WHO ARE YOU Part 3: A Taste of WHOOP—Whole Heartedly Opening Our Purpose

images (4)Love didn’t hurt you. –Tony Gaskins


If we look at experiences that have caused us heartache and gut wrenching pain, through feelings of rejection, abandonment or grief, we would logically conclude that LOVE HURTS.  Ask anyone who is in a recent break up, a divorce, a betrayal or a loss and they will tell you love hurts.  I googled “love hurts”.  The images that accompanied that search were painful to look through.  I can relate with the pain in the images from my own past breakups, betrayals, and losses.  It hurts to lose what was or what could have been.  Love certainly seems to hurt.


“Love didn’t hurt you.  Someone who doesn’t know how to love hurt you, and you confused the two.”   –quote by Tony Gaskins posted on Facebook

This is so true.  I have hurt others because I didn’t know how to love.  Others have hurt me because they didn’t know how to love.  In small ways it might have looked like being late, assuming instead of asking, being forgetful or not returning a text.  In large ways it may have looked like breaking a promise, refusing to apologize, lying, holding a grudge or feeling justified to not extend my love.  It’s true, not knowing how to love or be loved hurts.

Reading a few comments to Tony’s post, this one caught my eye, “It seems there are lot of people out there who don’t know how to love.”   In His calm small voice I heard God whisper to me, “It breaks my heart that people are hurting others and themselves because they don’t know how to love.  They are not understanding or believing WHO THEY ARE.”  I’ m certain there would be a lot more of us loving and living whole heartedly if we understood and believed who we are!

Are we hurting other humans because we believe big fat lies that love hurts and that WHO WE ARE is something other than what God says we are?


images (1)God is love. (1 John 4:8)

If love hurts and God is love, does God hurt?  Looking at the Old Testament in the bible we could certainly find cases where it appears God acts in unloving ways and thus love hurts.  It appears that He is some kind of punisher waiting for us to break His law only to hurt us for doing so.   If we believe love hurts or that God hurts, how could one ever love and trust God?    But we have to read the whole book!   The bible is a giant love story to us from God.  Here are a couple points from this love story:

  • Jesus came and died to reconnect us with God. What do unloving behaviors do that cause us pain? They push others away.  They detach us from another.  They are rejecting.   God sent His one and only beloved son to die to reconnect us to Him.   That is not hurt, that is intimacy.  Any time we connect with another, especially deeply, that is intimacy.  This kind of love connection is what most of us are seeking and longing.
  • Jesus died to save us from sin. What is sin? Sin is anytime we act on our own out of fear, lack of trust, or selfishness which often hurt others.   Most unloving behaviors come from fear.   The opposite of love is not hate it is fear.   When we fear we don’t trust.  When we don’t trust, we act on our own to protect ourselves.  Many, if not most of those behaviors, are unloving which disconnects us from others and God.   God sent his only son to die for our sins, for our disconnecting ways!  He did it so we would have abilities to connect and have loving relationships with Him and others.
  • Jesus loved and trusted God yet was rejected, scorned and hung on a cross. How could that be love?  Because 3 days later God raised him from death into the living Christ.  Jesus’ death and resurrection is a great metaphor that love transforms. Love brings life. Love can heal even dead things in our life.
  • In addition, the whole process of God sending and giving us His son to cleanse us of sin and reconnect us with Him, brought us the Holy Spirit. God’s love, while seemingly hurtful to Jesus, showed love most of us will never know, transformed Jesus into a healing, life giving love, and endowed us with even more connection with God through the Holy Spirit.

Everything that God did before Jesus came seems to be God’s way of helping us see how disconnected, unloving, fearful and untrusting of God we are, so that when He brought about this intimate, saving, transforming union, we might understand how much He LOVES US.  Knowing WHO YOU ARE is knowing who God is.   God is a heaping, huge, still trying to take it all in, hunk of love!  Which means so are we.


images (3)The bible says we are in God and God is in us.

We are in love and love is in us.   If we believe love hurts what does that say about us?  Are we just a bunch of hurting and hurtful people?   YES, but not because of love, but because we don’t know how to love and we are not understanding and believing who we are and what we are capable of…and that hurts.

What we believe we will live out.   If we believe love hurts or that God is hurtful, we will bring forth our natural human instinct to protect ourselves.   This natural instinct can be reinforced and heightened by the environment we grew up in and experiences we’ve had. In human form if we believe love hurts we’ll become untrusting and guard ourselves against others.   Spiritually, if we believe God Hurts, we will not trust God and we won’t believe that everything He is doing is for a good purpose or that He has a good purpose for us.  Everything that goes wrong or is painful in our life, we will think that God is punishing us or teaching us a harsh lesson. In addition we inflict pain upon ourself, to escape the hurt of feeling unloved and unworthy by others, God or our self.

