LOSE your life to find it

There should be a Hall of Fame for people who have followed Jesus’ teaching to find our own lives by losing them in service to others. And when there is, I have my nominations ready.

One nominee would have to be my friend Charmaney Bayton from crime-ridden South-Central LA. For years, she’s sacrificed every minute and dollar of her life, caring for up to 10 homeless children at a time in her one-bedroom apartment.

Another incredible follower of this directive is Cantor Michael Weisser from Lincoln, Nebraska. Repeatedly assaulted with threatening anti-Jewish phone calls from a local leader of the Ku Klux Klan, Weisser’s insistence on loving this hate-filled man lead to the Klansman renouncing his membership and publicly advocating racial tolerance.

Almost beyond belief, when this man became critically ill, Weisser and his wife took their former assailant into their home and nursed him until the end of his life.

Topping my list would be Arland D. Williams, Jr., a passenger on a plane that crashed into the bitter cold Potomac River one winter. The most alert of the survivors, Williams was the first person to grab the rope from a hovering rescue helicopter. But he refused to save himself first. Instead, he handed the rope to another passenger. And then another and another, until they were all safe. By then, Williams was so cold and exhausted that he couldn’t rescue himself.

None of these people, I’m sure, would allow anyone to make a fuss over their sacrificial actions. It’s just what they feel God called them to do with their lives.

What’s God calling us to do today?

Paul White, June 2012

Comments

  1. Shelly says:

    Thank you for Mary’s moment the ultimate “lose your life”  moment of all times.

  2. Barrie says:

    One day, after teaching Sunday School to 10 year old girls, I noticed one of the teen girls was sitting at the piano.  I chatted with her and found her grandmother was in a board meeting.  The teen reach out to me and asked me to help her learn to play a pop song (“Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls, sung as a cover by Kellim Quinn of Sleeping with Sirens).  I decided to stay and be in the moment, even though I didn’t really have to and my husband was waiting for me at home).  We ended up spending about 30 minutes working on this song together.   It was really nice. Then, on and off for the next 2 weeks, I listened to, thought about, and downloaded the score and lyrics this song.  Inspiration suddenly came one morning that the lyrics could be adapted from a boy singing toa girl to Mary singing to baby Jesus —  The “moment” Mary realizes he is the fulfillment of prophesy and she’s given birth to the savior of the world! That Sunday, I suggested to my young friend we could adapted lyrics to sing at a Christian Science church Christmas party.  (I had offered to coordinate the Sunday School music performance.)  However, this  seemed to frighten my young friend.  So when I didn’t have students that day, I decided to stay in Sunday School and give it a try.  All day this creative idea consumed me — it wouldn’t let me go until I was finished, even though I had to fly out the next day.  :-) I tried to use as many original words, rhymes and intent as possible.  I used the tear factor with each line to make it real and in the moment.  When I was done, it even made my husband cry. These Christ “moments” continued as I traveled to help my parents out of state over Thanksgiving.  Recognizing the Christ present made each interaction a possible “moment” – being interested and listening to others, sharing healings, helping cook/clean, playing with a little nephew, being grateful… Now when I read or hear the Christmas story, I’m keenly away of that moment Mary must have felt.  She definitely was willing to lose her life to find it when she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done until to me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38).  I’m so glad I was willing to lose myself (my schedule) to help this teen….and to find the Christ Love and Light is available in each moment… Try singing the words below over Kellim Quinn singing “Iris” on YouTube.  :-)  Hope you like it.   “MARY’S MOMENT”  And I live in Forever to touch you ‘Cause I know that you “see” me somehow You have brought us to Heaven, where we’ll always be And I know we’re at Home here right now.   And all I can taste is this Moment And all I can breathe is your Life When we or this world is all over I just know I’ll be with you all right. And the shepherds have come here to see you ‘Cause I do think that they understand When all of the angels are singing Saying, “God is right here.”  And I am. (musical  interlude) And I hope for the joys that are coming For the healing of Truth in your eyes When everything feels like a “Moment” As Love flows and It makes us alive.   And the watchful have come here to see you ‘Cause I do think that they understand And all of the angels are singing Saying “God is right here — is ‘I AM!’” (fade music)

  3. Alex says:

    More and more I have been feeling like this idea of losing your life to find it is at the center of everything. Recently I have been seeing people, myself and others, all be deeply helped by feeling the reality of a principle of good that guides them. Whether it be a rule of fairness, or a conviction that good is real and evil isn’t, or a deep sense that justice is absolutely necessary, etc. All of these things are principles that only exist in thought.

    The thing is, these principles do not bend based on conditions. So when we hold to them, we find ourselves coming up against conditions that oppose them. Then, it is our faith in the principle that moves us.

    It is a natural unselfing process. We lose our sense of our selves as being the law maker, and instead, because of our love for principle, we give ourselves over to something that is eternal, unbending. In doing that we lose our “selves” and gain a deeper, better sense of life as imbued with these eternally good laws.

    In my life I am watching this destroy fear and lift lives out of the pit. It’s amazing.

     

     

     

     

    • shelly says:

      Alex, I admire what a proponent you are for losing your life to find it.   Each day must be filled with expectation and wonder!!

  4. Alex says:

    I love this Tedx talk. Apart from the little bit where she talks about how the brain causes this and that, I love her powerful, universal stance on being courageous to do the hard things that need to be done. It really highlights how we fear these things so much, until we do them. I can think of a hundred things in my life that I have feared doing, but once I went ahead and did them, felt so much better, freer, and made new.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSR4xuU07sc

    I think this idea is central to the concept of “losing your life to find it”. Being willing to leave behind a certain past of constriction and discomfort for an uncertain future of freedom and honesty.

  5. John says:

    I was wondering which Radical Act to share this in, and I think this one fits the bill. I feel like this Radical Act can be a hard one to wrap your mind around – it’s almost scary, right? “Lose your life….to find it?” I’ve loved all the ways that you all have shared what this has meant to you, and I hope this video serves as another example of how we can indeed lose, to gain.

    A middle school football team ‘lost’ a touchdown – upsetting the crowd and their coaches – so that they could give joy to one of their own. I was extremely touched by the while thing, and especially by the closing interview with one of the players. I hope I can be so forthcoming about the changes that are wrought in me whenever I can do this sort of thing.

    http://elitedaily.com/news/world/can-learn-lot-middle-school-football-team-video/

  6. Shelly says:

    I think this is a lose your life to find it story.   This past month I went to Paris with my mother.  I understood that she was not going to be able to walk the city in the same way I could, so much of our site seeing was very gentle and in small pieces each day.   On the day before we were to leave, I told her I was going to take a chunk of time to myself.  I wanted to go back to the Louve, the Paris Museum of Art to see more.   She was not happy to spend the time alone in the apartment but understood.   It was a very cloudy and rainy day.  A good day to be inside.  Or so I thought.   As I stood at the bus waiting, I saw the gates of a garden.  Inside the gates I could tell that the leaves were changing colors.   I knew my mom would love see this.  There was an bit of a battle inside my head.  Are we always supposed to be selfless.   Isn’t it spiritual to at times, forget about others and just pursue our own interests, our own desires, our own wants?    I remembered that I had recently read in a book, that in those moments when one is able to set aside personel instincts and listen…  In those moments the Christ comes in to guide you.   So, I got quiet and listened.  My desire to show my mom the park just grew.   I went back to get her and as we stepped outside the clouds separated.   The sun came out.  It was a glorious day!!!   The garden was the Luxemburg garden!!!   It was one of the highlights of my time in Paris!!   I felt I was watching living art.

  7. Olivia says:

    I had to lose my spiritual life to find it.

