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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Truly, we have an awesome God!

Sometimes we just need to let go and realize that God really is in control of our lives.  He knows exactly what we need and how to take care of us.  It's when we get impatient and try to do things on our own that we mess things up.  And then we wonder why God doesn't seem to be around in our times of trouble.

So, what brought this on?

Well, I've had some spiritual issues I've been struggling with for a while now.  While I still believed in everything the Catholic Church teaches, I was having trouble practicing it.  And I was discouraged and had slowly drifted away from the more fervent faith I had previously.  Honestly, I was barely acknowledging God's existence, and bemoaning his lack of presence in my life.  I knew it was my own fault, but I couldn't seem to be able to take the steps to get myself back on track.

In all the extra free time I've had recently, I've been reading a lot of new sites I hadn't heard of before.  One of them I've been finding useful has been Steve Pavlina's personal development site.   Steve talks a lot about specific techniques that are useful for improving your  life in several areas including self-discipline, productivity, etc.  I've been reading a lot, implementing a little and generally being quite inspired by this site. 

One post of his that caught my attention in particular was his Million Dollar Experiment, an attempt to manifest $1000000 in the life of each of dozens of participants.  Reading about this, I was inspired to try it, and found all sorts of resistances in my mind - not because I didn't think it would work but because part of me felt that asking for money, especially a lot of money, was just wrong somehow.  Regardless, I decided to give it a shot, and spent a couple of minutes meditating on this intention for a day or two.  Now I was also working on implementing a daily workout as part of a general self-improvement strategy.  So I started repeating this intention to myself as I walked on the treadmill.  And very quickly I realized I could also add a similar intention for a fit healthy body, and a couple of days later for a fit and healthy body and mind.  So, even though I haven't manifested any money yet, the experiment is leading to positive changes in my life.

A couple of days ago, Steve's new post on how to make money from your blog was posted to a lot of major sites.  Reading that got me inspired that I too could parlay my interest in all things health related into a money generating website.  This is something I would have never considered prior to starting the $1M experiment.  I also read a few posts from Steve's archives that were updates on his experiment's progress, and some that talked about manifestation of intentions in general.  Coincidentally, I saw an ad in an organizing newsletter I receive for the Motivation123 site, which was offering me 2 books on motivation for less than $20.  I bought these and started skimming one, called 'Motivated in Minutes' to see if it was worth my investment.  (I think it is.) 

The next morning, I woke up feeling really hungry and thinking I needed to eat something right away, rather than workout, shower and then eat like I had been doing.  While I was eating, I decided to go through the 3 freebies I had received as part of the signup to Motivation123.  These are 3 little e-courses on attitude, goals, and confidence that are meant to run over 7 days.  The first lesson of all 3 courses was basically that attitude is more important than anything else in determining whether or not you achieve what you want to.  This empowering belief was a great way to start the day.  Once I was ready to start exercising, I decided to try a book my Mom had been nagging me to read, called "Your Best Life Now" by Joel Osteen.  So I took it onto the treadmill with me and started reading as I walked.  The book talks about how we block God from showering His fullest blessings on us because we are mired in negative attitudes about ourselves, our lives and the people around us.  If only we let these things go, we will be amazed at the good things God wants to bless us with. 

And somewhere in the middle of the first chapter of that book, I made a breakthrough.  I realized that all the negative energy in my life was coming not from sins (either bad things I had done or good things I had failed to do) but rather from my discouragement and despair over those sins.  Far bigger than my failure to live a perfect life was my sin of believing that I had to pass some arbitrary standard of goodness for God to love me and bless me.   God wants me to have an abundance of joy, peace, hope, happiness, and yes, riches.  To paraphrase the book, I was living in a self-imposed prison, thinking I had no hope, when I didn't need to at all.  God is not limited by my present circumstances.  Why should asking God for a million dollars for the good of all be any worse than asking for my daily bread?  Suddenly, all the doubt and fear and shame of the past few years had gone away - I know God loves me, regardless of my imperfection, and the measure of blessings He showers on me is limited only by my faith or lack of it.  I even realized that I could pray while exercising, including a prayer for a healthy body and mind, a million dollars, or anything else I could imagine wanting in my life. 

So, what is my point with all this?  I could not have gotten to where I am right now if all these things hadn't happened.  I just wasn't ready to read Joel Osteen's book until I had already read the motivation materials.  And I would never have bought the motivation materials had I not been thinking about starting a business.  And I wouldn't be thinking about the business if not for the $1M experiment and other inspirational materials I found on Steve Pavlina's site.  Steve proudly describes himself as a 'vegan ex-Catholic' so there's a lot of differences there, but that didn't stop God from using him to get me in exactly the right frame of mind to hear His word in my heart.  So, truly all things happen for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.  And our God is an awesome God indeed! 


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