On January 5th I celebrate 8 years since my conversion. It feels like I’ve lived hundreds of years, yet I feel so rejuvenated because everyday is a fresh start when Love is our master.
This is a yearly post and I take the opportunity to share a bit of my story again today. I know it encourages believers and non-believers alike.
When I was an atheist, two psychologists helped me navigate and cope with a series of life events that crushed me. But they never healed me.
To say that I was hanging by a thread would be an understatement. And although I have a lot of appreciation for deeply humane and loving psychologists like the ones who helped me, there’s only so much they can do.
I couldn’t imagine myself going one week without therapy. At that point I felt emotionally crippled. My life was a full-time burden.
That’s when I did the unimaginable. One night I surrendered and asked God for help. Being an atheist, I had no idea what I was doing. But I had a crushed, humble heart as I called him. And God listened.
God healed overnight what two different psychologists couldn’t heal in years.
For the first time in my life I knew that there was one who loved me just the way I always wanted to be loved. And his divine love set me free.
God’s love worked in me to forgive others who had been the root cause of a lot of emotional turmoil in my life. And he also taught me to forgive myself.
Without God’s love, I could never have healed.
It is his divine and eternal love in me that makes it possible to forgive everyone and the world everyday, regardless of merit. And heal.
As a new year starts, we are stricken with the belief that we need to expect “good” things. Yet the “good” in our lives that is genuinely life-changing often comes out of the worst of circumstances that we call “bad”.
Regardless of what our previous year was like, what makes the new one better is our willingness to embrace the unknown. To be ready and willing to make bold moves in life with Love as our guide. To let go of other people’s expectations and focus on being truthful to our hearts, expecting nothing in return.
Whatever happened in our lives last year, whatever will happen in our lives this year, was and will always be for our own good. There is a perfect balance of “good” and “bad” each day to bring about our spiritual transformation into who we are meant to be.
In this new year, may all of us allow Love to be our wisdom. And embrace the unknown of the eternal life unfolding before our eyes everyday with confident faith.
Life isn’t about what happens to us, but how we react to it. If we choose hatred and unforgiveness, we become a reflection of both.
I watch countless true crime docuseries and the look on most victims of abuse, or relatives of these victims, is unmistakable. They spend most of their lives enslaved by resentment, hopelessness and an unforgiving heart.
They bury themselves alive and blame their abusers for it. Yet nobody has the power to bury us alive except ourselves.
We become a reflection of the people we choose to hate by keeping ourselves connected to them through a bond of hatred.
The desire to move forward is not enough. These chains can only be broken with love and forgiveness.
Forgiveness is an undeserved grace we receive. When we know that, we are humbled and filled with the desire to extend it to others. Because we all fall short of being good.
Loving ourselves is not genuine unless we can also love our abusers. As I explained in ‘Loving people we dislike’, we can love people we dislike and still not keep them in our lives if they don’t show repentance.
We need to allow ourselves to be divinely filled with forgiveness and love for our abusers.
Many of us don’t know the difference between loving and liking one another. Keeping people close that we don’t genuinely like doesn’t work and can wreak havoc in our lives.
We can love everyone spiritually. But liking anyone depends on compatibility and is for select people who, through their actions, have earned our appreciation and company.
When someone treats people (including ourselves) in hurtful ways, we are perfectly able to love them – if we genuinely have a relationship with God. But we will not be able to like them. They don’t deserve us, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Company that makes us feel uncomfortable, judged, hurt, offended, manipulated, insulted or even just bored and disinterested is therefore not likeable. It is a blessing to love these people, but we don’t have to seek their company or force ourselves to like them.
We need to learn to gracefully handle people whose presence doesn’t edify us. They don’t need to be active participants in our lives.
Our calling is to love them. Pray for them. Help them. And wish for their hearts to be transformed so they can enjoy a love that will enable them to treat us as we expect to be treated.
We can bring them back into our lives as friends, family or partners if they demonstrate a change of attitude with actions (not words) for a significant amount of time, so we see consistency.
Remember: We are called to love one another, not to like everyone.
Anything beyond that is self-righteous and will destroy us.
Many of us have turned to attack one another as we react to fear. A fear we would not have if Love were the master of our lives.
We have to be very careful at all times, but these times are particularly treacherous. There are many trials we are facing, but the main one is our ability to love one another.
When so many people start preaching violence, neglect and exclusion as means to do what is good or build a peaceful community, the darkness of this world is in full effect.
We don’t pick sides, but we must take a stand. Love is our stand.
We are not loving one another by keeping silent to avoid conflict, when our hearts feel strongly against what is being said or done. We can, and should, show our love by speaking peacefully and firmly as we assert our values founded on Love.
We are not called to oppress, but to speak up for Love, forgiveness, compassion, peace – and this not at the expense of others.
We don’t have to speak against anything or anyone. Let’s raise our voices to speak only about the Love that can unite us and not join any other conversation that is focused on dividing us.