Here is a list of what may happen when we believe love hurts or God hurts.  This is not an exhaustive list. All of these are out of fear and protection:

  1. We will trust only our self and not God or anyone else.
  2. We will push others away with unloving behavior avoiding connection.
  3. We will deny, avoid, or refuse to acknowledge that we need help or others.
  4. We will also deny, avoid and refuse transformation and connection with God.
  5. We will be selfish, defensive, lie, justify, judge, blame, shame, envy, criticize, retaliate, and compare.
  6. We will be ungrateful, jealous, angry, and unhappy.
  7. We will be suspicious and dismissing.
  8. We will live from a place of lack being greedy and gluttonous.
  9. We will be confused, lack passion, lack direction, and lack motivation.
  10. We will seclude and alienate our self from others.
  11. We will be anxious, depressed, and/or have suicidal thoughts.
  12. We will create idols. Idols are anything we put in God’s place to meet our need for love, acceptance, affection, and worthiness.  Just to name a few, they can be a relationship, marriage, spouse, money, food, things, fame, sex, or recognition.
  13. We may form addictions or even mental illnesses (anorexia, cutting, delusions, and phobias come to mind) to either escape fear and pain or inflict more fear and pain over our unloving feelings towards our self, God, or life.   (Not that all mental illnesses are formed by fear and the belief that love or God hurts, but well rounded treatment would include taking a look at one’s spiritual life.)

Since self-knowledge is one key to knowing WHO YOU ARE and living a whole hearted life, consider these questions:

  1. Who do you believe God is? Do you believe 100% that He is ALWAYS loving and working for good or are there times when you think the hard experiences that have come your way are a punishment or harsh lesson from God?
  2. Do you believe love casts out fear? When have you experienced that?
  3. Do you believe love can be transformative? What experience have you had to know this is true?
  4. What ways are you living out the belief that love hurts? What self protective behaviors do you engage in? When? With who? (Be brave and honest:  look at the list above again and see if any of those self protective behaviors are active in your life, even in your mind.)
  5. How do you treat yourself? Do you love yourself?

I’ll admit, I didn’t need a book to list the above consequences of believing that love hurts or that God hurts.  I’ve performed most of those fear based, protective behaviors outwardly and, if not outwardly, definitely in my mind.  Only if we were loved completely as we needed by everyone we know and have known, would we escape the consequences of protective fear.  We all have exhibited or acted upon those unloving behaviors in some form or fashion for very good reasons.  Don’t berate yourself if you identify with some of the behaviors on the list.  It is not pleasant to become mindful of our unloving ways but it is essential to living a whole hearted life. If you are seriously asking yourself question number 4, I know it will not be fun or easy.   Let me give you some hope.

First, we are created in the likeness of God. (Gen 1:27; Gen 5:1), which means we are love and we are capable of great love for others, God, and our self.   We are not naturally hurtful, unloving people.  We are very much God-Like! We may have a natural instinct to protect our self, but who you are as a God created, loving being can become more of your “doing” and “being” with awareness and practice.   Look at these quotes and let them sink in:

  • We are most ourselves when we love; we are most the people of God when we love. To love we need to realize our unique identity as the people of God who love. (from the introduction to The Message Bible)
  • We are love and we are made for love, and our natural abiding place is love. (Richard Rohr)

Second, sometimes I like to take GOD and LOVE and substitute them for each other when I come across a saying or scripture I like.  Sometimes it gives me more clarity and truth about who God is.  If you recall from last week’s post, knowing God is imperative to knowing and understanding WHO YOU ARE.   It doesn’t always work perfectly, but it can be enlightening.
For example:

  • We are GOD and we are made for GOD, and our nature abiding place is GOD.  (True!)
  • GOD didn’t hurt you.  Someone who doesn’t know how to GOD hurt you, and you confused the two.  (I love it that GOD became a verb, an action word.  It’s like saying, “I’m GODing today!”  Gosh, what would that look like?)

Lastly, love does cast out all fear. Love does transform.  Next week I’m going to talk about how that works in a very practical way.  I’ll talk about how to bring your spiritual loving being into your human living.  Stay tuned!


cropped-011414_2007_selfcompass11.jpgEncouraging Your Whole Heartedness:

I’d love to hear your heart.  Leave a comment or share one way you are going to “GOD” this week!

WHO ARE YOU Part 2: A Taste of WHOOP—Whole Heartedly Opening Our Purpose

downloadWe are spiritual being embodied in human form living on a human earth with other spiritual being in human form living out their life on human earth!  –Barbara Banks                                                                                                                            Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well.—Psalm 139:14


WHO YOU ARE as a Human Being

How rare it is to find ourselves in human form on Earth.  Appreciate the fact that we are here as individual spirits filled with consciousness, drinking water and chopping wood.  No other life form has the consciousness of being that we are privilege to…not an ant or worm or butterfly or dog, or a hundred year old oak tree, or the thousand year old patch of ocean. We are blessed in this time and in this place to be human beings, alive in rare ways we often take for granted.
–Mark Nepo from The Book of Awakening

 

While we are created uniquely in our physical form, what makes us authentically unique from each other is our consciousness. Consciousness is

  • the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings.
  • the awareness or perception of something by a person.
  • the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world.

