A Gentle Breeze

The older I get, the more I find myself relying on the peace and wisdom I have been given through the Holy Spirit.

Do we “work” at resting or put “effort” into letting go? Or can we fall into the River of God and allow it to buoy us through the rapids and eddys of the journey of life?

We live in a continual and reoccurring state of turmoil. One day may run smoothly; the next day chaos reigns. How do we function in a world where circumstances fluctuate daily or even hourly? How do we remain calm and resist the roller coaster of worry and stress accompanying such undependable conditions?

We live, some of us on one side of a bridge and some of us on “the other side,” with a roiling river beneath us. And because we allow these circumstances to define, overwhelm or dictate us, we never take notice of the bridge which can connect us all.

When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will take you by the hand and guide you into the full truth. He will make sense out of what he hears from the Father; he will remind you of the words I said and tie them together for you. He will disclose to you what is about to happen. (John 16:13)

We live in our individual worlds of worry and stress, of decisions we need or think we need to make in order to survive or thrive. And sometimes, in those individual worlds, our stresses can turn to depression, anger or fear.

Instead of lobbing rhetorical grenades across the bridge or curbing conversation using phrases like, “You’re on a different path than I am,” to, “You’re a heretic” and other ugly names, let’s identify common ground and listen to each other. Instead of lowering our heads to say and do what we’ve always done, let’s pause to allow the Spirit to work in us before being right becomes more important than reflecting Jesus.

We may well be on different paths, but our destinations may very well be the same. If we only make statements or point out flaws instead of ask questions, we don’t make room for listening to each other or the Spirit. When our default is to think the worst instead of the best about someone, it’s a sure sign we’re failing to focus on the One who abides in us.

Our words and our way are to be holy. Philippians 4:8 says we’re to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. If we’re focusing on anything besides God, we’re inviting sickness and sin within; we’re hopeless without His holiness. When I’m tempted to think the worst instead of the best about someone, it’s a sign I’m failing to focus on whatever is lovely. Lasting recovery in a relationship only happens under the same conditions holy does. Make no mistake, when we find our happy anywhere but in Christ, it’s hazardous to our health…Healing happens when He is the heart and home of our hope. (Wendy Macdonald, wendylmacdonald.com)

The flawed activity of striving causes us to focus on ourselves, on the journey we think we should be on, on the image of a god (and others) we create from our own image and expectations. Sometimes, we even narrow the choices we think we have before us, when other choices beyond our solitary vision may be wanting our attention. But when we give ourselves breathing space, and partner with the Spirit, His wisdom allows us wider vision.

The vision of the Spirit allows us to see choices we have not seen before, forgive offenses we have not forgiven before, understand issues we have not understood before, love people we have not loved before.

Just as a gentle breeze cools a hot summer day, the Spirit tempers our anger and calms our fear. The Spirit expands our heart with grace and compassion, ready to overflow onto others. The Spirit knows when we are teachable in order to absorb new understanding, thus renewing our mind. The Spirit knows exactly when we are accessible to be raised to new heights, when our minds and hearts are available for transformation.

The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of everything I have ever told you. And I’m leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. This will leave you well and whole, not abandoned or bereft. So don’t be troubled or fearful. (John 14:26-27)

As the Spirit invites us into relationship with the Father and the Son, we are drawn in by love and grace. We are encouraged to stay open and allow the ease of this relationship to flourish and fill us. As a result of floating in His River, we see our own reflection differently. We see our Father reflected back when we look into our own eyes. We see Jesus when we look at others.

Our heart begins to take on the love and grace for others which Jesus had. We find ourselves no longer fearing people, but embracing them, just as our Father embraces us. Because we discover we are no longer people without worth, but worthy sons and daughters of a God who loves us not for who we might become, but for who we are right here, right now.

God is the bridge that unifies us. There is no difference in our hearts; He loves you and He loves me equally. Whatever other choices we think we must make, our primary choice is to love each other the way He loves us.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. (1 John 4:18)

27 comments

  1. Susan, I am so stressed by what is transpiring here that I keep this passage open on BibleGateway and read it periodically throughout the day:

    Isaiah 41:10-13New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
    Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
    Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
    11 “Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored;
    Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.
    12 “You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them,
    Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.
    13 “For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand,
    Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

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    1. Beth, that is a wonderful passage to keep open, and a great reminder that what happens here is only a moment in passing. Thank you for reminding all of us of His sweet presence in our daily lives. ❤

