Thursday, June 4, 2009

Seismic Activity

I've been praying almost every day. When I don't have anything in particular I want to speak to God about, I pray this prayer. (Authorship has traditionally been attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, although recent research shows that this is probably not true.) No matter who wrote it, it puts into words what I need to work.

"Let me not seek so much seek to be consoled as to console."

In other words, help me pick my chin up off the floor, give me a kindly whack upside the head when I'm feeling sorry for myself, and fill my heart to overflowing with grace, so that I have enough to spare for others.

Historically, I have been attached to the role of "victim". Given my childhood, it was somewhat justified. But I'm 36 now. It's really time to get over all that old crap. I have struggled for years with an inability to truly, at all levels, let those old pains go. But since I've been praying to God, in Jesus' name, for help, I've been doing a lot better. It was something I couldn't do alone, but with spiritual assistance I'm taking baby steps.

I'm genuinely feeling more inclined to be forgiving and helpful, rather than resentful and protective of my time. It feels good. It feels adult, mature. When I can be in the headspace of caring for others instead of dwelling on perceived injustices, I feel much happier. It's a contented, calm happiness, not like the Happy you crash from when that Fun Thing you were doing is finished. It's peaceful. It's great.

Lord, make me an instrument of your love and peace. Amen.

The flip side of this experience is even more difficult to articulate, because I'm accustomed to believing that people who think like this are crazy. Except now I'm thinking crazy. Get to the point, Spark. OK, so what I really believe is that I am getting to know the personality of that entity referred to as Satan.

I don't necessarily picture a red dude with pointy ears and a tail, and a beard made of steel wool. It's more a sense of a negative force that exists, with all the characteristics traditionally attributed to The Enemy. It's sneaky. It's deceptive. It can disguise itself as goodness or pleasure. It comes in the night, or whenever you're overstressed and tired, to undermine your confidence. It tells you your negative feelings are justified, and that you should hold onto them for dear life, because to let them go would be to compromise your integrity.

One of my new Christian friends recently gave me a book, and signed the front cover with something like "Look out for Satan! He wants to steal everything good from us." 49% of my brain said "She's nuts! What's all this Satan nonsense?" 51% of my brain (and growing) said "Yes! It's true! I feel his cold, pointy claws hooking into me when I'm weak, and once he's got a hold on me he'll drag me down as far as I'll let him."

I don't have a clear, logical thesis on any of these matters. These are fuzzy thought-feelings that percolate through my brain as the days go by, shaping me, changing me. How much sense does it make to you?


unsigned said...

God Bless!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

There can't be good without evil. As some sort of pagan here I see things in nature as a balance. Animals kill to eat, does that make the killer evil? I don't think so, it's just part of life. When you move on to humans that have a greater understanding of ourselves is where you encounter good and evil. My very loose idea of religion is sort of thinking that humanity in general shares a communal unconscious mind and the good/positive energy = God and the evil/negative energy = Devil. I sort of think these extremes can surface and influence us to a degree in moments of weakness or inspiration. Well that's my half thought out idea on what I believe, not sure if that is what you were asking though :)

Scarlet said...

"The Bait of Satan" by John Bevere is another good book that deals with learning to deal with offenses. It's awesome if you get a chance to check it out. It literally saved my marriage.

Btw, I've found that I feel my best when I take the focus off myself and concentrate on helping other people. By helping those in pain, we heal our own wounds. Trust me on this one.

LL Cool Joe said...

Oh yeah of course the Devil exists. The Bible clearly states this. No I don't believe he's a man with horns, but I do believe he exists.

What you have to remember is that God is more powerful than the Devil. Jesus was tempted, and resisted each time. The closer you get to God, the more the Devil hates it. But as long as you have God on your side, he will always protect and look after you. :)

Kate said...

My take on evil is that it's a simple absence of God. I don't dwell on the nature of evil. Because that gives it more than it is due. I dwell on the presence of God and that's what I think He wants me to do.

Sparkling Red said...

Unsigned: Thank you. God Bless you too. :-)

Ron: I believe that nothing in this earthly realm is pure good or pure evil. Maybe in other realms, but in ours everything and everyone has the capacity for both, sometimes simultaneously.

Scarlet: That's quite a testimonial! Sometimes I wonder what would have happened in my 1st marriage if I had had good spiritual guidance at the time. But my ex was, back then, a hardline atheist who disrespected anyone who believed in God. At one point he basically told me that if I expressed faith in God he might not be able to stay with me. So I guess we were doomed no matter what.

Joe: For sure I believe that God is more powerful. I love watching Paranormal State, a TV show in which a group of young people get help from Catholic clergy to help defeat evil supernatural forces. It takes their faith to manifest God's power in the situation. Once they invite God in, the dark things don't have a chance.

Kate: I agree that it's not healthy to dwell much on evil things. It's more a matter of sometimes evil is afoot and it would be irresponsible to ignore it. But generally I aim to focus on what is good, loving and light. I want those thoughts to take up the real estate of my brain. :-)

Nicole said...

Negativity mot def. is the dark side of things and can destroy us.
You hit the nail there.

Aurora said...

I don't know about the Devil existing or not. It seems to me it's more useful to believe in God than not, but the same doesn't hold true, in my opinion, for the Devil.

Sparkling Red said...

Nicole: It's a sneaky thing. It'll getcha if you're not careful!

Aurora: I don't know about the usefulness quotient of the idea. It's just something that feels like it could be true, to some extent.

San said...

It makes a lot of sense to me, Spark. I'm not clear on whether I believe in a Satan. But, yes, evil, it abounds. Prayer is important. I haven't been doing enough of it lately and I've felt a little out of balance.