Mindfulness, insight, intuition, and discernment are other words that describe this unique ability as humans.

Consciousness grants the ability to:

  • have and form opinions and judgments,
  • experience and feel a full spectrum of emotions from empathy, appreciation, love, joy and compassion, to apathy, ungratefulness, fear, anger and impatience
  • comprehend, gain knowledge, and apply wisdom
  • have and form passions and desires
  • be aware and relate to others

Consciousness is influenced by many factors.  Here are just a few:

  • where and how one was raised
  • authority figures: parents, teachers, preaches, bosses
  • others’ opinions and judgments
  • the world’s views of success, beauty, gender roles, etc, that come through social norms and media
  • experiences good and bad
  • friends and associates
  • groups and organizations one belongs to

We each have conscious minds that are affected by different influences.   These in turn influence our thoughts (mental processes), feelings (emotions) and behaviors (will or choices).  If you recall from last week’s post, this is the HEART of who you are—your essence of “being”.  Our ability to be conscious is thus a gift for us to use to live a more joyfilled, whole hearted, full life.


 WHO YOU ARE as a Spiritual Being

images (2)Not long ago one of my favorite Christian devotions quoted Saint Catherine of Siena which spurred me on to read about her and her writings.  One of her basic premises is that to know WHO YOU ARE, you must have self-knowledge and know who God is.  For by knowing who God is, you will discover who you are. (If you’d like to read more about this and about St. Catherine, click here.)

Quotes by St. Catherine:

“The soul is in God and God in the soul, just as the fish is in the sea and the sea in the fish.”

 

  “In your nature, eternal Godhead, I shall come to know my nature. And what is my nature, boundless Love? It is fire, because you are nothing but a fire of love. And you have given humankind a share in this nature for by the fire of love you created us.”

 

 [The eternal Father to Catherine:] “And since I in the beginning created man to my own image and likeness, and afterwards too your image on myself  by assuming human nature [Jesus], it is always my endeavor, in so far as you are fit for it, to intensify that likeness between me and you.”

 

 [The eternal Father to Catherine:] “Do you know, daughter, who you are and who I am? If you know these two things you will have beatitude within your grasp.  You are she who is not, and I AM HE WHO IS.”

 

To know WHO YOU ARE, knowing WHO GOD IS is imperative.   You are made in God’s likeness. Part of Him is in you. A part of you is in Him. Developing your spiritual life in the form of bible reading, studying, praying, journaling, meditation, contemplation, or any other form of spiritual discipline will be a powerful aspect to living whole heartedly.  To be authentic and to know WHO YOU ARE, you cannot ignore who created you, why you were created, what you were created for.   These are often the questions we ask when we are searching for the meaning of life or the personal meaning of our existence, especially when painful and soul wrenching experiences happen to us or others.

To know WHO YOU ARE self-knowledge is importantYou are unique by how you perceive, by what you are aware of, by the perceptions you have, by the opinions and passions that you hold.  These are the things that drive your BEING and DOING in the world.  What is produced in your life is an outcome of your consciousness.   Areas to look at are health, finances, self-esteem, relationships, work, and home. When our consciousness is concentrating on surviving in the world, habits, beliefs and thoughts can be negatively and falsely shaped leading to an unfulfilling and joyless life in many or all of these areas.

Your ability and gift of consciousness can bring awareness to what you are producing.   This is not to become self-focused, narcissistic, or overly self-conscious.  It is to become more aware of the choices you are making and what is influencing those choices.

Are your choices driven by outside influences or your spirit?
Are you being lead by God or what the world says you should do?
Are you hearing the heart of who you are or other people’s opinions about who you are?

There is a sweet interplay between our ability to be conscious as human beings and keeping our focus on our WHO WE ARE spiritually.   Becoming more conscious of the spiritual aspect of WHO YOU ARE will create positive outcomes in your life.  When we become more conscious spiritually, here is what we can discover:

  • past programming that isn’t serving us
  • beliefs that are untrue about who we are
  • insight into who we in fact can be
  • perceptual shifts that allow us to become more of what we truly are and long to be
  • experiences of satisfying joy and fulfillment
  • more authentic trust and intimacy
  • purpose and meaning to our life

cropped-011114_2043_selfcompass1.jpgEncouraging Your Whole Heartedness:

I’d love to hear your heart.  In the comment section below, tell me what is one of your ways to be more conscious about WHO YOU ARE humanly or spiritually?