This topic started whispering to me a couple of weeks ago. I'd pretty much decided to go with it, when the universe started sending me beautiful synchronicities to confirm what my heart already knew. This way of deciding things is fairly new to me, but I've now experienced just enough of it to know I can never go back to the way things used to be.
Had I started this blog a few years ago, I would have first consulted outside sources and allowed them to direct me. I might have asked for advice from a church leader, put out a facebook poll, googled to find out what topics were trending, etc. I would have believed that there were experts, much more qualified than I to know what was best and I would have handed over my keys without incident.
We are conditioned from birth to believe someone else is more qualified than we are to steer the vehicle that is our life. As toddlers, we are taught that mommy knows best. We then go to elementary school, where we are told that teacher knows best. (Imagine the inner conflict of a 6 year old, when you've believed mommy and teacher both to know best, but they don't always agree.) During the college years, our professors often have very strong opinions about the world that they wish to influence us with. We then join the church, where it is generally accepted that the church leadership knows best (whether they be priest, elder, pastor, rabbi or imam). We even sing songs about our own inferiority ("🎶...that saved a wretch like me...🎶"). Maybe we are wise enough to avoid organized religion, but we willingly allow our bodily health to be managed by people who say they know better than we do about what will harm or save us. The list goes on...
We also learn by trial and error that our world isn't big on individuality. The child who learns best while laying on the floor and playing with bits of string is labeled problematic, when parent-teacher conferences come around, because he wasn't created to sit quietly in a desk all day. Sadly, that little one takes that label to heart and carries it with him into adulthood. I have heard many accounts of college students that are treated rudely and made the butt of class jokes when they have dared to disagree with their professor. In the work place, personal genius is often suppressed in favor of the "this is how it's always been done" model. And how many of us have heard teachings in church that just don't ring true, but we keep quiet for fear of being labeled a heretic. My husband remembers that in the church he grew up in, there would be occasional murmurings that, "Brother Jones is questioning!" The unspoken message? Whatever you do, don't be like Brother Jones!
This has been a theme in my own life. It has been there at every age and in every season until very recently. If you've read any of the books on birth order and the characteristics of a first-born child, you'll know that I was a good rule follower. Yes, there were times I didn't follow the rules, but it was important to me that I at least tried to be obedient and at least was perceived to be a good rule follower. In my early 30's, I had an experience that was important to my growth and though I was distraught at the time, I look back so thankful for what I learned from it.
This good little rule follower was happily doing my part in the music department of a very large and prominent church. I enjoyed the music and the people, but began to feel harassed by a man I worked with there. I will say this was not harassment of a sexual nature, but it was harassment, all the same. I initially didn't want to make waves, so I tried to quietly step away from the music "ministry". This was not deemed acceptable to the church leader in charge. In attempt to help him understand, I finally did come clean about why I was leaving. Unfortunately, the church leader was, at the time, very fond of the man harassing me and gave me quite the scolding, implying that it was my own sinful attitude that made me dislike the man's treatment of me. Not long after that, the same church leader emailed me to ask if we planned on leaving the church, altogether (hint, hint). All because I would rather not sing on stage anymore. Imagine my conflict. My gut KNEW the climate on stage (and back stage) was was unhealthy for me and that I needed to get out of it. Yet someone I'd been conditioned from birth to see as God's mouthpiece was telling me I was "in sin" because I dared to dislike working with his buddy. I cried and struggled with this for a good year, because part of me was resigned to believe I must be in the wrong; "in sin" if the pastor said I was. Yet I could not force myself to stay in the situation.
When I look back on this trial, I'm less disappointed in the church leader than I am in myself, for not honoring my own truth at the first scolding, but instead, second guessing my own motives over and over again in a torturous circle of self blame that never quite rang true in my heart. But most of all, I'm angry that we are all conditioned from infancy to believe that someone else always knows best. The truth is that looking back, this situation was only one of many in my life, in which I assumed my gut feelings to be wrong because they didn't align with what I was hearing from the "experts" outside of myself. I'm sad for all of us who have never been told of our sovereignty, who have had our truth suppressed forcefully or have just kept it hidden in the shadows, knowing it would be deemed unacceptable.
Today, I am so very thankful for the way in which the divine has gently led me to a place of honoring my own truth and recognizing my own sovereignty. Yes, I still at times default to seeking validation from outside, or for apologizing for things I have no business being sorry for, simply because someone else wanted me to act differently. But I'm driving outside of those ruts more and more often now, and I'm not as easily sucked back into them as I used to be. I am learning that nobody can drive MY vehicle as well as I can and that to give someone else my keys is always to my detriment.
One of the biggest tools I have to support me in this has been training myself to listen within. I do not watch or read the news. I no longer engage in social media debates. I do not listen to sermons or read self-help books. I will not hire a "life coach". Instead, I meditate. I ask for divine guidance and when I feel I have arrived at an understanding of something, I ask for confirmation from outside sources. Not direction or instruction from outside sources, only confirmation.
In January of this year, I had a vivid vision that made a very strong impression on me. At the time, I didn't understand what it was about. By March, it made perfect sense. It was about the virus. This vision has been the cornerstone of my beliefs in regard to the virus and outside information that has come into my experience through different avenues has served only to confirm what was spoken to me from the divine. Had I looked outside of myself for the truth of the matter, I'd be like a ship tossed to and fro by all of the conflicting information coming from the TV news, social media and the personal stories of those around me.
What was the vision? Well, like Stevie Nicks, I keep my visions to myself. It's not that it's a secret. I've told a few people. The thing is, I don't EVER want to be "that person". You know the one. It's that person who says things like, "God told me that you should... (fill in the blank)". That is NOT the way God talks to you, Dear One! The divine speaks to each in his or her own language. In ways that are unique to your style of hearing, Spirit will lovingly guide you.
The question is whether you will hear or not. Have you willingly handed over your keys? Is somebody else allowed to steer your vehicle? Can you even hear the calm and ever-so-patient voice of loving guidance or is the shouting voice of Fear turned up nice and loud every evening at 6 o'clock? Or would you be willing to follow what the Spirit inside whispers to you if it did not agree with the voice of one you have in the past respected? Or someone you have been conditioned to see as wiser than yourself?
I want to leave you with a visual. Imagine me dressed up like Rob Schneider's character in "The Waterboy". He's a little beat up looking, and he doesn't appear to always have his own act together, but throughout the film, he yells out his encouragement to Adam Sandler's character, saying, "You can do it!" I'm THAT guy. I am here to tell you, you can do it! You can know your truth. It comes from deep inside, not outside of yourself. The outside voices can be used as confirmation, but never need you look to them for direction. You CAN stand in your authority! You are a sovereign being with a direct line to the Divine, no translators required. All that is required is to ask and to then surround yourself in enough stillness to be able to hear.
Again, I say, "You can do it!!"