Denying Self Means Living By God's Spirit

Denying Self Means Living By God’s Spirit

It’s my first post of the New Year and its 4:00 a.m. This minute begins my week long experiment with self. By self, I mean that part of me that gets in the way of divine and spiritual inspiration and holds me captive to my old ways and patterns. It is self that tells me to “do it later” or that I have to do A, B, and C before I can do D when D is beckoning me at that very moment. It is self that stands in the way of me being the person I hope to be: successful, healthy, joyful, and whole.  As I see it, there are just some relationships not worth having. Relationships that bring you down, hold you back, and create emotional toxicity. In the past, I have been quick to let loose of these types of love-hate encounters. But my long relationship with self which has proven to be just as toxic at times, still lingers on, despite its obvious maladies.

It was self that told me to stay in bed at 4 a.m. and go back to sleep, you can write this post later. But as I lay there having a conversation with my “self” I realized that if I continued to listen it is debilitating voice, in several hours there would be no post and I would be wrapped up in whatever new predicament that would present it “self” at a later time.

So where is this all coming from anyway? After spending 7 wonderful days in Costa Rica doing everything from meditating, laying on the beach, swimming in the ocean, eating wonderful food, and basking in the sun I came home to the cold and drab skies of California. You may be thinking California; it’s always warm and sunny there, well maybe in San Diego, but not in Sacramento.  At first I began to think that the weather and my return to reality was creating my heavy heart, but that was only obvious reasoning. After further introspection, contemplation, quiet asking, and then intent listening, I discovered it had nothing to do with what was going on outside of me…and everything to do with what was going on inside of me.


Papagayo, Costa Rica
Papagayo, Costa Rica

This year, 2010 is going to be a great year for me. I know it with every fiber of my being. This is the year that I have been telling people close to me that I am reinventing myself. I am transforming my “self” into the person I want to be, that person just trying to get out.

In practical terms, this year I plan to “Eat Food, Mostly Plants, and Not to Much” (great book), I plan to write new Christian Meditations and grow this ministry, I plan to get to and maintain my ideal weight of 112 pounds which includes changing old habits with food and fitness, I plan on growing spiritually and becoming closer to God, I plan on planting my own garden, buying my produce from the weekly farmers market, going 80% organic, and building closer relationships with my family and friends, to name a few. 

And how do I plan to accomplish all of these new endeavors and enterprises? The old me, the logical me, or my old self would tell me, you need structure, you need charts, you need to put systems in place, and you need to create an action plan to guide you into making these changes. But I’ve learned from past experience that many of these systems create more frustration than accomplishment. They’re too hard to live up too much less create. And then what transpires is a gap, a gap between who I want to be and want to accomplish and who I really am.  And as the gap becomes wider so does my disappointment and disillusion.

But I realized something this morning as I tried to discover what was ailing my heart and disturbing my mind. My problem was not a lack of enthusiasm, know how, or systems, but a relationship that I was ready to outgrow and move beyond, a relationship with my “self.” But if I am ready to loose my attachment to self, that basic part of who I have been for so long with all its habits, fears, and mindsets, who or what will take its place?

And then it hit me, “Those who walk in the spirit will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (self).” But don’t let the word “lust” fool you, because walking in self encompasses so much more than those classified “big sins.”  Walking in self nullifies, deludes, and excludes all that we can receive from the spirit: love, joy, peace, and fulfillment. 1 Cor. 2 tells us that “the Spirit knows all things, even the deep things of God.”  Hence, if the Spirit is the highest supreme of knowing, then it behooves us not only to get in tune with this knowing but to follow it as closely and precisely as possible. This knowing comes in the form of our inner wisdom, the Holy Spirit, who came to teach us all things.

So in my quest to reinvent myself this year, I have made a crucial yet conscious decision to make these changes not by intellect or logic but through being lead by the Spirit, meaning if the Spirit tells me to get up at 4 a.m. and write a blog, I will.  Instead of relying on action plans or putting various systems in place, my number one goal this year will be to create an environment in my heart, my home, and my mind that cultivates a greater space for God in every area of my life. It also requires that in the wake of every decision that I will follow that inner knowing first, the spirit of truth. In St. Luke,  Jesus’ mother tells the servants, “what ever He (Jesus) tells you to do, do it.” In this case it was a simple command of filling the wine barrels with water, but what a tremendous blessing resulted.  I am expecting the same.

This week, I want to challenge you as well as myself.  For the next 7 days, whatever He (Jesus) tells you to do, just do it. Don’t reason it away or make any excuses, and don’t put it off later. Right then, right there, just do it. Move past your fear, anxiety, and uncomfortably. And if you’re questioning whether or not you hear the Spirit, begin by spending time in silence, meditation, and silent reflection to create a space for God to enter your inner and outer environment.

It is the simple things of God that confound the wisdom of man and it is in these simple directives that many miracles are birthed.

In seven days, please come back to this post and share your experiences and insights.

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