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  2. Susan, this post is so so so what clarified for me exactly what is going on with me. Life has been rough, one day smooth, then the next PA-BOOM! Or, one hour calm then next complete chaos. I’ve been hanging on by the skin of my teeth at times for if I did not have Spirit to cling to and Jesus to help me, I don’t know what I’d do. I totally agree with you on how you presented this information. Why must we argue or split hairs even with each other? I really like the way you think and I respect that. I will not join the “club” that fights and professes the other is wrong. Great job with this post. You keep on shining your Light. It truly is Beautiful!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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    1. Oh, thank you, Amy. I will continue to softly beat this drum throughout the year. We are so much in need of this reminder (me included) to focus on the light inside each other and fan it into glorious flames of beautiful salt and love. ❤

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      1. May God Bless you your efforts. I’m proud of you, dear Sister. I really am, because I know how hard it is. There was one post I had to delete so many “stupid and ignorant” comments because I just will not allow that on my blog. I’ve been directed to get pretty strong in my “messages” which I hear. We who do the Work of the Divine shall continue to reach out to each other in support. Much Love to you!! ❤

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  3. THIS IS EXCELLENT! One of the best and most thought-provoking posts I’ve read in a while. And so much truth!
    “As the Spirit invites us into relationship with the Father and the Son, we are drawn in by love and grace. We are encouraged to stay open and allow the ease of this relationship to flourish and fill us.” I’m going to reblog this next week on For His Glory

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    1. Wow, thank you, Steven. I appreciate it.

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  4. Nice word Susan.
    One or two things… 😉 (OBVIOUSLY!)
    Do we listen to others and ask questions instead of spew our own rhetoric? Hmmm- that has always bothered me- sounding/being obnoxious and self righteous. I find a LOT of my writing is asking questions- often phrased as a statement…but…in my HEART, they are concepts a I am questioning… I most often get an answer, through that thing you mentioned – connection.

    Different paths:
    Every single one of us has different paths, THAT is what we need to learn to be respected, instead of doing our proverbial judgement. And yes – those different paths lead to one place alone. I have often found that folk are very quick to determine that others are somehow behind in their journey and understanding – call it..their wisdom. No one is behind or further ahead – we are all where we are intended to be…however… we cannot say of someone where they are in their relationship and wisdom of spiritual matters as that is something only God can determine, and that brings me to my third observation –

    Age brings wisdom…
    Experience perhaps. Knowledge and s sense of the world and its ways? A sense of the ways to be less anxious as we have seen over time how things that would have irked us before resolve themselves..but wise?

    Wisdom is granted, it is not gained. It is a gift sought and encountered as a gift.
    Wisdom can be found in the eyes of a child. Age does not wisdom bring. Connection to the indwelling spirit you speak of gives wisdom alongside a deep thirst and hunger for it.
    Also- age in context of a spiritual life means nothing – for someone who has been walking and dwelling in the presence of grace for a small while at the age of 80 – perhaps does not have the wisdom of one who has been in the arms of clarity and seeking with passion since a child –
    Does that make sense?
    Wisdom is given but it is sharpened over time… so if someone has sought it passionately with faith since 15 and is now 25 years old, and someone is 75 and has pretty much just accepted surface doctrine but only discovered faith at the age of 72..to whom would you give the honoured badge of being wise in Gods eyes… not of this world but in the spirit? The aged. or the faithful and inspired?
    Just a thought – or two or three. ❤

    Being too quick to determine the meaning of others actions and relationship with God is a place we like to put ourselves… and WHO are we to know – although it may seem to us that they are in need of a hand reached down – that indeed perhaps we should reach our hand up – or perhaps we can all reach our hands out to our sides and all rise together.

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    1. Hey, B – so to respond to your comments – and thank you first for reading and commenting.

      Different paths: As we travel our paths, I was attempting to make the distinction between (a) the paths we choose on our own, without any connection to the Spirit whatsoever with the sole purpose of enriching ourselves, and (b) the paths we choose as we abide in the Spirit, guided by Him, with the purpose of edifying and enriching others. My belief, and yes I do suppose there is some judgment involved, is that those of us who choose any path in the (b) category ARE traveling the same path, even though they may look different. And anywhere on that path, because we focus on others, allows wisdom from above to filter through us. That can look like encouragement, compassion, edification, even laughter, but it all has a foundation of love.

      Wisdom: Yes, I agree experience and a sense of the world brings wisdom, but too often we are quick to discount age. Wisdom is sharpened over time, but let me use your example. Spiritual wisdom can be given to someone at 15 and molded and matured over a ten year span. Compare this 25-year old to someone given spiritual wisdom at the age of 75, now 80. The 80-year-old can bring together all that life experience to the wisdom given and make sense of it so much faster, and so many more peripheral ways than can the 25-year-old with far less life experience. And wisdom is given as we are ready for it, to entertain it, absorb it and apply it.

