We all have situations in our lives at some point where we have no idea which direction we should go or how long will it be before we can smile again. Searching for peace and joy isn't easy to come by. Whether you are surrounded with dismal outlooks on life or surrounded by love, when you can not seem to own your space, it's quite a challenge to search for what is your truth.
Truth. What is it? Is there a such thing? Is it there an absolute that gives us the confidence to know that all is well within our soul? Of course there is, but there is a catch. Remove everything you know about the two most powerful religions in the world Christianity, and Islam. As a matter of fact, let's remove religion from this conversation all together.
Good, now, let's create a scenario. Imagine this:
A child is born into a family that lives modestly. They have no modernized amenities but they are well kept. They manage to go to the river and bathe, to wash clothes, go to a creek, get water for drinking and cooking. Entertainment to them is getting together with family after dinner to sing and share stories.
Still following? Good
Now, they have a tradition of connecting with one another, when one hurt, they all hurt. When one is happy their share in celebration and when there is anger, they take it to the elders to sort it out. They have no idea what a church is, don't know of a "Great and Terrible Sky Being" all they know that the life they are given is much appreciated and it's a honor to live with those they love. That is safety for them.
Now close your eyes and imagine yourself in that scenario. No cheating, do NOT put a deity in this. I am sure you are saying or thinking "She is crazy, You can't take God out of this". I am so glad you mentioned it because now I am going to illustrate to you how we take God out of our everyday life.
Have you ever walked down the street and saw someone that looks unappealing to you? What is your first thought? If it isn't to speak to them with a hello, you have already taken God out of that scenario. How? Glad you asked, allow me to explain.
Each and every day when you wake up, you have a chance to live a new day, have a new experience. Everything that happened the day before is nothing but a memory. Therefore you can either stay stuck on yesterday or create a new experience today. However, there are plenty of times, God is not in our conversations. I am not speaking of the spiritual context of how to reference the bible to prove your worth, or to prove others worth. I am speaking of how we judge others. I am speaking of how yesterday there was a mass shooting and social media exploded with well wishes as well as condemnation of how the persons involved were living against what was ordained by God. When love comes into play, there is no question of what, where, how and why. It is only compassion. When you judge, there is fear attached to your experience because we do what? Fear what we don't understand.
I know, I know, in the Old Testament it says all the things that God is against. As a matter of fact the ONLY time when there is much of the New Testament referred to is when people are justifying why they are judging. Yet they leave out that ONE commandment that was given "Love one another. . ." So where is the compassion? Where is the love?
Now pretend that you never knew what a bible was. Pretend you know nothing right now, at all. Do you feel compelled to love or hate?
Now, back to the truth to refer to thing.
When you are a child, you know only what you were taught. You trust those around you for the experience as well as go out on your own faith to fulfill your curiosity. Your first traumatic experience can alter or tailor your life and can determine how you live your life for years to come. Based on what you've learned, it becomes a new type of truth. Your thoughts in certain situations refer back to that experience. As we age we find our devices of defense, we fill out what keeps us protected. It becomes our truth. UNTIL you experience different or even told differently, your truth changes many shapes and forms.
When you speak of truth, you hear of different sides of it. (Even if it's a lie.) You've heard the cliche saying "There is three sides to a story, yours, theirs and the truth". Well which truth is it?
Truth is a perception. An ideology that either many people agree or just as many disagree. Sometimes, a certain truth can validate a group of individuals to manipulate perception and even appears to be factual data to back up the group's truth. If you are tired of trying to find truth your way, emotions can lead you into a truth that feels right at that time.
But when it comes to religion, one's perception of truth comes in various forms. I am using Christianity as a reference because my experience is mostly of that faith.
I come from a background that you have to "live right" if you want to see God. There are many rules that tell you how to stay in line, a truth that tells you that you should be grateful of a God that sits on high. The truth I grew up with was I'm not good enough if I don't follow the laws of God. Everything that do not fall into place with the Christian faith is wrong.
Well you have to know by know in all of my 40+ years I began to question the theories of this religion. There was a bad marriage that started rocky. I came to the conclusion, I ran away from one abusive background to create another. I had to break many molds and release much anger to begin to heal and stop the vicious cycle. I had to begin exploring what was my truth. I knew in my heart of hearts that the truth I was living wasn't mine. It didn't feel right. On the surface it was right because the approval of those around me said it was so. Yet, I didn't feel loved, I didn't feel safe and secure. Of course having children raised the bar of how I wanted to be perceived. I took a stand that my truth didn't lie within one book, in one person, in one ideology and it damn for sure didn't feel good to have the very people telling me how wrong I was.
During the time I began discovering my own truth, I had elders, sisters, mothers of the "church" telling me how I should do what the bible say. Just wait on God and he'll set me free. All that sounds good, but I knew deep down that I had to be accountable, own my shit and walk in the freedom God had already paved for me. This isn't a blog post to talk religion, this is a post of how I benefited from experiences to gain my truth. I refer to the bible a lot because it is a great tool for everyday living (when it is in the right hands). I am also a true believer of three key scriptures that have been hidden in plain sight.
1. Let us create man in our image - We are God in the flesh, (the story of Jesus proves it)
2. Love One another as I love have loved you - No matter what love is the truth and is always tested
3. I am the Alpha and Omega - Life starts with birth and ends with death. We are to fill in the gaps. Our experiences are made up of what we create and how we love.
While I attended church during the turbulent times of my first marriage, I had many people tell me that they will "pray for my marriage to be whole again". Of course this would anger me, I even left the church because when I asked for a simple friendship, all I got was judgement of what God told someone else to tell me what I should be doing. The very people that encouraged me were people that understood what it was like to need mercy. I lived much of my life placing condemnation on others based off of what I was taught to only have to face the very sort of judgment when it was my turn.
I had to become clear about a few things: people have experiences on different levels and they don't know that they don't know. Church didn't teach me to connect to myself, it taught me I had to connect through someone to even put a request in to God. Thirdly, I had to go through my own experience to learn compassion. I had to remove myself out of people's lives. I got a glimpse into how my interjection of judgement wasn't helping people that came to be for a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. I was becoming the very thing I was trying to get away from.
I have also learned that truth isn't restricted to one absolute person, place or thing. However love is truth. Love doesn't hurt nor does it cost anything. The reason love is so hard to obtain or even believe in is, fear taught us differently. Fear connects us to the surface of life, it doesn't dig deep. Think about how many times you were afraid of something at first, then you tried it and realized it wasn't bad at all. You actually "loved" it. There are two connectors in our life experiences 1. Ego - fear based, goes by what is seen or what is told. 2. Spirit - love based. Trusting the process of life.
So again I'll ask: Have you ever walked down the street and see someone who is unappealing or threatening to you? What is your first thought?
I wrote a blog post a while ago about how our thoughts have power and the power of I AM.
Read more about love and monitoring your thoughts
Loving instead of judging is a challenge because sometimes it's easier to judge, it helps create a barrier that we can hide behind. It allows us to feel good about ourselves or compare our situations to others in a noble way. If we can keep our minds off of ourselves, we don't have to deal with ourselves. Of course we look good on the outside and can't keep our eyes off the mirror - When we look good. But what about when you are totally stripped down to nothing? Can you look at yourself in the mirror and simply say "I Love and accept you"?
With much that is happening now, we cannot help but to get that no matter what, love conquers all. If only if a chance is given. So when you are in search of much needed guidance and you are encountered with someone judging your situation and they want to pray for you, kindly request "Please don't pray for me, love me instead." Actually prayer is more powerful when love is the motivator.