    Being raised in Christian Science (CS), I had moments I felt that I hated the religion. I hated how it made me different in a way I couldn’t explain to my friends without thinking I sounded dumb or crazy. I hated that some people thought it was a cult or got it confused with Scientology. I hated how it seemed the entire world judged it to be a fringe religion out of touch with reality. Despite hating all of these things, I still loved spirituality and cherished my relationship with God even if I did feel misunderstood by my peers.

    For most of high school, I got through the feeling of being misunderstood by believing that everyone was headed towards understanding the same truth, but we had different ways of getting there. My senior year, I took a religious literature class that upset this ideal of a symbiosis between all spiritual traditions. The class I took included reading several texts, most memorable of which were the writings of Rumi.

    I struggled with Rumi. I loved the way his lyrical and soothing words flowed into my consciousness, refreshed and renewed me. I loved the glimpses of spirituality I felt while reading his words. Yet just around the corner of each precious moment of insight loomed a comparison to Christian Science in which I deemed his words wise or not depending on whether they matched what I had been taught in Sunday School. This friction caused me to doubt Christian Science rather than reaffirm it. I was not allowing Rumi to express his understanding in the way it had come to him, but was instead trying to force his words to fit into the mold with which I had become familiar. In response, I shut down in class because I so feared the seed of doubt towards CS that had been sowed inside me.

    After this rocky period, I left for a CS camp where the perpetual healings and demonstrations of harmony renewed my adherence to Christian Science tenfold. I thought my relationship with God would be smooth sailing after that, but that was before I took a class called “Adam, Eve, and the Serpent.” The professor brought a brilliant analysis of gender as represented in the first five chapters of Genesis. Unfortunately the class had me reading the text so critically that I could no longer glean the message behind the words without construing it in some way that made it disagreeable. It was sexist. It devalued nature. It was written to enforce power structures and maintain oppression, etc.

    At the heart of both of this class and the religious literature class from high school lay what I thought was an interruption of my conversation with God. I spent good chunks of time thinking maybe CS wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. On the surface, my relationship to CS was confused at best. Beneath the surface, the questions actually catalyzed a confrontation of all the things I had at one point thought I hated about Christian Science.

    One day I came across a movie available on Netflix called “The Secret.” The movie was based off of a book that explored the power of thoughts in affecting the material conditions around us. The basic premise was that you had to really expect things—understand that you already had them—and they would come into your life without fail. It was all packaged in a way focused far too much on materialism for my liking, but something about that movie stuck with me. These were people who did not consider themselves Christian Scientists but who were claiming to have revolutionized their lives by understanding the abundance of supply, their inherent freedom from things like cancer, and the unfailing harmony of their relationships. It actually took me seeing healing wrapped in another package to realize the beauty and power of Christian Science. Little by little, my renewed recognition of the limitlessness of life pushed me back into the arms of my familiar and loving friend, God.

    The demonstrations of harmony started out small and got incrementally bigger as I flexed my rediscovered spiritual muscles. First I saw little moments of harmony. Right I stepped up to the bus stop, the bus pulled up. Two days in a row, I was treated to free food at local shops for no apparent reason (although I occupied a mental space of patience and gratitude and that probably had a lot to do with it). Then one day at the park, I was inspired to treat a father and daughter to ice cream. Unfortunately, they were walking to their car and I didn’t think I would catch them in time if I chased after them. Still, I knew they wouldn’t leave. They stopped in their tracks and circled around the park until they came to me and I started talking to them and gave them the money for their treat.

    Next, I embraced 100% health even as a friend I was visiting seemed to get the fever. A week later, this 100% health continued despite a more aggressive suggestion of fever from my mom, with whom I was living and cooking. Finally, after barely running the entire summer, I ran an effortless 6.5 consecutive miles and walked another 3.5. During this run, I could feel my own spirituality in a way that is impossible to explain. Suffice it to say the unreality of the material world became so clear there was no other image in my understanding. My entire being was free, fulfilled, and in step with the glory of God.

    The biggest healing here has been erasing the little suggestions that have tried to nudge and nestle their way into my consciousness until I could no longer see Truth. I don’t hate Christian Science. I don’t hate how it makes me different, I absolutely love the way it helps me shine in my own unique way. I don’t worry about sounding dumb or crazy because I know without a doubt that spirituality is where I find the most meaning in life and nothing about it is dumb or crazy, nor can it be perceived that way. CS is not a cult, and it is not a fringe religion because the Truth (in whatever form or package it arrives) is accessible to everyone in every hour. Jesus didn’t call himself a Christian Scientist, but he absolutely expressed the healing power of Mind.

    I have come to understand the importance of a deep and sincere questioning of Christian Science that has lead me to a profounder, purer, and more confident understanding of myself and of God. Every moment of doubt has brought me ten moments of confidence in the harmony of Principle and has ultimately enriched my practice of Christian Science. I am so grateful for these lessons and the many lessons to come as I continue on my journey.

    • Shelly says:

      Olivia,   love your story.  I love Rumi, and Plato, St Francis  and any great thinker striving to understand the infinite.   I took a bit of a sabbatical this last spring.   I took a walk for a month, left my Science and Health behind.  I didn’t read the Bible Lesson.  It was a month of God and I.   Both I and my children have had wonderful healings in Christian Science.  And I can say that it wasn’t because I doubted Christian Science in any way.  I wanted to discover MY unique relationship with God.    I didn’t even tell people on the trip that I was a Christian Science practitioner.

      What I found on the journey is that what I am, is a Christian Scientist.   And, although I love spiritual thinkers of all walks of life, I LOVE the Christ.  I love those moments when the Christ breaks upon my consciousness and reminds me of who I am and who others are.   I love knowing that I am a purely spiritual daughter of the most holy and that others are aware of it also.   There are 6 billion people on the planet.   God is effective at speaking to his children.    If we think about the terrorists that hate so much, we can rejoice together for every voice that tells us to love, that the foundation of the divine is harmonious, that gentleness and thoughtfulness can unravel the mesmerism that justifies hate and helplessness.  I remember reading that there was a paragraph of some religious thinker in Mary Baker Eddy’s time that she kept by her bed.   For me, Mary Baker Eddy discovered the science of the Christ.  That science exists and any sincere thinker is experiencing this truth to some degree.  We don’t have to be afraid to acknowledge the good that others have to say.   It doesn’t diminish Christian Science one bit.   We just keep our eye on The Christ.    I want to honor that the greatest thinkers, preach Love.   Think what the world would be like if most people thought that the greatest thinkers preached ‘hate’.   Thank goodness for the leven of the Christ.  The gospel of Love and Healing.   That is what the Christ does.     It’s not mortal ingenious.   It is the Christ coming to human consciousness.   And some are perceiving that message a little clearer than others.   Christian Science helps us separate the thoughts that lead toward mortality and those that really lead us toward man’s spiritual freedom.

    • Alex says:

      I love your story too! It seems so many of us have stories like that. And if that’s true, then some of the most important healings out there are not really visible at all. Those important healings are just our thoughts being changed from doubt and materialism to a greater acceptance of the naturalness of spirituality. Outwardly such changes are invisible, but they revolutionize our lives and make us so much happier and more confident.

    • Gordon says:

      Wow, wow, wow! I have to share your story with others. This is great!

    • Kate says:

      This is wonderful Olivia (and follow-up commenters) I have been so blessed by this thread.  Thank you for sharing.  I keep thinking about the catepillar who, upon entering the chrysalis, has no idea that he/she will dissolve into a black soupy liquid before transforming into a butterfly — what extraordinary trust.

  8. Shelly says:

    Today I had a “loose your life to find it” moment.    There is a man in prison who has requested that I come and visit him.    I filled out all of the paper work to go in as a chaplain, but needed an additional form.   I dreaded driving out to the prison to ask permission to visit this inmate.   As I sat in the office, the Director of Chaplains came to me and said “I will give you a pass to see him twice but no more”.   The reason this was a loose your self to find yourself moment is because I usually argue.   This time, as I went in the office I decided to just listen and respond as if the Christ were with us.    I was able to be clear and direct, and also humble to hear the directors position.   In end she said,
    “ok, I will give you a pass to visit him every month.  See what happens if we listen to each other?”

