,
I've learned to stop, meditate and pray to clear my vision of God's Divine path for my life.
Just like there is pain and grief over the loss of loved ones,
I've learned that life and love go on, transcending even death, honoring their memory in service to others.
Just like a butterfly undergoes tremendous change both within and without,
I've learned to accept my transformations gracefully, with love, forgiveness and gratitude.
Just like God created me in Her image,
I've learned that with Faith and Divine Right Action, anything is possible.
You just have to do it because "Sometimes ..." as author Margaret Shepard once said: "Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith."f
So you can take the leap, my friends, and either the ground will rise up to meet you or you will spread your wings and fly.
bCharles Fillmore Prosperity, p. 75
cCharles Fillmore The Revealing Word, p. 32
dHoward Thurman For the Inward Journey
eErnest Holmes The Science of Mind p. 477