In the Lion’s Den

Lion

The story of Daniel in the Lion’s den came to my mind today. It spoke to me about all the dangers, problems, sicknesses that we can experience in our lives. No one (at least not the unbelievers) believed that Daniel would survive the experience being thrown to the hungry lions. But we know how the story goes and how God protected Daniel in this time of crisis. God even made the lions calm so that Daniel’s fear could be lessened.

If Daniel was a real human, which I believe he was, he probably experienced some fear being in the cave seemingly unprotected and surrounded by a very real danger. Or maybe Daniel was one of those who was not so afraid because his trust in the Creator of life had grown so much over time, that he just knew that he would be brought through this valley of darkness?

I think Daniel knew in his heart, that what was with him was bigger and stronger than anything, and any situation. But I am not fan of presenting simple solutions to great problems, and I apologize if that is how you read this text. But hopefully these words can give some consolation and comfort to you whatever your life circumstances are.

I believe it takes quite some time, yes maybe years of experience, to develop the trust Daniel had. So if you (like me some times!) can not feel calm and can not stop worrying about your or some other people’s situation it can still be helpful to know that God is bigger than any situation and that somehow He will bring you through the dark times.

And while you are experiencing that darkness, pain, problem, sickness, suffering, like Daniel in the lion’s den and many before and after him, yes even Jesus in Gethsemane and on the cross, you can remind yourself that God is present there with you, and that one day (and maybe sooner than you think), God will light up your way and renew your joy!

I am not trying to say that if your in great pain and suffering that you can just believe and God will fix everything just like that. If you are experiencing a lot of pain and suffering in your life I also recommend that you reach out to someone that can listen to you, help you and be there with you. Often we need help from others, at times even also professional help. God has put other people there to be of help to you!

I believe that God can and will bring us through our suffering (and that we can even grow from it!), but often He asks us to be the ones helping and supporting other people in their difficult times. So ask yourself, who can I reach out to today?

If you somehow found this post interesting or helpful and would like to be notified when knew posts are out, you can send an email to sveinboerge@hotmail.com. Also feel free to comment here on the blog or send me feedback by email.

Be blessed!

The Desert of Loneliness

Loneliness is a like a desert

At times you realize that what you are experiencing and feeling inside is a deep loneliness, and with this, a feeling of sadness as well. It feels like you are disconnected from everyone and everything. You may realize that all your talking, reading, commenting, blogging et cetera is all about a desire to feel truly loved and connected.

What connects you to this loneliness can some times be a small comment from someone. Some times the comment is about something that you think should not have been a big of a deal. Maybe it is just a comment that makes you realize that you are not so admired as you like to be? Maybe this person is talking about someone else that means a lot to him or her, and you are smiling and at the same time you are experiencing your loneliness and sadness. Because, you want to be the one the other person is talking about, you want to be the one he or she is admiring (the most).

In the example mentioned above you may not realize in the exact moment you are listening to the comment what you are actually experiencing. But when the noise around you quiets down you may realize what your feelings are about.

I believe that to realize and know these feelings of loneliness and sadness are important. Even though they are painful they are something real that needs to be appreciated and dealt with for what it is.

But what is it, really? This loneliness that sometimes leads to drivenness and stress. Other times it makes us compulsive or aggressive. And still other times it just creates a deep and painful sadness.

I am not totally sure. But I believe in the importance of being embraced for who you are when you are a small child. If this embracing did not happen to the degree that you needed this could have created or at least deepened the loneliness.

I also believe this loneliness is part of us all. There is a good side to it, because it helps us to be creative and also to do a lot of good towards others. The loneliness makes us reach out to others. But there is also a dark side to it. That is when the loneliness becomes all there is and people find that their lives are not worth living.

I remember this song written by Mike Peters in The Alarm which goes “and put your loneliness in mine and rise”. I realize that since this is also sung, the feeling of loneliness is a common experience. And one thing we can do about it when we realize we are lonely, is to reach out to someone, because the other person may have the same experience. Together we are really stronger, when we are honest about our own lives.

Finally, there is also a story about a God that came to Earth and showed himself as Jesus Christ. He met a lot of lonely people on His path and showed them goodness, grace and forgiveness. He showed people at the time and now us when we are reading about Him, an all embracing and unconditional love.

I said that a lack of embracing in childhood could deepen the loneliness (and maybe this lack of embrace early on also hinders us from believing in, receiving and experiencing God’s embrace later?) but I also believe the loneliness is already there from the start, from the moment you open your eyes. That is because there is only One that can truly embrace us completely, the One that knows us better than ourselves, namely the Creator of all life. He has shown us and are still showing us His love through Jesus, the Christ and his creation. And what if God planted this loneliness in us so that we would long for his Spirit and the River within.