  9. seekingtruth says:

    Thanks.  I meant broken like in Alex’s song, “And in that burning hour, my heart lay on the ground.”  Not panic but feeling like there is absolutely no hope.  You have completely given up except for begging for God’s mercy.  When I plead for help and ask God to intervene, then I have more powerful results than when I reason through prayer.  Then it’s like the hymn that says, “And o’er earth’s troubled, angry sea, I see Christ walk, and come to me and tenderly, divinely talk.”

    • nina says:

      Don’t you love The Message’s translation of  ”Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”? “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

    • Amy says:

      Oh I definitely understand what you’re saying now.  But I have to say I’ve had decisive results arrive via various ways.  Sometimes it’s been a decisive “Oh no, God wouldn’t allow that” when something unexpected has crossed my path.  But I do think that the less me, more God approach is definitely a winner.  ;)

  10. Alex says:

    Several years ago when I was feeling afraid and in pain over a long period of time, As I prayed I could feel my thoughts changing. One time, sitting in traffic, I was praying. I felt engulfed in the bad, painful feelings I was praying about. But at the very same time, I could feel myself moving. I could feel my love of God moving me forward, making me better. I knew that because I was moving the promise of healing was being fulfilled. It amazed me that I could have those two feelings simultaneously. it was as if the pain, the dying of old thoughts, was revealing this new love.

    That feeling began to be more and more frequent. Instead of just feeling the bad feelings, I could feel a beautiful feeling growing out of them. The obvious parallel was to think of crucifixion. Something that seemed really bad, revealing something really good. And I began to see this as a really good, and inherently Christian feeling.

    i thought of the place in the gospels where Jesus talks about the seed that can’t fulfil it’s life mission until it is buried in the ground and is broken, in order that a tree can grow out of it. What a deep and gorgeous metaphor for losing our small sense of life to gain the eternal life.

    this experience gave me an insight about why and how to not fear pain. It’s literally a gate to greater FEELING of God, if we respond to it with humble prayer, and willingness to be taught by it. We lose our small selves to gain our eternal selves.

    • nina says:

      If anyone loves this comment, they’ll probably also love this song.  I’m a big fan of both.  Thanks so much Alex!

    • Shelly says:

      thank you Alex!!!  You communicated your rebirth in the most beautiful way.

    • seekingtruth says:

      My most powerful prayer always occurs when I am in despair.  Do you think we always have to be broken first in order for Christ to change things and make us better?  it seems like it’s being broken that lets Christ fill the crack.

      • Amy says:

        What a great question.  My first response is “No” because I don’t think I do my best praying when I’m in a panic…and panicked is how I feel when I’m in despair.  But it’s true that some of the biggest God moments I’ve had have occurred when I most needed to feel God.

      • Alex says:

        Hi there seekingtruth!

        Yours is a question I have wondered to myself more than once. I think we all have some of our most dramatic prayer moments when we are really feeling powerless as mortals. Then we truly reach out with all our hearts. However, I find that I also have great prayer moments when I am really FEELING love, not despair at all.

        My experience bears out Mary Baker Eddy’s thought, that we progress, “either by suffering or by science.” We will have our victories from both.

        Also, the more we recognize that feeling of being “broken” as not US being broken, but as the carnal mind being broken, we will be delighted by it. We will see more and more that that mind is not ours and never ways. We will “rejoice in tribulation” as the Bible counsels.

  11. Summer says:

    Leaving everything I knew,

    Just a moment ago,

    Shows me the life

    I’ve never known.

    It’s the life of now

    and it’s always new,

    I hope to see it

    With each of you. :)

  12. Meredith says:

    My friend and I have decided to live every Radical Act. For 2 weeks we focus on 1 act and live it up. After Thanksgiving we decided on this one. At the end of week 2 I lost every thing that was important to me. Life as I knew it was gone. I laughed at the timing of this event, but then became sacred for the what now… my life had no direction and I was extremely freaked out. I prayed with the idea that the life that I was living was not one that I wanted to be. I wasn’t the person my friends wanted me to be and I wasn’t expressing any of the God like qualities my friends loved about me. I was grateful for the realization that I was removed from a place where I wasn’t blessing anybody. While looking for a job I was lead to apply many places and each place I applied I knew that I would be placed where I was going to bless the most and be blessed the most. Days turned into weeks and I quickly grew frustrated that God’s plan wasn’t unfolding as quickly as I wanted it to. Mrs. Eddy asks are we grateful for the good already received? which tied perfectly into the next Radical Act we choose “live more abundantly”. On that page it talks about living for today, not when this or that happens. I started looking for the ways I could “live abundantly today” and be grateful for what I already had in my life. The thought came to send a thank you letter to a friend for an amazing gift they gave me. Well that email turned into a job opportunity that was better than I could have ever imagined. So yes I lost my sense of life and joy. But I gained a turer sense of who God is and the role he plays in my life. I found my true self; Gods perfect reflection. :-)

    • John says:

      Meredith, thank you for sharing this story. It is so amazing what we see when we open ourselves to really living what Jesus taught. It can be hard to persist in that trust…but we already know that Christ is risen, that success is assured and isn’t even waiting on time! If we can find our true lives, that means they must not be separate from us ever – and losing an old sense of life opens us up to see what’s there.

      Thanks again for sharing – hope to hear more from you and your friend!

    • nina says:

      Wow how could I have overlooked this gem of a story!  Fantastic!

    • Rachel says:

      Meredith, thank you for sharing! I was initially struggling to really understand this act but your story helped me a lot. I love hearing of people who relied on God when materially seemed to have very little or had lost what they knew of comfort and normality, only to have it all turn around and be better than they could have imagined.

  13. Hayley says:

    Losing one’s life to find it. Hmmmm!  When one stops to contemplate this idea, I for one don’t think we really have a choice. God will always succeed, where matter and self cannot. I am constantly losing myself, at least the material self imposed beliefs of who and what I am, and what I can do, and then I can’t help but find myself in God. What does this mean?  Well for instance, since this past Fall, and even after the wonderful College Summit I was able to attend, I still felt miserable, and utterly lost. I couldn’t figure out where or what I was supposed to do next, after I graduated in the Spring, and I knew I needed to have a plan. Starting from a material standpoint I kept going to the bookstore, and looking up all the different colleges I might want to attend, but came no closer to any significant answer. Thoughts of leaving my friends in Florida and being completely and utterly alone, I don’t make friends easily, would bring on bouts of tears. Anyway I kept going to church, and kept praying for any answer that might come, I just needed one! Don’t ask me when it actually happened but I started to stop worrying, and reaffirming what I knew was true. I could never be alone, because well God was everywhere, and the college that I needed to go to had a special place for me, and no one else could take it because it was in fact, and always had been mine. During Thanksgiving I visited my family, they had moved back North the previous year. Family relations are seldom smooth, and even though I enjoyed my visit in June I was worried about this one. Anyway I had the best time, those five days, and I couldn’t wait to go back three weeks later for Christmas break. In my enthusiasm of being back in real Winter weather, my return to Florida felt more like a long visit, and like it wasn’t supposed to be my home any longer. I just felt deeply inside, and almost like a voice telling me, that maybe it was time for a change. After this realization I haven’t really cried, even when thinking about leaving certain friends in the Spring. Instead I was and am looking to the good, “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (Science and Health 332). Keeping this in mind I have started once again to look into possible next steps, and this time with God as my guide I am assured that only good can happen, and that wherever I land I will be blessed, and continue to bless others along the way. I look forward to sharing continued progress in my voyage, wherever I may go.

