This blog is intended to create a dialogue about learning to receive with grace and ease.

So much has been written about the importance of giving that we forget that in order to give,

someone has to be receiving.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Consider it Done – Part Two

Do you “consider it done” when you pray? I asked myself this question about my long-standing prayer request. I began by visualizing Jesus rather than Don standing before me. I had just finished praying for release from my debt and for a new, ideal home in place of my current one. I heard Jesus speak to me: “Joanne, I love you so much. I understand you want to be released from your debt and current house and move into a new one you and Roger select, one that has all the things you both desire. I would love to give these things to you. Would you allow me to do that?” (Can you imagine how it would feel to have Jesus himself offer to give you your heart’s greatest desire?)

I saw myself reply to him. “Oh Lord, I would love that so much. I accept! Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Jesus would then respond, “Great! Consider it done.” At this point I paused and reflected on how I would feel if this conversation had actually taken place. I knew immediately that I would feel tremendous relief because the debt was no longer mine. Jesus was taking care of it for me! I also imagined feeling great joy and anticipation – Jesus was providing us the house of our dreams. Now it would have been exciting if someone like Donald Trump, with all his resources and creativity, were to offer a house, but Jesus? This was clearly a step above even that!

So then I asked myself if I typically had those feelings when I prayed, because if I truly believed I had received the things I prayed for, I would feel relief, joy and anticipation. But the truth was that I did not usually feel that way after praying. Yes, I did feel some relief, and overall I felt better than when I had begun praying, but those feelings didn’t last. When an unexpected bill arrived or if my paycheck was not quite what I was hoping it would be, that familiar knot in my stomach would return. I did not “consider it done.”

This was a major “ah-ha” for me. I realized that “consider it done” was not just a catchy phrase; it was Jesus telling me the first action I was to take to bring about my dream. Almost always dreams come about through everyday life occurrences. We have to take some action to manifest our desires. After all, even lottery winners first had to buy a ticket!

That gap between feeling relief, joy and anticipation and what I feel in reality is the primary reason I still hold the debt and live where I live. I have made the commitment to be ever mindful of my feelings. Now when I sense any doubt, anxiety or worry rising in me, I immediately see Jesus standing before me saying, “Consider it done.”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Consider it Done – Part One

About ten years ago, I accepted a job as Claims Director for a small heath plan. Even though I had absolutely no claims background, the company wanted a fresh, unbiased approach and hired me. Periodically, a provider would call me requesting that a particular claim be paid. Because I did not have the knowledge to pay the claim myself, I would ask a team leader in our department, Don, to handle it for me. Don had a great attitude and would always reply, “Joanne, consider it done.” I learned that I could do exactly that – because he always paid the claim.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Don and his reply to me as I try unsuccessfully to receive something I cannot manifest through my own efforts: release from the debt of my current house and the purchase of a different home, one that my husband and I would select and love that better suits our needs. I have had this desire for three years, and yet we still live in my house.

I recently came upon a book written over 100 years ago by H. Emilie Cady (yes, I’ve mentioned her before) called God A Present Help. In it she describes me to a tee as she tells about people who pray faithfully for things, good things that would cause no harm to anyone, and yet fail to receive them. Cady states that typically, after a long time of praying and not receiving, these people become discouraged and think that there must be something wrong with them. They conclude that they must not have enough faith or that they have the wrong kind of faith. Cady explains that the real problem is that they are not following the directions of Jesus who said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (English Standard Version). Cady says these people believe their prayers will be answered, not that they have already received.

Think about it. To say that something will happen places it in the future, and the future never comes. It’s never tomorrow; it’s always today. The key, according to Cady, is to see the thing we’re praying for as already happening, or as Don put it so well: to consider it done.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Special Olympians Are Joyful Receivers

Some of you may know that my brother-in-law, Ronnie, is a retarded gentleman and a gold-medal Special Olympian. I recently had the pleasure of attending a Special Olympics bowling competition and observing how joyfully and easily the participants received.

Special Olympics involves a wide range of mentally retarded individuals. They are men and women of all races, ages, and disability levels, both physically and mentally. Some are quite skilled at their sport and others can barely compete. I watched one man throw the bowling with the power of a professional bowler and another be assisted onto the lane in her wheelchair where she released the ball down a ramp.

It was interesting to watch and listen to the family and friends who accompanied these athletes. While all were encouraging, a good number also offered well-meaning advice on how the Special Olympian could bowl better and improve their score. Most of the athletes seemed oblivious to the advice, having no interest in the event as a competition. Winning was not their motivation. They seemed to revel in just being there, the enthusiasm and praise from the crowd, and the opportunity to participate. I smile as I recall one woman clapping and shouting with glee each time she threw the ball, regardless of how many pins fell.

The real fun for me and the participants came at the awards ceremony. In Special Olympics, everyone receives an award of some type, in this case a ribbon or medal. Every award is equally honored by the officials and equally cherished by the recipients. At this event, it made no difference if the recognition was for last place or first, the athlete received the award with absolute joy and excitement.

Watching this, I was reminded of Jesus’ words, "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it" (Mark 10:15 New King James Version). Surely there is a lesson in receiving from these Special Olympians. Their childlike trust and excitement for life are magnets for good and blessings. Do you have the faith of a child as you put forth to the Universe your heart’s deepest desires?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Where is Your Focus?

Have you ever heard it said that the Universe does not hear or register the words “no” or “not”? It’s usually said in the context of how we frame our affirmations. We’re told not to think, “I do not want to be late,” because the Universe will hear, “I want to be late” and we’ll be late. I’ve even heard it said that we should choose our words very carefully or they could come back to haunt us. The example was given of a man who, wanting greater prosperity, affirmed, “I receive big bills” and ended up receiving invoices for large amounts of money he owed!

This advice is well intended and not completely off track, but it’s not totally on course either. First, the Universe to me refers to God, and I know God is not stupid. Scripture repeatedly tells us that God knows our thoughts. In Psalm 139 we read, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me…you discern my thoughts from far away” and “Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.” How is it then that God would not know that the man in our story wanted greater abundance and that he meant denomination when he said “bills”? Having to worry about our every word makes God out to be a version of Alex Trebek, waiting to catch us up in a phrasing error.

I don’t think the problem is that the Universe cannot register negations. It’s that when we’re worrying about being on time, we’re thinking about being late. When we want abundance, we’re focusing on eliminating our debt, and our attention is on the debt. We would do better to affirm, “I arrive safely in perfect time,” and “God is my instant, constant, and abundant supply, for which I give thanks.”

To keep the right focus, be aware of your fears. Catch when you are obsessing about what you don’t want or what’s happened in the past that you don’t want to repeat. Turn your thoughts to what you do want. It’s not that the universe doesn’t hear the “not.” It’s that your focus is on the not!