I wanted to talk about clarity this week and how hard is it sometimes to find clarity in the muddy mess of life and emotions. How hard it is to find clear vision in turmoil. Who here has a life experience of making an emotional decision that probably wouldn’t have been your choice if you had been thinking clearly?
I wanted to talk about the tools one can use to find clarity in the mud. How do you find clarity? We can use prayer, connecting to God, Jesus. As we saw in the Children’s Moment, there are as many ways to connect to Grace as there are unique individuals. We can ask for help from our family or friends who can see more clearly with a little more distance.
Then I did some researching. I always like to get other viewpoints and insight for my reflections. I came away with this. Often in the Biblical Journeys, the person has no idea what’s happening or where they are going. How does one find clarity in that? There IS no clarity. They just keep moving forward with…faith. And trust. Trusting that, when they can’t see, that God has a plan.
Of course, the biggest example of absolute faith is Jesus’s Journey to the Cross. After Jesus, one could argue that no one suffers more in the Bible than Job. Yet in his suffering he cries out in faith:
At this, Job stood up and tore his cloak, shaved his head, And threw himself prostrate on the ground, saying: “Naked I came from the womb, and naked I shall return whence I came. The LORD gives and the LORD takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” 1:20-21
Clarity. Sometimes we seek clarity for control and answers. It’s often a lack of faith (and fear) that makes us want to maintain control. We want to know the RIGHT thing to do or say. The RIGHT path. Sometimes, especially, when there are no answers. Why, then, are we seeking clarity? Maybe for answers, security, safety? So we don’t make mistakes? So we don’t create messes? Sometimes there are no answers.
Life is messy. Messy is unclear. That’s life and that’s where Faith comes in. But we don’t have to make it worse, by deliberately sinking into chaos and staying there, and worse, making decisions from there.
Clarity is what helps us to get out of the mess as much as possible, using the tools we have at hand (prayer, quiet, counsel, etc), so that we are not deliberately blind and crashing into a downward spiral of questionable decision after questionable decision. Making things worse. Or giving up. In the name of Trusting God. Blind faith, when it doesn’t have to be blind.
We seek a balance. Clarity, not simply blind faith. Faith, trust that you’ve done the work to make the best decision supported by God.
It’s a journey, this life is. There’s no right or wrong answers, but there is truth. With truth, we cultivate clarity to do the self work, do the good work, work to become the best version of ourselves, and seek a clear mind and life. What is the quote?: God helps those who helps themselves.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
God helps those who help themselves (interesting aside: on Wikipedia, in 2000 poll, 75% of teenagers think this is the central message of the Bible. It’s not IN the Bible. Oral traditions are alive and well.).
Therin is the balance. Surrender to God, but do the work too.
Here’s the tricksy part. That truth. Thou shalt not bear false witness, in other words, thou shalt not lie, unless it cause harm, but we’re not going to digress. Suffice to say: don’t lie. Even to ourselves. Finding clarity. Lies are muddy. Are we doing our best, even as we surrender to God? Are we seeking to find the best answers, path, truth, etc. on this earthly plane?
Do the work. Find clarity. Use the gifts we’ve been offered: prayer, friendship, counsel, sanctuary, nature, etc. to find clarity. And Faith. Surrender to God the outcome. Do not be attached to outcomes, that falls prey to control and fear (and we understand fear; we admire Job, but we surely don’t want to experience what he experienced). Do your best from the clearest vantage point you can cultivate and then leave the rest to God.
Be mindful of “I did this. I did that”. There is never an “I” alone. That’s akin to control. A lack of faith. A false sense of one’s own control and power. There is never an “I” alone. A past that helped us grow. A community that taught us lessons. And a grander plan we just might not understand.
Look Down. Embodiment comes with dust and ash and mud; don’t get stuck or be blinded by it. Look Up. Our own divine spark comes with a clear vision if only we open our eyes, and our senses, to see in a different way. And Trust.
See clearly and Trust.