    • John says:

      Hayley! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love the courage you are sharing and expressing. It’s so good to be honest with ourselves about these challenges. I am also really glad that you felt such peace with your family. There’s a hymn I love, which includes the phrase, “Home is the consciousness of good,” and with that consciousness, you will just keep seeing all the things you love about home, wherever you go.

      Thanks for taking the time to share – looking forward to hearing more from you!

  14. jenny says:

    Thanks for this, Jake. For those of us who work out of a home office (I am another!) I think there can be a subtle (or not-so-subtle) pull toward justifying certain behaviors…hitting the snooze button being one of them. :) Now, each of us has to have our own conversation with God, and I know for me that what God is asking of me varies from day to day. But, what I liked about your comment was that it alerted me to the need to make sure I’m joyfully embracing whatever God is asking of me. It’s not so much about “just getting the work done” as it is following God–following God’s plan for my day, right down to the tiniest detail (like, for example, when I should get up in the morning).

    Sure, I always get my work done. But there’s such a great reward in getting the work done in the way that God is asking me to–with the joy and willingness and humility that allows me to see more of God and less of “me” in everything I’m doing.

    Thanks for the reminder that we not only *should* be doing this, but that it’s God who enables us to “lose our life to find it”–in each facet of our day, and each aspect of our experience.

  15. Kate says:

    A September check-in on what I have been learning this summer about losing my life, and finding it “in Him.” So, when we last left off, on September 4th, this is where I was:

    “Kate, you need to lose sight of yourself in the context of Life.”

    Then I had this feeling…Life is not personal, it is not something you have ever “owned” that you can decide to surrender. All you can do is change your focus from a personal sense of life, to an impersonal, all-inclusive, universal sense of Life that includes all.

    When we lose our self/ego-centered sense of Life, and exchange it for a completely God-centered, Love-centered sense of being…somehow, we discover the REAL person we’ve always hoped we’d find…”

    So…what am I finding? The meaning of self-immolation (which Eddy refers to 7 times…if you include “self-immolated”) in her writings. And just for edification, this word means: “suicide by fire.” And she isn’t telling us to avoid it. She recommends it. In fact, there is a place where she urges “constant self-immolation” and suggests that:

    “It was our Master’s self-immolation, his life‐giving love, healing both mind and body, that raised the deadened conscience, paralyzed by inactive faith, to a quickened sense of mortal’s necessities, — and God’s power and purpose to supply them.”

    This has been my holy, sacred ground this month. My most pressing question. How do I contribute most completely to the burning up of the ego? I know that might sound a bit graphic, but it’s been working for me.

    When I start to feel my “self” asking for attention…from me, or anyone else…I have been imagining setting “her” on fire and letting “her” fall to ash…and then let the small phoenix childlike me…meek, innocent, free of ambition, satisfied…rise from the ashes like a newborn fledgling eager to fly.

    I am finding that this is a “constant” discipline…but Eddy’s words from The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany have been so encouraging when I am afraid:

    ‘A great sanity, a mighty something buried in the depths of the unseen, has wrought a resurrection among you, and has leaped into living love. What is this something, this phoenix fire, this pillar by day, kindling, guiding, and guarding your way? It is unity, the bond of perfectness, the thousandfold expansion that will engirdle the world, — unity, which unfolds the thought most within us into the greater and better, the sum of all reality and good.”

    I am realizing that all I am being asked to do is immolate a personal sense of life…with all its ambition, achievement, pride, and will, for a sense of being one with universal goodness…willing to be silent, humbly share, love without the need for reciprocity, and seek His face in every one I meet, His Voice in everyone I hear, His Word in every article I read, His hand in every life well-lived, every act of grace.

    Didn’t say it was easy…

    warmly…k.

    • Jake says:

      LOVE THIS!!!!! SO RIGHT ON!!!! That idea makes me think of hymn 123:

      “When through fiery trials my pathway shall lie, My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply; The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.”

      Sometimes this effort to give up this personal ego can seem like a “fiery trial”, but what a comfort it is to know that the fire is consuming the dross (the false personal idea of yourself) and refining the gold (the correct, humble, divine idea of yourself)! This was a humble kick in the rear for me a couple of summers ago. I was really into dating girls the summer after graduating high school. I mean, A LOT of girls. Right before college, beach season, WHAT COULD BE BETTER for a man on the prowl.. That was the problem.. I was a man on the prowl. Not only was I not losing this false, physical, LUSTFUL concept of women, I was consequently viewing myself in the same way. Pursuing more and more physical “wants” I found myself looking in the mirror, and for the first time EVER not liking what a saw. I felt sleazy, lustful, pathetic, disgusting. The following three weeks I was at a summer camp. It was an all boys camp (good to take away the temptation). I talked with my brothers at the camp, began diving in to the bible and a book called Science and Health that has helped me understand the Bible and its significance in my life. I also worked with that hymn mentioned above. The whole time it was this work of stripping off these clothes I had put on that didn’t fit me! These clothes of personal ego, self-justification, pride, vanity. I felt great! I went home after that, and for about a week and a half, it was tough to put my renewed concepts of self to the test. The girls were still there. No getting around it. At one point I had to by a train ticket to go to a two week class. I also had a date set up for the day before I was supposed to leave. I looked at the bill of the ticket and it was exactly $123! Thinking of hymn 123, I immediately cancelled the date! Wouldnt you know it, that in that two week class I met the best woman I have ever known! a year and a half later, I married her :) and we have been married for 9 months now.

      Kate, you are absolutely right, its not easy, and the order is a TALL one. But i know you will agree with me, that the work is OH SO WORTH IT!!!

  16. Jake says:

    Lately I have been struggling with getting up early when I want to. This hasn’t been a problem in the past. But of late, my alarm goes off and the last thing I want to do is move! I find enough strength to turn off the alarm and then go right back to sleep until Mrs. Lowe wakes me up. I have found myself justifying it by telling myself things like, “I still get my wife to work on time, ” or “I have all do to do work, what’s the big deal if I sleep a little longer.” There are many more that I am sure we are all familiar with. This morning, after struggling with it again, I was feeling especially discouraged about this. Thinking about this radical act of losing my life to find it began to make me feel excited! To lose these pathetic justifications and acts of “lack of commitment” to my day, I have a wonderful opportunity to put this act into practice!!!! IM GOING TO TAKE A STEP CLOSER TO FINDING MY LIFE!! I think that realizing what it is we are doing (and expressing joy about it) is a key step in the honest work ahead of us! Losing my life, to me, means to elevate all situations to qualities and not think that any personal sense or self centered ego is above maintaining the integrity of those qualities! For example, in this scenario, I want to see more honesty, commitment, punctuality, control, joy, and activity expressed. Losing myself in this case is going to take letting go of this false idea that I’m lazy, or make excuses for myself. Ridding this situation of any control I think I have, but giving all the credit and acknowledgement of power to God or Love is going to see this through! I’ll keep you all posted!!

  17. Jake says:

    Here is some progress on this act for y’all! I have been wanting to make this act a opportunity to remove a sense of self from my daily activities. What I mean by that is that I want God to be receiving all the credit in my thought for all the good that is being done. To completely give ALL the credit to God, it not only means giving gratitude after the activity is done, but eliminating a false responsibility of myself when I can be trusting God to lead me to do the necessary work. The last couple of days my wife has been working through a disabling physical challenge. To take care of her on top of the the work I wanted to complete for my job and the apartment we live in, the work load seemed daunting! I have found it crucial to take all of these “challenges” and view them as EXCITING opportunities for growth! Or in this case, to do some radical acting! Before beginning the shopping trip to launch the day of both manly and feminine tasks, I affirmed in my thought what Jesus said, “I of mine own self can do nothing.” and that with God, all things are possible! Keeping those two truths with me all day, I found myself not only being able to finish everything, but having a blast doing it! My wife has had a healing and returned to work, and I have been on top of all of the household chores, I didn’t have to compromise any of my work! I know you are all out there finding your life! Don’t be shy! Post something and join the community discussion!

