Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Living and Adjusting Within My Own Soul
I believe my soul is the domain of God, not bounded by the covenant of a single doctrine or a single church. Many times in my life I have faced decisions to believe one set of rules or the entire dogma of one denomination. I have done that, and I have found my soul still lacking.
In addition, I have had others preach to me that simplicity and nonsectarian acceptance of the Savior in a call to the altar is the sole path to salvation. To me, this requires nothing but a mindful commitment, and a simple vow that "I will never doubt again." But, my mind seems too restless. It cannot be chained to a simple, static understanding as I continue to sin and question the faith.
First of all, I believe in God. I, like so many others who believe in Him, struggle with what the Creator intends me to make of my life. I have prayed and counseled with the Almighty about the path I should take. Since I believe He owns my soul and He is the only one who understands its unique creation, I also believe in making many tough decisions in life by relying upon His advice. To me, these soul-searching times are very private, spiritual sessions in which I listen and then attempt to apply the solution in ways satisfying to Him. With my human faults, I am not always successful in my applications.
My God even allows me free will to practice life by trial and error. Since I am stubborn and egotistical at times, my mistakes are inevitable. But, through his grace, He allows me to readjust my routes and carry on. I know some believe God is vengeful and abhors the continued sins of a human; however, I think sometimes God intends sinners to keep learning and applying new purposes to achieve greater good. The struggle is the proof of longevity of belief.
I do not believe my particular life is one that is meant to be lived quoting scriptures and waving Bibles under the noses of lost sinners. At best, I believe God wants me to relate my story -- the rights and the wrongs -- and let others find their own meaningi n it. (If any meaning is apparent) I am comfortable outside the walls of churches in my beliefs, and I understand many would say I am wrong and bound for hell for being so. I do not condemn them for holding their beliefs.
Without trying to sound overly metaphysical, I find my soul most at rest in nature, away from people, sects, clubs, and governments. I have literally been shaken to the core by natural settings and natural events. For example, upon witnessing the splendor of the Grand Canyon, I sat on a park bench and broke into uncontrollable tears. I felt as if I had lost all perspective of earthly comprehension there, and I experienced a deep, soulful connection with all humans who had ever viewed this gift of God. Simply put, I was spiritually overwhelmed.
I have had similar experiences with small gifts of Creation. Taking time to look at the amazing detail and beauty of water, stones, and plants, I have felt the Maker deep in my soul. I have often said a small blade of grass is a heavenly miracle far beyond the greatest inventions of man. In that small stalk of grass, I see a living universe without end, and I imagine the breath of life supplied by God.
I am not condemning or attempting to detract from the beliefs of anyone else. I have wonderful friends who staunchly believe in one book and in one interpretation of religion. I respect them as long as they do not injure others with their judgments. I will always love them as I sincerely believe they are merely fellow beings traveling their own destined journeys the best way they know how. And, besides, I don't believe in one answer to all spiritual concerns.
Again, I am merely stating my belief that God intends me to question, study, gain, and even fail to find His purpose for my life. Although I have attained several degrees, have worked in a profession, and have attained practical experience, I think God wants me to continue to push towards making a unique contribution. While doing so, I also believe God intends me to offer others love with my own voice and actions. I think he respects my decisions as long as I apply love.
I find complete harmony of thought in human beings both boring and largely unproductive. During my life I have taken so much understanding from so many perspectives that I often question the status quo or the simple solution. That is one of the main reasons I write this blog. I find it impossible to ask someone to expand their understandings without looking at the opposition and without considering reasons for opposing beliefs.
I have never "stood upon a rock" of belief that didn't contain a sizable crack. Upon my inspection, sometimes that crevice proved to be dangerous and sometimes it proved to be a scar of little-understood, natural weathering. I have learned to accept and love imperfection with inherent, kind purpose.
I find blind allegiance and promotion of narrow understandings un-Godly. I don't believe God inflicted such lockstep advancement upon His own son, so I can't believe He intends me to live without questioning and thinking freely. When I feel God most in residence within my soul, He seems to offer a myriad of roads for contemplation and growth. He disapproves of some of my actions. Still, the Almighty is a source of infinite inspiration for positive change in ways I find inconceivable without His help.
Many times, my God reminds me to learn from all wise people I have met. At the same time, the Almighty seems to say He doesn't want me to be molded into a "cookie-cutter existence." He doesn't want me to expect Him to smooth my rough edges by simply praying or regretting. He demands that I develop workable theories with Him and that I apply them in practice. And, in His wonderful kindness, he often watches me weakly "let down" my end of the work, but then challenges me to another try.
In closing, I believe God resides in my soul, and He is the good driving force that allows me to advance my life. Any good spirit I possess, I derive from him. Some day, when I leave this earth, I hope He possesses my soul and allows it to be even more pleasing to His plans. In the meantime, I rely upon searching my soul for His will and attempting to apply it through my heart and mind. I'm pretty sure the Almighty loves baseball, and maybe I can hit .350 with his help... then again, most of us are lucky to find the .280 mark. God grant me the vision and the wisdom to keep myself in a winning ballgame.