After my last post, I experienced God at work again in my life.
That Saturday night, October 26, I decided not to go to church the next morning. I hadn't gotten all the things done that week that I had planned to do, and figured I'd just use all day Sunday to catch up. God had other plans for me.
I woke up Sunday morning just in time to watch Joel Osteen's program. At the end of it, Joel introduced a pastor from a church here in Nashville called Oasis Church. He encouraged those of us who were watching from the Nashville area to try out Pastor Danny and his church. He also mentioned that everyone who attended the church that morning would receive a free copy of Joel's new book, Breakout! 5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life.
Joel's been advertising this book on his program for the last several weeks, and although the title intrigued me, and I've felt a pull to buy the book and see what it had to offer, the frugal part of me hates to pay $26 for a book, regardless of what wisdom I might find within it! Needless to say, I hadn't purchased it. But here it was, being offered for free if I just went to the church. "What the heck?" I thought, "Why not?" So I quickly got dressed, mapquested the address and directions, and headed out the door.
The church was about eighteen miles away, tucked back in behind a plan of townhouses. It was an old elementary school that had been renovated for a new purpose. The parking lot was filling rapidly as I pulled in, about ten minutes before the service was to begin.
I went inside and found the table where they had a display of the books, but found out I couldn't get one until I filled out the card that I would receive during the service. Guess they wanted to make sure I heard their message before I got my hands on Joel's!
The service started with fifteen minutes of live loud music, with attendees standing and moving to the beat, clapping their hands, shouting amen and alleluia, as the singers onstage encouraged them on. There were guitar players, a drummer, horns, and camera men videoing the performance so that it could be simulcast on the web. Quite a show, and definitely not what I was used to, but I wasn't there for the service, just the book. I just had to get through the service to get the book!
God has a way of letting me know if I'm really getting the messages I think I'm getting from her. Most often it's through repetition, and often from a variety of messengers. So why was I surprised when, in the first few minutes of Pastor Danny's sermon, he said, "If you want to go beyond where you currently are, you have to have a new perspective!" Huh? Wasn't that just what I'd written in that last post? I needed to change my perspective and call the emptiness I was feeling, spaciousness. And I even said that perhaps the spaciousness was to make room for something bigger, or different from what I'd known before! Seemed like God just confirmed that I was on the right track. I love when that happens!
That wasn't the only 'nugget' that I gleaned from Pastor Danny's service that morning. I noticed many of the people had notebooks with them, and were eagerly jotting down Pastor Danny's words. I didn't have a notebook, but I did have my cell phone, which had a place for memos, so I began taking down a few notes of my own. Here's just a sampling of the things that called to me, in case they might also have some meaning for you:
1. You need a check up from the neck up! (Wow! How easy it
is for me to get so caught up in my own egoic thoughts that
I never give a second thought to the possibility that there is
a better way to do something, even when my plans aren't
working the way I thought they would! Instead of opening
myself to that possibility, and reevaluating my plan, I just
keep blindly moving forward, often trying to make the
circumstances fit the plan I already have.)
2. Write down your five year plan for your life: where do you
see yourself in five years? (I wrote a list of all the things I
wanted in a partner, and look what happened when I did!
But I never thought to write down a list of how I wanted
my life to look in five years. After that sermon, I went
home, got out my journal, turned to the back pages, and
wrote out my list for my life! Can't wait to see what God
does with that one!)
3. Faith has to have a target. (Makes sense. That's what the list
4. You cannot out dream God! (I put BIG dreams on my list.)
5. Your passion will lead you to your purpose! (It's worked
that way so far!)
6. God shows us the promise, not the process! (Isn't that the
truth? I want to know how God's going to get me there, and
darn it, I'm not going until I do! How often have you
thought that? If I'd held on to the need to know the how, I'd
never have left Holy Family, never have opened The Place
for Reiki, and certainly never have taken that trip to
7. Adversity always precedes advancement. (Hmmm, maybe
if I can just keep this in mind as I take these new steps
forward, I'll be able to keep a more positive attitude, which,
in the long run, should serve me far better than all the
negative thinking I can heap on myself when challenges
arise, including the thought that I made the wrong choice to
There were more bits of wisdom for me in that sermon, but since I started out talking about the book, and being called to take a look at it, I just want to let you know that God continued to repeat the messages about expansion and new ideas in the pages of Joel's book.
And God's not the only one who uses repetition to get the messages across to me. Joel's book is filled with repetition, so much so that I almost quit reading it. But I stuck with it, and on page forty-one I read something else that just seemed to go along with everything else that is currently happening in my life. Joel wrote, "....[God] can give you one new idea that will catapult you to a new level."
I had to laugh when I read it, because I read it the morning after I sent out the email with the new idea about the distant healing circle, actually saying in the email that perhaps this was the idea that was going to take me to a new level! Coincidence? I don't think so!
And later in the book, Joel also says, "God meets us at the level of our faith. If you ask small, you'll receive small." Well, that seems to fit with that sense of spaciousness I wrote about in the last post, and my comment that perhaps I'm holding a space for something bigger than I'm accustomed to. But if I am unaccustomed to it, how can I know what to ask for?
I think if I leave it up to God to fill that space without any direction from me, She will most likely fill that space with what She thinks is best, based on who I've been in the past. But if I'm feeling that I'm to do more, that I'm to reach out in bigger ways than I have before, then I think I need to let God know that I'm willing to do that. So I'm going to start doing what Joel suggests, and ask God to do the unthinkable in my life. I'm going to ask with a boldness I've never articulated before, taking away any restraints or any preconceived ideas of what my life can look like (based on what my logical, rational mind can imagine), and just allow God to work in ways that I can't even begin to conceive of. I think I'm going to start repeating, over and over again, "Thank you, God, for taking me further faster than I can even imagine!"
And then I'm going to hold onto my hat!