      I absolutely agree about our hands reaching out in all directions, for we can gain wisdom from all those God places before us.

      Thank you for your wise and insightful comments, from which I always learn and am moved forward. ❤

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      1. First – you are welcome. I dont see the point in not saying things..as you said… it is how we learn right? There is that iron again.
        Won’t get into it any more though other than to say – yes I hear you on all fronts. More to ponder. Though…I really have met people who are pretty young and – pretty damn wise already. S’all. 😉 I think on eof the things is (yes I know – here I go saying more..lol) Take my daughter… 19. Well, a very smart and wise cookie. WAY smarter than I was at her age. Way smarter than I will ever hope to be really. I think what I am trying to say is for me, as generations progress down the line, it is our hope that we pass the gift along (or at least show the path toward it) thus enabling the next generation to far exceed the prior gens knowledge, ability and yes – wisdom. Almost like catapulting them forward? I have found in some instances progress is a receding thing, and it saddens me – but I also think that in the places where we allow ‘enlightened youth’ to teach US… we will see a lot more than we would have on our own aged merits. Though there is give and take in the relationships…ie – I know THIS from experience..you know this from being damn smart and wise… lets work together. Maybe THAT is what I am getting at? But maybe that is an entirely different topic. Or not. And lets face it… if the youth (and we give them such little credit a lot of the time) are filled with wisdom..how awesome is that. ALL THAT PASSION of youth plus wisdom… I mean – we do really get a bit tepid (at times) as we age (maybe a good thing at times – sometimes not) but that ENERGY… how I wish I had it – or the wisdom when I was filled with vigour.
        SOme may wonder why the tiredness..oh but rest in the lord they say. Yes… well that is all well and good, but sometimes there ARE thorns in the flesh to temper us. Yes?
        Lots of thoughts..as always. 😉 Thanks for the fellowship. ❤

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      2. “generations progress down the line, it is our hope that we pass the gift along (or at least show the path toward it) thus enabling the next generation to far exceed the prior gens knowledge, ability and yes – wisdom.”
        Oh, I absolutely agree with you here, B. And we don’t give them enough credit for that. And may God bring all our wisdom and energy together for the good of all, eh? Love you too, my friend. ❤

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      3. Indeed… May that happen. 🙂

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  5. Susan, I’m with you on your wise and eloquent reminder to focus on common ground and the love of one another. The Love of Christ woos and wins us into a sincere relationship with Him and His followers. Thank you, dear sister, for the mention and the link. ❤
    Blessings ~ Wendy

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    1. You’re welcome, Wendy. Your thoughts fit perfectly into my own. Thank you for allowing the inclusion. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m honored, dear friend. ❤

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  6. “Do we “work” at resting or put “effort” into letting go? Or can we fall into the River of God and allow it to buoy us through the rapids and eddys of the journey of life?”

    Amen, the River of God is always flowing in us, waiting to take us away from fear and anxiety into His dynamic life flow. There’s been so much vitriol this week about The Shack on the Internet between Christian brothers and sisters. Like with politics, we get caught up in “positions” and forget that God offers a third way.The way of reconciliation and other-centered love. That’s what happens in the River. 🙂

    Thanks for this reminder, sister. Just beautiful. Oceans of love. ❤

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    1. The vitriol and argumentative nature never fails to amaze me – those rhetorical grenades we lob at each other about movies, yoga, liberals, etc… – because none of that serves the kingdom of God. None of that reflects the love of our Father, the compassion and grace of Jesus or the wisdom of the Spirit. When we engage in vitriol and argument, we purposely choose to step away from God – and that is never His intention for us.

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    1. Thank you, my brother.

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      1. You’re very welcome Sister 😍

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  7. Thank you Susan for once again challenging my heart. Jesus told us to remove the beam from your own eye before we can address the spec in my brother’s eye. I am still working on the beam. You have a wonderful way of capturing the bare necessities our faith. Thank you for the challenge.

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    1. Thank you in return, Pete. I work on this myself; that’s why I write these, and use the pronoun “we.” It’s not by accident. I can say, however, that with age comes wisdom, and with loving Him and abiding in the Spirit comes a love and peace beyond comprehension.

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      1. I am finding that out.

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  8. Reblogged this on Pete Gardner's Blog and commented:
    Susan once again challenges us to a higher calling. One where love is preeminent. A must read

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