This year we will be exploring what it means to live an "integrated life." Webster defines integrate as, "to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole." Therefore, an integrated life is one that coordinates or blends all its parts (even that which we would label as "bad, ugly or unwanted"' into a functioning or unified whole.
Unification, blending, and coordination is the work of God. Our job is to consent to His presence, love, and healing. If left to our own devices, we attempt to control, compartmentalize, deny or hide the less desirable parts of our life story. It is in being open and receptive to the love and work of the Spirit that we find wholeness and integration in the storyline of our life.
The storyline in which we find our integrated selves is one that, to paraphrase Thomas Merton, is wrapped up in the vivid realization of our connection with the vastness of a loving God. When we live from a place that is open and receptive to this loving connection, we slowly shed our beliefs of scarcity, control, and compartmentalization. We're so programmed to believe that we have to hide, deny and control that we simply gloss over as unattainable or unrealistic the truth that Jesus prays for each one of us; " that they (you and me) may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us...The glory which You have given Me I have given to them... I in them and You in Me...so that the world may know that You...loved them, even as You have loved Me" (John 17:21-23)
The reality is that we are already connected to the vastness and love which is God. He is constantly desiring that we are receptive and that we open our hearts, minds, and will to this truth. The more we affirm this truth, even in the messy realities of our life, the more we will live an integrated life. In the business of our days, if we pause, breathe and remind ourselves that we are lovingly held in the vastness of God, we slowly loosen our grip on the things we are trying to control, manage or hide. We begin to recognize that we no longer need to run the show, but can simply play our part by being open and receptive to the bigger love story that God is weaving through our lives and the lives of those around us.
Reflect this week:
Do I believe I'm already connected to the vastness and love which is God? How can I begin to be open and receptive to that Truth?
By Babs May-Clark