If you somehow by reading this realize that you are experiencing a loneliness that brings you a lot of pain. Please do not sit down in hiding, but reach out to someone that can and will listen to you. If you believe there is none, I have to disagree. There truly is someone out there you can talk to if you go looking. There is so much love in this world, and there is also love for you. So maybe now it is time to make that phonecall or send a message to someone? Even though I am also mentioning a God that loves us and embraces us, we often need other humans to help us realize we are loved, and we need other humans to love us!

If you are at a time in your life where you are experiencing contentment, love and connection, please do not keep this love to yourself! One of my heroes is Richard Rohr, a Fransiscan author, who also started the Center for Action and Contemplation in Alberquerque, New Mexico (the USA). We are not only called to contemplate and experience God’s love in our own lives and deepest selves, we are called to reach out to others. So, maybe now is the time for action? Who can you reach out to? Look around!

If you somehow found this post interesting or helpful and would like to be notified when knew posts are out, you can send an email to sveinboerge@hotmail.com. Also feel free to comment here on the blog or send me feedback by email.

Be blessed!

Growing Into Freedom

Sunset
I have a burning desire to know truth. Jesus Christ said that the truth would set us free. This tells us that knowing truth brings freedom. What is freedom like? How can we find this truth and this freedom?
              Freedom is an experience that brings joy, light and color into our lives. When you experience being trapped or shut down you are not experiencing freedom. Again, Christ came to point to truth. He even said that He was the truth, the life and the way. He also said to the people He met, “follow me”. As Richard Rohr also has pointed out in his books, Jesus didn’t focus on Him being someone to be praised or worshiped, but rather said, “follow me, take up your cross, deny yourself and follow me”.
             Jesus Christ proclaimed in the synagogue that He had come to set the captives free. The gospel is a lot about dying to self (the false self) and about freedom from our ego. A freedom I believe is something we can grow into. A dying to yourself, a dying from you own ego, is painful and creates suffering. But as someone wise started saying, “no pain, no gain!”. Or in Richard Rohr’s words (in his book “Falling Upward”), this is a “necessary suffering” and a prerequisite for growing into a deeper spiritual freedom and a closer relationship with God.
             We need to turn away from our own ego, our own selfcenteredness (the false self) and reach within to find the living water ever flowing from our innermost being. Also when we see our own (ego’s) sinfulness, we need to look to Jesus as many others before us (read Hebrews), and follow Him.
             Sometimes it’s the egos and sinfulness of others that brings us suffering and sadness, other times it is our own shadows and darkness that drags us down. Either way this may create a sorrow that may help us reach out and reach within for the Spirit of God. A Holy Spirit that even helps us when we don’t know what and how to pray. The Spirit that was promised to guide us by Christ Himself, and a Spirit that will help us grow into the knowledge of the truth. The Truth that has always been true. In Rohr’s words, “What is true, has always been true”.
             Again, growing can be painful. Yes, the Romans tells us that the whole creation groans and longs for redemption. The suffering that is part of the necessary suffering gives us new eyes so we can see and know truth. This seeing brings light to our soul. Jesus talked about this seeing that would bring light. Seeing brings light, light creates the experience of freedom. Sometimes you can literally see it in people’s eyes when they have grown into this freedom and joy.
             Paul talks about freedom in his letter to the churches in Galatia. He warns them about trusting in anything else than God’s grace. God’s grace is free, but before we are able to truly appreciate and receive God’s grace we may have to walk through valleys of darkness and suffering. But as we say in a Norwegian saying, “when you walking uphill, that is when life is going upwards”. It is this Rohr also talks about in his wise book “Falling Upward”. I think we can say with Rohr that we have to fall and experience our sin and lacking before we can really rise again.
            Be reminded again, that Christ came to bring truth and life, a truth that would set us free. This freedom that you can grow into brings joy, even amidst the continuation of some suffering throughout our lives (read about Paul and the torn in his flesh). A freedom that by the grace of God and by time brings forth all the fruits of the Spirit, that Paul speaks about, joy, peace, patience and more. What a freedom!
           Are you longing to grow with God, to grow into His freedom? Maybe you are experiencing a time of suffering? Trust in God’s grace and His Spirit within you, and know that He will guide you through the suffering. Eventually when your eyes are opened you will know Him and the Truth that will set you free!
                                                                                                                                                                              Recommendation: A book that I recommend and that has truly inspired me and helped me grow into freedom is Richard Rohr’s book, “Falling Upward”. So in a way this post could partly also be a kind of book review.

 

Not There Yet, but Close?

Forest

The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life! John 4,14b, NRSV

Grateful to the Creator leading me in the ways of ever deepening living in Spirit. Connecting to the Source of Life within is the greatest goal you can have. But also very often the most challenging.