  18. Jake says:

    What a wonderful conversation this has been! My name is Jake Lowe and I am a full time Christian Science practitioner. For anybody who doesn’t know what that means, my job is to pray with people when they are struggling with something to find HEALING!!! Most exciting job ever! In my job I have no choice but to make this radical act part of my moment-by-moment life! I’ve found it to be a lot of work, but oh so rewarding! Like many have mentioned, losing my life in order to find it means not identifying Life as mine, and John’s Life as John’s, but everybody is expressing the one Life (namely God) in an infinite number of ways! In that way, we are all connected! As you walk through the busy streets in your school, city, grocery store, etc. think about how you are walking in a sea of your brothers and sisters! Talk about community! Anyway, I digress.. I have a little story that makes me think of this act.

    In high school, I was on the wrestling team. I won’t lie to you all; I was good. For some reason I got it into my head that I should fake an injury going into the state tournament so I wouldn’t have to wrestle. I had an undefeated season going, and I most likely would have walked through the state competition. I figured if I was fine without a state title, then it couldn’t harm anybody else. I couldn’t have been more incorrect. After lying to my coach about my “injury”, it was clear that he wasn’t buying it. His opinion influenced the team, and the long and short of it was the team captains, some of my best friends had to tell me that I was kicked off the team with only three days left in the season my senior year. It was clear that my stupid decision led to letting down my team. It wasn’t just about me. In what I thought would be letting go of ego (not having the “glory” of a state title), I did the most egotistic thing I’ve ever done. I let my brothers down. I wasn’t loving them. I wasn’t loving myself. After that, I felt this HUGE weight on my shoulders. I had lost my friends, mentors, and integrity. I felt all this work I had done for Jake’s reputation was shot, and I screwed it all up. What I had to realize was that, while the decision was most certainly selfish and wrong, it wasn’t an individual that is separate from God that I had to fix or repair, it was my view of it! I had to lose my life! The word MY is key. I do not have a life, God is Life, and I express it or reflect it. The water doesn’t control what it reflects, it just naturally reveals the good that is there to show. As a child of God, that is what I had to do! Once I made that distinction on what/who I really was, the burden was lifted! Almost immediately my best friend from the wrestling team called me up and asked if we could still be friends, even with this awkward situation that had just happened. It has taken me longer to be as open with sharing that story, but that particular friend was a groomsman in my wedding and the experience has blessed those who I have told it to. It was truly a scenario where I was forced to lose my life, in order to find it! More progress on this act to follow!

  19. Kate says:

    Hmmm…

    I’ve thought about this Radical Act quite a bit this summer….

    And here is what came one night in the dark…

    “Kate, you need to lose sight of yourself in the context of Life.”

    Then I had this feeling…Life is not personal, it is not something you have ever “owned” that you can decide to surrender. All you can do is change your focus from a personal sense of life, to an impersonal, all-inclusive, universal sense of Life that includes all.

    When we lose our self/ego-centered sense of Life, and exchange it for a completely God-centered, Love-centered sense of being…somehow, we discover the REAL person we’ve always hoped we’d find…

  20. Laurel says:

    Paul, I agree we need to be “Spiritual Warriors”. By the way, the X Games were supposed to be hosted in Whistler, but we lost out on the bid. So, it’ll be in Europe instead.
    It is so great to read through the discussion! What great students of Christian Science you all are!
    I have been teaching in the public school system for 20 years and I have always been very independent, but commited to Christian Science. I’ve been a successful parent with a daughter who graduated with 2 Masters Degrees at Ivy League Schools and I have worked as a Christian Science practitioner for several summers over the last decade, I have been in the full time practice of Christian Science healing, but just for July and August only, when I haven’t been teaching. However, my active practice this summer made me realize that I am ready to “cast my net and follow the Christ.” year-round! It is somewhat daunting, as I have a large mortgage on a condo and it’s not close to being paid off yet. I have debts to pay off on top of the mortgage which I have been paying down faithfully. I have chosen to pay my debts and it has become clear I can trust the Lord’s Prayer: … “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. ” It doesn’t mean I am trying to find an easy way out, as I have a good-paying teaching job and am able to keep paying mortgage payments and loan payments. But, this week’s lesson on Christ Jesus says in the Golden Text: “if ye love me, keep my commandments.” I am living my life by working so hard to pay bills – and just so I can keep my independence, feel control over my home surroundings with nobody telling me what to do because I own it? I am working to pay my condo! I am not obeying the First Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” I have to ask myself, “What has my life been focused on for the past 3 years, living in this ski resort town?” My life has been set up to pay for this condo and I’m bowing down to the mighty dollar every day. I love my condo, don’t get me wrong, and to be living in a world class ski resort is fabulous, with all the skiing, kayaking, cross country skiing, etc at your doorstep, but having to work 6 days a week, doesn’t seem like a good balance. Besides, i want to obey ALL the commandments, not just some of them. I happen to have reached retirement age in Canada and so I could retire from teaching and work 100% for the Christian Science Movement. However, my teacher pension is less than half of what I will make teaching. Yet, this is what I’ve always wanted to do – work for the CS movement. I realize I can know God will guide me to do what HIS WILL is ! I’ve just resolved TODAY to do this. It appears humanly daunting but I know it will bless my practice and I’m already seeing the fruitage in my healing work! I can give up my life for Christ even more radically… It is practical and will be a Divine Adventure!

    • paul boy says:

      “When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, Trust him fully.
      Only one of two things will happen;
      Either he will catch you when you fall or he will teach you how to fly.”

      What a totally reasonable, practical decision, Laurel: to give up “that which you can never keep, for that which you can never lose.”

      Best of all, you already know how this new venture to follow in Jesus’ footsteps will work out!

      “And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life. (II Kings 25)

      “…rest assured you can never lack God’s outstretched arm so long as you are in
      His service.] (’01: 1)

  21. Lane says:

    I really want to hear more from Paul about this. He’s so inspiring.

  22. Kate says:

    One day, at a time when it seemed like I “had it all”…a job I loved, projects that meant the world to me, a beautiful family, and a wonderful home…I was riding from the airport to my office in a taxi when out the window I saw something that made my heart stand still.

    It was a cold, gray November day and sleet was falling. We were stuck in slow-miving rush hour traffic and as I based out the window I caught sight of a large appliance-sized cardboard box that was leaning against a cinder block building in the park next to the highway. And inside the opening of the box sat a man and woman leaning against one another with the most beatific, peaceful look on their faces.

    I remember thinking “I want what you have…”

    I wasn’t thinking that I necessarily wanted to be living in a cold cardboard box, but I wanted the peaceful contented look I saw on their faces in the midst of what to the outside observer might look like a dire situation.

    No, I wanted what couldn’t be seen with anything but the heart. I wanted the deep inner peace, the profound contentment that was unshaken by circumstances, not defined by socio-economic conditions, or shattered by disappointment. I wanted something so profoundly grounded in God’s radiant Love that it existed in the world as light, but was not defined by the world’s measurements, outcomes, or results.

    I saw it and from that moment on I couldn’t forget it.

    But I also knew I had to be willing to lose my life as I knew it in order to “seek” this kingdom first…and as my first love.

    I started to glimpse the Scriptural precedence for this kind of love when I read John’s admonition in Revelation:

    “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”

    Something began to shift into place in me. I realized that all the wonderful things I loved…my family, home, church, friendships…were never going to satisfy my eternal longing for a deeper fidelity to my “first love” – God, the great I AM, the kingdom of heaven within. As long I thought love was something I could feel from outside of myself…rather than an empowering, radiant presence I rested my life on, within myself, I would always be “wanting what they had…”

    Since then, I have been realizing how much deeper my peace goes when I let go of “my life” for “His Life”…which, as Eddy says, “Love alone is Life”

    A radiant loving that doesn’t wait for permission, rather than a sentient love that can’t act without a reason, justification, or the permission of human stories, feelings, conditions.

