In STEP with the Generosity of God
This series of the “Generosity of God” begins by exploring the STEP process for opening ourselves to seeing, trusting, embracing and practicing the generosity of God. Putting ourselves in STEP with the generosity of God helps direct us into the flow of that benevolent feeling that is the ultimate state of giving.
November 6, 2019
Part Three: In STEP with the Generosity of God: Embrace
The end of daylight savings time had little effect on our kitties. Their stomachs dictated the hour I got out of bed to feed them. This morning, the youngest, Loki, decided 5:55 AM was the correct time and began digging at my side to awaken me. I got up, donned by bathrobe and trekked down to the kitchen. As I filled their dishes, I noticed an orange light filtering in around the window blinds. Thirty degree temperatures and bathrobe notwithstanding, I grabbed my camera and ran outside just in time to see a glorious predawn sky. Sixty seconds later, the light show was gone, but I had received a beautiful gift directly from God.
Jesus’ ministry taught that God’s generosity and grace are available to all, just or unjust, rich or poor, Jewish or gentile. The word “embrace,” among its other definitions, means to take up, to include, and to adopt, as in embracing a new tradition or profession. Embracing God’s generosity means that we become vigilant and aware of the many ways, large and small, that God blesses us. We take up the mantle of God’s generosity, naturally emulating it, becoming a blessing to others.
Reflection: Is it possible to believe that God is graciously generous to you? In what ways can you embrace opportunities that develop a generous heart? Is it possible to embrace the feeling that you always have enough to share? In what ways are you embracing or excluding God’s generosity in your life?
Affirmative prayer: Loving God, I take this moment to humbly say, “Thank You.” You have blessed me in ways that I didn’t even notice. You have blessed me since before I was born, and You continue to bless me today. I’m so grateful for Your continuing love, grace, inspiration and generosity that guides each step of my life. Amen
October 23, 2019
Part Two: In STEP with the Generosity of God: Trust
Once, as I was working through the throes of financial issues, I received a mail order catalogue from an Irish import store. My eyes fixed on a small, gold, Celtic cross necklace. It was only $40.00, but the amount was a stretch for me at the time. I mentioned it during one of my group meditation gatherings and a dear friend suggested I purchase it anyway. With a knowing look, she proposed it was an outer sign of the inner work I had been doing. Wearing it would be an affirmation of my changed consciousness and that I should trust in God as my Source. I purchased the cross, wore it, and watched how financial and employment doors “miraculously” opened. My job wasn’t to find the doors to open. Mine was to trust in God as my Source and let God bring the right doors to my attention.
The second Beatitude in Matthew’s “Sermon on the Mount” talks about those who mourn, and that they will be comforted. In his book, “The Sermon on the Mount,” Emmet Fox suggests that trouble and suffering can be extremely useful, because “many people will not bother to learn the Truth [about God] until driven to do so by sorrow and failure.” But, he also suggests that we need not suffer to discover the Truth about God. We are always at choice to learn by suffering or to learn by spiritual unfoldment. When we actually trust in God as our Source of everything, regardless of the channel through which it comes, we experience the Kingdom of God with all else added.
Reflection: In what do you trust? The economy? The stock market? Your employer? Have you considered that you might be putting “false gods” between you and God your Source? Can you believe that God wants only joy, health, prosperity and happiness for you? What would your life look like if you believed it?
Affirmative prayer: As I center in Your Presence, I let my thoughts become still. I let my breath become steady and even. I let my awareness fall on how beautifully my body heals itself without me directing the process. I let my awareness fall on how exquisitely the stars, galaxies and universe dance in their celestial orbits without me guiding their movements. I let my awareness fall on how deeply I trust Your guidance in every aspect of my life. Amen.
October 9, 2019
Part One: In STEP with the Generosity of God: See
About ten years into our marriage, Jim and I experienced “the troubles.” It was a time when we were financially strapped because of a failed one-hour photo business. We had sold the store for a $75,000 loss and I blamed Jim for our troubles. I not only abdicated my responsibility for the debt, I projected a slow-burning resentment toward my dear, sweet husband, and subsequently into the “collective unconscious.” I started noticing everyone around us, with very few exceptions, complaining about their finances. I couldn’t see the generosity of God’s blessings already surrounding me.
Whether or not we believe in the Law of Attraction (the attractive, magnetic power of the Universe that draws similar energies together), there seems to be a correlation between our constant thoughts and feelings, and our life view. We see it in age-old phrases like, “birds of a feather flock together,” or “like attracts like,” or “what goes around comes around.” You might have more expressions of the same ilk. When we focus on what’s wrong in our lives, we will only see what’s wrong. Our opportunity is to yank our awareness from what’s wrong and focus it firmly on what’s going right.
Reflection: Throughout the day, I take a moment to look around me to see something wonderful. I might not be able to spot it at first, but with practice, I begin to notice the smallest of blessings becoming greater in my life.
Affirmative prayer: As I take a centering breath, I realize the leaves are changing color, creating the autumn palette of yellows and reds where green once shimmered. The fresh air I so freely breathe gives life to my cells and tissues. I notice the birds, squirrels and other creatures scurrying about, preparing for winter. I see God’s life in all its many and varied forms, and I feel blessed by the generous Giver. Amen.
October 2, 2019
I’m starting this new series with a confession. I’m a prosperity class junkie. I love them. I love the books written about prosperity. I love teaching classes about prosperity. And I’ve learned over the years that people get really tired of me telling all the happy stories about prosperity and the coincidences that brought prosperity to my door. I’m told that I wear “rose-colored” glasses and am often called a “Pollyanna” because I look at the majority of my life experiences as positive.
Is my life all unicorns and butterflies? No. Am I a billionaire in a mansion with designer label clothing? No. In my forties, after a financially humiliating experience, I learned that if there is a pile of poop, there must be a pony around somewhere! It took a while to train my brain to look for ponies, and it’s still an ongoing process. But in my experience, the ponies are all around us. We just need to lift our eyes from the poop and take a look around for the pony opportunities.
One place where the ponies and poop metaphor often appears is around the topic of tithing. The word “tithing,” the giving of one tenth of one’s entire income, to where one was spiritually fed, tended to create an existential crisis in some of my friends and students. Unless one was inside the jargon loop, the term “spiritually fed” meant nothing, except that giving to one’s favorite charity suddenly became the wrong thing to do.
And, to the average student, tithing when living paycheck to paycheck appeared to generate a mountain of poop with no pony is sight. Stretching to tithe tended to cause inner turmoil, mounting frustration, even palpable fear. The result of any magical tithing effort seemed to produce even more insurmountable debt!
I came to learn, understand and practice that tithing was a training exercise in emulating the generosity of God. After all, God was and is the Source of all there is. When we examine the material things in our lives, we soon realize they came to us through the channels of a lavish and extravagant donor. It’s God’s good pleasure to give us those things.
We can understand the feeling “good pleasure” when we give someone a gift that is received with exuberant thanks. We want to develop the mental and emotional habit of giving. Not giving to receive the thanks, but to practice giving without strings attached. Practice giving wholeheartedly with no expectation of return. We want to practice giving, even if the gift goes unacknowledged. How many times have we missed or overlooked blessings received from God, and gave no acknowledgement? A gentle breeze on a hot, stuffy day or a smile from a passerby can easily go unnoticed as a simple gift from God.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore The STEP process of opening ourselves to seeing, trusting, embracing and practicing the generosity of God. The STEP process will help direct us into the flow of that benevolent feeling of generosity. In the meantime, begin to notice how many little and large blessings occur in your life every day. Write them down, and be sure to say, “Thank you!”