The most infallible sign of the presence of God is joy. Joy is not pleasure or excitement or even happiness. True joy fills us so full that somehow we must let it overflow or we feel that we would burst.
Sorrow stretches our capacity for joy. True sorrow is not sadness or discouragement or even depression. It is heartbreak.
We expend much energy avoiding heart break by choosing sadness or depression and we settle for pleasure or excitement in place of costly joy.
Joy comes from the deepest part of us where God resides. The path there is through fearful darkness, but once you have found it, perfect Love casts out fear and you know it’s safe to return
Theologians are theory people…and yes we need theory people…but they often miss the obvious. Yes, God is awesome, way way beyond our human understanding, worthy of our praise and admiration, but God is also practical!
YES! PRACTICAL! The BIG TEN weren’t traps, tests, or a spoil sport kind of thing. They are the incubator that helps keep us alive until we and finally all humanity mature enough to love others as much as, or like Jesus-more than-our small selves. They are for OUR protection! God is FOR us.
What about number 1? Does God need our love? God doesn’t NEED anything! WE need God What we admire and love, we try to be. But how do we imitate a God beyond our understanding? Duh! God’s goodness and love is fleshed out, visible, understandable, in a prototype so to speak: JESUS, a human growing into a Love that’s way beyond the “Big Ten,” a human struggling with the human suffering of sadness, discouragement, rejection, fear, and physical pain…but always open to God, both within and in others, open to grace to make the loving choice in the end, a human that moves beyond the “Minimum Ten” to fleshing out the beatitudes…a whole other level of love.
“Sins” against the Big Ten are just plain stupidity, once you realize that Jesus showed us that this very fleeting life isn’t all there is and that instant gratification and gathering toys are for children and need to be outgrown before we can move on. The truth is that coveting, stealing, killing etc., end up making our lives miserable, even hell.
And it takes finding that source of grace which we call God, both within and outside ourselves to out grow our childish shortsighted selfishness .
Why do some people choose self-destructive addictions?
Some people are just born unsettled, ill at ease with themselves, expecting so much that eventually they just throw in the towel. The pain of failure is too great.
Any addiction in some way lessens our sense of inadequacy. Extreme-housecleaning or obsession with becoming the absolute best in a sport to the detriment of the rest of our lives gives temporary relief; pleasure such as food, drink, sex, escapist reading or watching TV all can deflect us from facing our fears about ourselves. Some of us become addicted to drama by overreacting emotionally to anything even slightly alarming as an excuse to curl up emotionally in a fetal position and expect others to rescue us from any real or imagined dangers. And any of these can move from just a way to relieve stress or feel better about ourselves to a need, an automatic response to unease or pain or fear: an addiction.
Some psychological addictions can be as hard to break as ones that develop a physical component. Some of us simply have addictive tendencies and may just have to work to find one that has the least self-destructive side effects and has the least negative fallout for others.
We can find relief in many acceptable ways to keep our demons at bay. I simply don’t know if we can get perfectly free of them.
One thing I have realized is that some of us not only feel basically inadequate, we fear that we are literally broken and live with a sense that we may at any time fall into the pit of despair or insanity.
Even alcoholism seems preferable to that, because there’s always a hope that you can manage to quit drinking, but you are not sure that you can quit being crazy once you get too out of control. Sometimes the only way to get past that is to go down into your inner bottomless pit and survive. Then instead of Jell-O at your center, you find a rock to stand on. Some of us call that God.
At first, it seemed as if God walked
through the garden of my life
on velvet kitten paws,
gifting me with fleet impression
of brushing soft caress,
leaving feather light prints
in the tender earth
of my spirit.
But, in later times, God climbed
the granite mountain of my will
using painful stake and hobnail boots
to gain each foothold,
bringing about His kingdom
through the thundering voice
Then recently, I sensed God lost,
absent on Sabbatical
of undetermined length,
leaving only fading echoes
in my memory.
Until at last, in desert night
and aching loneliness,
I faced my emptiness
and discovered Her within.