    Losing “my life” is as sweet (and somewhat as terrifying) as I would imagine watching your arms and legs dissolve in the ocean….it’s only scary until you notice you’ve always had gills, fins, a tail, and the ability to breathe water.

    Then you swim…in the buoying waters of your “first love,” and all that you have loved (before) is just magnified by the water, has fresh beauty, and is weightless – unburdened, in that new environment of being.

  23. alex says:

    One way in which I have been forced to find my life by losing it has been in realizing that I DO NOT have the power to force people to know, understand, or do things that they don’t know, understand, or want to do. This has sometimes caused me to feel very angry and to judge others. But it has been a beautiful lesson to me that no matter how passionate I am about something, I simply CANNOT, I am UNABLE to force anyone to feel the same passion I feel. The only power I have is that of leading by example and encouragement.

    With lots of love for this group and this conversation

  24. Peter says:

    Interesting question. In absolute Science, God is All and His creation is perfect. That, if you like, is the “plan”.

    In our individual experience, I would say the plan is to “obey God, to have one Mind, and to love another as yourself” (Science and Health p 496). When we do that, I think we find our lives unfolding harmoniously in accord with divine law.

    Thinking about being obedient to God — God doesn’t typically ask us to do two different things at once. But how that unfolds in your experience is unique to you. Whatever choices you make, at the end of the day, your direction is to find our more of God and your unique perfect identity. And the good news is that God’s showing us the way :)

    • Tom says:

      “Like.” Her words .. and MBE was a wordsmith .. are “our first ‘duty’” (not plan) is to obey God …”. I have stated that being understood is not my goal .. ‘I’ understand. There seems to be an attempt to redefine the concept of “plan”. As God’s idea, I am inherently a multitasker and able to walk and chew gum at the same time. I believe that Life, Truth and Love direct me in multiple directions. My experience with Christian Science has, obviously, been different from that of others at this discussion table .. and I will embrace that diversity. We are all at different places in our growth and experiences with this remarkable science she discovered. I do my best to keep focused on my duties as a Christian Scientist and am ever growing .. that focus seems to serve me and my brother well. For me, God’s ‘plan’ is His creation and that this ‘plan’ has succeeded and is always succeeding.

  25. Amy says:

    Hey Paul,

    I’ve been thinking about this since you posted it.

    I used to feel like it was a HUGE risk for me to share Christian Science even when someone seemed to really need it. It was scary (though obviously not dangerous) for me to come out of my comfort zone and tell someone something they didn’t know about God.

    And honestly, I started sharing consistently when I had one foot out the CS door. It was easier that way because I wasn’t worried about the reaction I’d get (so much for being a Christian Warrior!).

    But now, with both feet planted firmly in Christian Science, I share naturally because it *is* who I am. I don’t share as often as some, but I listen for those moments where it’s right.

    What do you think about that? That sometimes it’s not that we have to force ourselves to do something, but if we’re open and willing, we’re moved whether we like it or not.

    • Tom says:

      What caught my attention about your post was the word “moved”. I read in another comment about God’s “plan”. Bear with me for a moment. I’ve read all of Mary Baker Eddy’s works .. the Science and Health multiple times. I don’t recall any statement from her suggesting that God has a “plan” for each of us .. that, for me, is in the realm of Protestantism and Methodism. We are truly free identities and beings with infinitesimally loving directions within which to accomplish the joys of being God’s perfect idea and enjoying Life. One of the aspects of her teachings is that ‘God’ will care for us and and nowhere have I read of a responsibility in caring for or taking care of each other. As His idea, we can do nothing but love and respect each other’s individual identities .. that’s our true nature. I had a practitioner once tell me, “God doesn’t need you to care for or awaken anyone.” That statement was very freeing to me. My responsibility is to awaken from ‘my’ dream of mind, life and truth apart from Him .. Truth will take care of everyone else’s awakening. However, if God needs something from me, an action or purpose, there will be no question as to his desire and I will not be able to resist. The Bible is filled with examples of God getting someone’s attention. Being “moved” is a kool sensation and .. I have been stopped .. I have been directed .. I have healed .. I have been healed. I love being “moved”. She speaks of the necessity to be on the lookout and to be always discerning between mortal and spiritual thought. When we are “open and willing, we’re moved whether we like it or not” .. very kool! So, if God wants any of us to “save the world” or save some individual, we will not be able to resist. Moses was the perfect example of this concept. Personally, I have not been moved to “save the world” .. I am being “moved” to awaken from the dream of its perceived grasp .. and this is done in steps, through progression and learning and discerning. I love her statement .. “Patience will have her perfect work.” I share my faith, Christian Science, as I am “moved” to do so. Love your post, Amy.

      • Amy says:

        I really want to nail this down. It seems like there’s an important balance here. Because the 2nd great Commandment (from Jesus) is to love your brother as yourself. So there does seem to be a responsibility there. Also, the whole Golden Rule thing, right???

        On the other hand, I heard a Christian Scientist say once something to the effect that when we think we have to stand up for Principle, we know we’re on the wrong track. Principle doesn’t need us to stand up for it, Principle holds us up. And I believe that.

        • nina says:

          Here’s a story that helps me understand all this.

          Two years ago, my elderly neighbor broke her wrist. I rushed her to the hospital, brought her home, got her groceries, and visited constantly to make sure she was OK. But, you know, I hated every minute of it.

          That same week, I donated about 40 hours to finding and elaborately arranging carloads of wildflowers for a retirement party for someone teetering on the edge of terminal cancer. Blistering heat, swarms of biting insects, snake-infested roadside ditches . . . who cares? I was having the time of my life. THIS is my gift. THIS is what God made me for. And people were so blessed that they’re still talking about those bouquets.

          There are so many ways to love our neighbors. I choose the ones that fill me with joy — that make me feel like ME. Some may think this doesn’t involve enough self-sacrifice. But I’m betting that God is . . . delighted with my delight.

          • Tom says:

            I’m sure you did as you were moved to do. Sometimes I have been directed by Life, Truth and Love to do things I didn’t understand, but I don’t recall ever hating God’s direction. I have to be careful with those that like to stand on a street corner and shout, “I did this or I did that, look how great my achievements are” .. Jesus warned us about such behaviors. I don’t recall the Master ever once stating, “Hey, I healed 1000 people today. I’ll bet they’re all happy with me.” Loving our neighbor is a grand command and one that takes constant vigilance. I believe through my studies and understanding of Christian Science that our abilities are infinitesimal and boundless as His perfect idea. I can’t imagine loving one’s neighbor to have anything other than a joyful ending. Truly the Father/Mother knows no other condition than delight and joy. Enjoy.

