The return of devotion

The return of devotion – Podcast #5

It’s 6:30am and I’ve only gotten 5 hours sleep. Why in the world am I up writing now? Usually, this would mean that I received some direct inspiration—a fully formed insight upon waking which I then need only “download” through my pen onto paper. This is a wonderful experience, and it still happens from time to time. But this morning, I only have a vague sense that I need to get up and start writing, and to not do so would be disobedient.

What’s returning in my life is a sense of devotion. Devotion to a higher calling that goes beyond who I experience myself to be. I am being called out of myself to create external structures and habits that put me more consistently in the place of receiving inspiration—even when I don’t feel inspired to do it.

The popular praise song “Breathe” is running through my head right now:

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

And I, I’m desperate for you
And I, I’m lost without you

There is a sense of feeling lost, when I’m out of sorts or unhappy with how things are or aren’t progressing. I feel discontent and the pain of that discontentment drives me to take a new step forward. This happened most dramatically when I quit my job two months ago with no other income sources lined up. All I knew is that I was being called to take a leap of faith and to trust that we would be okay. Since then I’ve been learning to live from inspiration on a daily basis, to let go of all forms of self-abuse and be gentler and more loving to myself than I ever have been before. It’s been a profoundly healing process.

I’m still committed to living from inspiration. But after a couple of months of much napping (which I will continue to do, unabashedly), some divine discontent is returning. Mind you, fears have been confronting me all along, and I’ve been continually facing them and releasing them. But this is not fear. This is a desire to grow up, to take responsibility, and to prepare myself to take on even more responsibility. For that, I need to step outside myself and exercise some muscles I haven’t used in a while.

This is surely, undoubtedly another paradox. My mind would love to formulate the difference between fear (“Things aren’t moving fast enough!”) and divine discontent (“Things aren’t moving fast enough!”). And if I was forced to do so (I can’t resist), I would say the presence or absence of peace is the difference that makes a difference. But you know what? I’m not sure that’s always true either. God can use anxiety, guilt, and shame pretty effectively to launch us forward too. So it comes down to “it depends” and “trust your own best judgment” and “heck if I know.” 😉

I am also experiencing this as a return of masculine energy. I have been in such a receptive phase—mothering myself, nurturing myself, comforting myself. This is in great contrast to the masculine drive that was playing such a destructive role in my life: you must force yourself to go to work, even if it’s killing you. Letting go of this was absolutely essential. But now it’s as if the masculine energy is returning to me in a more supportive, self-honoring way. My mind has been resisting it: “wait a sec, I don’t want to make myself do anything. Isn’t that self-abuse?” But again, this is a paradox and not so easily formulated.

The words of Jesus are so helpful here:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Here we have the perfect picture of co-creation. We are not to bear the burden of the whole world—not by our little selves anyway. Instead, we are to receive rest. Yet neither are we to offload the burden entirely. We are to take this “yoke” upon us. It’s easy and it’s light, but Jesus still calls it a burden.

If you’ve got no clear sense of direction right now, then it’s probably not time to force yourself to do anything. You need to listen and heal and rest. But as soon as you receive a “nudge,” act on it! I’ve been doing that on a smaller scale—moment-by-moment. At the 140-character scale of Twitter. Now I’m being called to act on a larger scale—do some planning, create some new habits, make time to write. Even when I don’t feel like it! This is a stretch, but it’s a good stretch. I’m learning that my mood is irrelevant when I’ve got a higher calling on my heart. I will obey no matter what.