        • Tom says:

          Hello. So .. let’s nail it down. I loved your comment and was “moved” to share the thoughts that came to me with you. However, this is a public site and these thoughts were there for others to witness and to not understand. Being understood is unimportant to me .. ‘I’ understand. As God’s perfect idea and reflection, I cannot act separate from Him, but because of Him. I cannot, as His son/daughter, do anything other than love my neighbor/fellow idea. Jesus’ command was also a statement about who we are .. one perfect idea loving another perfect idea is all that we ‘can’ be. As seeming mortals believing that we can be separate from Him (after all, that is the dream we are all working to awaken from, the lie that there can be a ‘mortal’ mind separate from Divine Mind), vigilance is required in the loving of my neighbor. Sometimes I have failed and through that failure gained a greater wisdom. God will care for you .. I don’t have to worry about you. However, ‘if’ he needs me to do something for you, He will move me to do so and I will not be able to resist. So, I don’t have to go about my day wondering or worrying if I should do this or that when it comes to my fellow man/woman .. He will direct me. Should or shouldn’t I share my faith with someone? Divine Love will let me know and share with me the words to say. I loved your statement, “if we’re open and willing, we’re moved whether we like it or not.” And, I loved your statement regarding Principle. I don’t play in the arena of agreement .. like you, “I believe that” too. It’s a radical thought to know that I don’t have to run in circles caring for every situation and person I see because I ‘believe’ that’s what God wants me to do .. I will be moved to do so if it’s what Life, Truth and Love wants me to do whether I like it or not .. I’m sure that I will like it, though. Divine Life, Truth and Love is caring for us all .. all the time. If He wants me to do something, I won’t be able to deny Him. I have been moved to share, whether anyone likes it or not. I’ve been a student of Christian Science and the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy for over 60-years and I still have ample room for growth and wisdom .. I haven’t arisen yet! LOL! Your post touched me as did another post on this page. I’m a Vietnam Veteran and a widower .. Love has led me so perfectly through my life. Remember .. this is about radical thought. Great sharing with you! Very kool!

      • Gordon says:

        motsetao – I too have read all of Mrs. Eddy’s writings, and S&H multiple times, and I have to disagree with you here. There may not be a compact, quotable sound byte about having a “plan,” but I’m honestly not sure how you can miss that theme throughout her writings… and much more importantly, in the Bible!

        Every hair of our heads is numbered. Divine Love has met and always will meet every human need. Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him.

        The idea that God doesn’t have a plan would suggest to me that you and I are independent creators, and that God isn’t totally in charge of everything. God is truly All-in-all.

        • Tom says:

          Kool! However, your agreement is not necessary. MBE’s theme is “there is no life, truth, intelligence nor substance in matter” .. and this lie of matter and mortal mind and the truth of a one and only Mind, Life, Truth and Love. Like I said, God having a singular plan, in other words only ‘one’ route for each of us is incorrect. You read the words but didn’t listen .. our possibilities are limitless, not singular. We’re all on a journey of discovery and it’s a personal journey .. maybe your journey involves a singular objective .. my identify is limitless freedom and possibilities. “Plan: A plan is typically any diagram or list of steps with timing and resources, used to achieve an objective.” Wikipedia. “A method for achieving an end.” Webster dictionary. These are singular concepts. Good sharing with you. You’re searching too.

          • Gordon says:

            I really feel like I could say the exact same thing to you (about reading but not listening)! …which tells me that perhaps we are talking about two different things. You are right about there being infinite possibilities for good. But when I think about the “big things” in life, singular goals and so on, I know that there can be only one route to take. Perhaps substitute the word “mission” for “plan.” Christ had a mission, which he initially resisted in the garden of Gethsemane, but then overcame his own human resistance to it. Of course God is too pure to behold of evil, and does not know sin, disease, matter, or error of any sort. But he does hold all of His own ideas eternally in right relation with one another. He knows how it all fits together already, while we discern things as “unfoldment,” like “through a glass, darkly.” Good sharing with you, too, bud.

      • Victoria says:

        Tom, this is radical Truth!
        I was in a miserable situation, living in a place I did not want to be. I seemed to have three choices. Go here, go there, or remain where I was. I waited and prayed three years for my own personal ‘burning bush’ with the answer as to where God wanted me to be.
        One day it came to me: God wanted me to boldly make my own decision. His promise stands! Wherever I am, God is. I chose a place and found welcome. The current living situation , which is not wonderful, gives me the ongoing opportunity to correct wrong thinking, and to demonstrate the abundance that is everywhere available to each of us. Each day is new and fresh and replete with blessings.
        Now my prayer is to open my eyes and keep them open to God’s truth in every situation.

  26. paul boy says:

    The X-Games were held last week in LA, and I was reading about one of the top skateboarding contestants. He’s had over 40 surgeries to repair all the injuries he’s sustained over the years; and additionally, he’s had a minimum of 50 concussions. He’s always in some kind of pain, he said, and worries about his mental capacities in the future.

    For skateboarding, he’s a relatively “old guy”, with a wife and children who worry about his injuries permanently crippling him. A reporter asked him why he didn’t just stop skateboarding. “You don’t understand,” he said. I don’t just ride a skateboard. Being a skater is whom I am; it’s my whole identity.” “I don’t WANT to damage myself seriously, or make my family unhappy with me, or lose my way of making a living…BUT I COULDN’T STOP DOING THIS ANY MORE THAN I COULD STOP LIVING; AND TAKING RISKS IS JUST PART OF WHAT COMES WITH MAKING A COMMITMENT TO BE THE BEST I CAN BE.”

    And I compared how fearless and committed this man was to simply playing a sport, with the infinitely lesser commitment I usually make to being a Christian. I considered this skater’s willingness to sacrifice, suffer, and even risk death to achieve excellence with a simple sporting activity; when I hesitate to take anything NEAR that much of a risk, as a proclaimed disciple of the most genuinely radical man who ever walked the earth, and of a teaching that has the potential to save lives and change the course of our entire planet…

    And it came to me, that the skate parks will remain full and alive on Sundays, and the churches will remain relatively lifeless and empty, until people just like me are willing to lay it all on the line to heal and save our world – and stop being Christian Science philosophers or musers, or dabblers, and start being the real Spiritual Warriors that stand up strong and fearless to sin and evil of every kind, because YOU and I make the commitment that “being Christians is just who WE are – and taking risks is just part of what comes with that commitment,” and we let the human details in OUR lives just fall where they fall, because we, TOO “couldn’t stop being Christians, any more than WE could stop living.”
    And I thought sadly, that perhaps we’ve earned the quote by a well known atheist:
    “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting.
    It’s been found difficult, and not tried.”

  27. alex says:

    This is a song I have loved for a long time. It shows a deep humility and willingness to give up one’s own will for trust in God’s will.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnQz8Mgf0wI&feature=fvwrel

    If It Be Your Will by Leonard Cohen

    one of my favorite parts says:

    If it be your will that a voice be true
    From this broken hill I will sing to you

    From this broken hill, all your praises they shall ring
    If it be your will to let me sing

  28. Tom says:

    Wonderful site .. I read everyones’ comments. One of them in particular touched me. I have included this as a bookmark in my Christian Science folder and it will be a part of my journey.

  29. itsaboutgood says:

    A friend of mine shared this with me and I just had to put it where it belongs.

    Lecrae – Don’t waste your life
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RWEllqh5J0

    Amen!

  30. alex says:

    Over the past few years I have been experimenting with losing some of my desires. This has been brought about in times when I wanted something and it was just not happening in the moment that I was wanting it. So, in prayer, I was led to let go of the desire. I have a feeling that desires were a big part of the “life” Jesus was talking about losing for his sake. Desires that don’t lead to God. Desires that distract from progress.

    From these experiences I have come to know that amazing inner feeling of letting go of something that you feel you want so much, and the loss of that – and at the VERY SAME TIME, the joy spiritual assurance replacing it. It has been a very holy feeling and one that has made me know that progress is possible with this stuff.

    For example, I work at home alone a fair amount. And often, at the end of the day, I am ready for some social interactions. But, sometimes, those interactions are not forthcoming. From experience I know that it can be painful and useless to try to force things like that to happen. So I have been moved by experience to do my best, but mostly let those social interactions fall naturally into place.

    Now, when that situation arises, I am getting better and better and recognizing that I have always been living in eternity, never in a moment by moment threat of being lonely, or sad. And very often I can FEEL that continuity of goodness that eternity promises. And I see that it is not the situation that has made me feel bad in the past, but the desire for something other than God.

    And, of course, my being more aware of my connection with eternity allows friendships and companionship to unfold naturally and joyfully, in a normal and unforced way. In that little way I can feel myself “losing my life” for Christ, and gaining real, eternal life!

  31. Carlos says:

    I love the ideas shared here… thank you all. I’ve had to deal with a sense of loss in my life lately, and it has helped to look back at other instances of seeming loss and realize the growth and gain that has followed.

    I’ve been workign with some very helpful ideas from Science & Health (the Christian Science textbook) which suggest that only the objects of material sense can be lost, because they are unreal. If something is real, if God created it, it simply can’t be lost. So, IF there is something to be lost in a situation, I can rejoice in dissappearance of the unreal and subsequent discovery of the real. Otherwise, working to hang on to something that doesn’t exist would merely delay the sense of loss to a later time.

    This has helped me tremendously to lose the fear associated with situations of seeming loss, and rejoice in the expectancy of the good and real coming to view. I love the idea this radical act presents about losing our lives (or our personal concept of what life is) in order to find our real and eternal life. It has helped me deal with many situations lately in which signifficant loss seemed inevitable, and instead what was found was a more perfect and eternal definition of the objects at play.

    • Tom says:

      At times, I become overcome with the “seeming” loss (love that “seeming” clarification) of my wife to the suggestion of disease. Your sharing has reminded me of what is real.

      • Carlos says:

        motsetao, thank you for sharing so honestly. For me it took the “seeming” loss of my wife, in this case to the “suggestion” of divorce (thank YOU for that “suggestion” clarification) to really shake up my concept of what is real.

        I must say that I had become stuck in a patter of identifying myself and relationships incorrectly. And I was suffering from these beliefs… though at the time I was somewhat asleep to this suffering. When it all went down the hardest part was how to let go of the promises I had made. I had entered into a covenant! I had sworn to protect her… to love her.

        One day, at somewhat of a low-point, I was really reaching out to God, and it came to me to look up our vows (which we had written based on our study of marriage). This seem sadistic at first, but I was obedient. As I read through them, I began to realize that not one of them needed her to be physically present in order for me to fulfill it. I could love her. I could see her as God’s child, no matter the situation or condition. I could protect her, or the idea of her, in my own thought. Basically, I became her defender against any of the nasty suggestions that seemed to be attaching themselves to my thoughts about her – suggestions relating to divorce, unhappiness, injustice, fear.

        This is what brought about the real healing. I did not have to let go of ANY of the promises I had made. Even better, here was an opportunity for me to fulfill those promises without distractions. There was no physical gain, no personal sense, no points to be made… just the pure joy of being faithful.

        • Victoria Reichmann says:

          Thank you for that! It is important, I see, for me to look at the divorce and the marriage that led up to it as an opportunity to fulfil a covenant rather than the loss or desecration of a covenant. Now I see that correcting my thought about my former husband is the fulfilling of that covenant, and the true releasing of that which no longer serves our higher purposes. Faithfulness to the words of the covenant are not dependent upon person, place or thing, but upon thought, heart and action. In this case, the action of blessing and letting go!
          Again! THANK YOU!

  32. Claire says:

    God already knows and has planned out what he wants each and every one of us to do, and it is our pleasure to follow his direction. Sometimes, though, that’s the hardest part–letting go of what we think we want, and truly listening to what God wants. When we truly and diligently listen, though, his direction and guiding hand is always there to lead us to our true life and expression. As long as we do what he commands us to do in the now, the next step will always grow clear.

  33. Alex says:

    I love the promise of this act. Just that whatever we lose of the things we think we are supposed to have, it can be a springboard to further understand that we HAVE life in Christ.

    I have learned so so so much about life from losing things I wanted to have. Each time I lost something it forced me to turn more fully to God as the supplier of my happiness. And God never goes away! It really works! When you feel feel feel that God is your happiness, then you can never be in a situation where your happiness is not right there with you.

    For me it has been a lot of work, but the riches keep piling up.

  34. itsaboutgood says:

    Brother Paul,
    I love this act. I especially love the diversity of your examples. My senior year of college I was all ready to go straight to Law School. I had taken an LSAT prep class and was looking forward to wealth, prestige, and all the worldly amenities that came with a law degree. Then my world was flipped upside-down. I got really ill my Spring quarter and felt helpless both physically and mentally.

    I remember laying in bed after a day of presentating a report on nuclear abolition in India in my national securities class, fighting through fever hallucinations to sound coherent enough to not get a failing grade. At the end of the day a friend of mine who had been nursing me with wet towels and loving thoughts left me in the dark of my dorm with just myself and God, and I remember having this revelation that everything that had ever happened to me had not been done by me, but was because of God, my Life. I decided at that point to let go of all of my selfish ambitions and listen more closely to what God had for me.

    Shortly after I met music legend Quincy Jones at a friend’s engagement party and I asked him what he would do if he were just graduating college. He told me he would go to China. I had never, ever thought about China

    Two weeks later the professor for my national securities class called me in to talk with me about my presentation and I was terrified. I had barely remembered anything it and knew it had gone terribly. When he called me in, to my surprise, he told me that in reviewing all the reports mine was one of the most impressive and he wanted me to be part of a delegation of students that would travel to Shanghai to present about nuclear abolition.

    From there I stayed, taught English and dance, read the Bible through for the first time, gave up my will for God’s (and still continually am!), traveled to over 40 countries, started a non-profit to witness Christianity in action, taught in Los Angeles to get a Master’s in humility, started a tech company to learn more about what Love really is, reflected God’s healing message with the Church of Christ, Scientist and progressed exponentially on my spiritual journey.

    This Radical Act truly is the straight and narrow way and the WAY into the Kingdom of Heaven.

    • Tom says:

      Wonderful, exciting journey.

    • Tim says:

      Thank you itsaboutgood. This is such a helpful idea. It makes me feel so grateful for all the wonderful experiences that I have had, and all of the experiences that I will be led through. They will be so LOVING. Love you brother.

  35. Ali says:

    I love this Radical Act. For me this translates in my life as giving up my own expectations for how life should be. In that since it is losing my life in order to find it. Just really letting go of what I feel it should be and letting God take control 100%.

  36. Ann says:

    Boy can I relate this act! But I didn’t have to lose who I was or lose my own life to do it. It took losing who I thought I was, erasing human history – losing my personalized self and sense. This is very hard to do in a personal world. Everything is he versus me, them versus us, him versus her, me versus you. This sense that there are people that populate the universe instead of God’s ideas – people with separate opinions and beliefs and minds instead of one divine Mind. I felt like I had lost myself – and that I had to – in order for God to be the only Person, for me to really “have that mind which was in Christ Jesus” (one Mind). I’m still learning today to “lose my life” to find my life. We’re so good at releasing things that are negative about us because we want to get rid of them. It may be difficult because we don’t see how that label isn’t who we are, but we’re much better at doing that than at releasing the good things about ourselves. For instance, I knew I was a really good cashier and loved brightening people’s day and making them smile. But this lead me to feel like I’d never take a day off from work because my shift was my responsibility and if I was suddenly wasn’t well mentally, I couldn’t call in – I just couldn’t. I could still push buttons. But I had to learn that people are resource, not sources. God is the only source – same with cashiering. God is the only action since He is omni-action. I had to let other people express God’s infinity. I had to be able to call in and find myself again on the rock and let others cashier – I wasn’t the only idea that could do it, even if it was my position. Same with where I am now. I labeled myself a country girl, but i’m finding now how automatically uncomfortable I start to suddenly feel the moment I’m in a city. I’m having to let go and realize that if God is all, He’s everyone and everywhere and the ideas I am in Him, through Him and by Him, are everywhere, too. I can’t be God’s idea of happiness and comfort in the country. I’m God’s expression of those ideas everywhere I am – no matter where that may be. So in losing my material life, I’m finding my only spiritual Life in God.

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