Our minds are cluttered with thoughts and worries that only make us identify too much with our egos, instead of identifying with Christ living within. The Christ that wants to become our lives.

Rilke supposedly said, the only journey is the journey within. Since I believe God to be both transcendent and immanent, I would like to rephrase, the journey within is the deeper one. It is the journey we must take if we are to grow, in our second half of life (check out Rohr’s book, Falling Upwards).

So am I there yet? At times my experience is of a great energy and life flowing from my innermost. Other times my mind’s thinking and my feelings of fear and sorrow can be blockages to the flow. So, we must be patient and keep walking in the life that has been set ahead of us, a life filled with evergrowing richness and thankfulness.

Be blessed!

Finding Hidden Treasures (or Embracing Your Shadow)

big tree and blue sky

Growing up means, among other things, that we suppress and hide the things about ourselves that scare us or do not seem to be good enough, likeable or acceptable, for example to our parents, to other people of significance in our lives or to our social environment. This could for example be emotions like anger and joy or it could be our creativity. The things we suppress, hide and later forget so we often cannot see them in ourselves, create our shadow. These aspects are then easily projected unto others in our daily life.

It is helpful to notice what we admire, sometimes envy or even what irritates and angers us the most about other people or the world. Then we can, through reflection, contemplation and silence, find courage and wisdom to realize that what creates the admiration or even irritation is really something deeply buried within our own hearts.

Jesus talked about how easily we see faults in others instead of in ourselves (Matt. 7:5). How often do we not criticize others when instead we should have set aside some time for silence and contemplation.

It often takes years, yes even a lifetime, to fully embrace our shadow. But still, by realizing what we are actually doing when we are projecting our shadow (gifts, emotions, personality traits) upon others, we find a way to start. When we truly realize the need to look within we find a new beginning.

It is important not to think that shadow and evil are the same, because they truly are not. By actually finding and embracing our shadow we may find hidden treasures. What this process, often painfully, can do, is to lead us to greater acceptance, freedom and joy. Eventually we can let go of the hazzle it is to be critical of others when we more and more embrace our own shortcomings. At the same time we find new meaning and joy through rediscovering hidden gifts that were given to us at the beginning of our life journey.

Suggested reading: If you would like to learn more about shadow work reading books by Robert A. Johnson, like “Inner Gold” and “Owning Your Own Shadow” could be a place to start.

Feel free to leave comments below if you like to comment or discuss this topic.

Revised October 14th, 2018

New Beginnings

church-820339_1920

…He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds (Isaiah 53:5)

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the wounded healer and by His wounds we are healed. But what does that really mean?

In my Protestant Christian upbringing I grew up with the understanding of Jesus as paying the price for our sins and at times we were close to thinking of this as a transaction: Our sin, the blood of Jesus, we go free. I still accept and receive this as a truth. At the same time I think the typical protestant (evangelical) preaching about this can become very technical and may leave us void of any true and transformational experience.

Now my understanding of the suffering Christ has developed and deepened. Yes, he died for our sins. But at the same time he suffered and died to show us a way through our sin and suffering. This understanding has become an important and necessary step in my faith, and it’s about taking life and Jesus seriously.

Not only is Jesus the wounded healer (check out Henri Nouwen’s great book: The Wounded Healer), but he shows us how we can grow and walk through our own suffering, and even bring healing and forgiveness to this world through our own woundedness. By God’s grace we can all become wounded healers by following his example.

Jesus told his disciples to follow him. I believe that the Creator calls us to be and to become truly human by being honest and truthful when it comes to the experience of sin and suffering. Jesus and the cross invite us to accept suffering and “dying” as a an important way of healing in our lives.

Now I not only believe that Jesus saved us from sin and suffering, but also that he shows us a way to deal with the suffering that’s part of every human’s life. For example in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus in prayer shows us that he wanted to avoid suffering when asking the Father to take the suffering away. But at the same time he accepted the suffering and surrendered to the will of God. The surrender to God happened again at the cross, when Jesus in his final words before dying let go of his spirit.

One important thing Jesus shows us by his example is that we should not run away, deny or avoid suffering and pain that may be necessary in our lives, no matter how painful it is. He shows us a way to live with wounds, truth, acceptance and most importantly a way of surrender to the Creator amist the suffering.

He does not only show us a way in and through suffering, but also that by following this road of surrender we will find new life. Jesus rose from the dead! This means we can go through the valleys in our lives knowing and trusting that there is a way through that leads to new life and new beginnings. Again and again.

I am not so focused on heaven being a particular place after death. I believe the example of Jesus shows us how to live our lives now and how we also will experience breakthroughs and freedom many times throughout our lives. By accepting and growing through the suffering, we can bring healing to others through our example since then our lives point to the greatest example of them all, the example of Jesus.

UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS ARE TAKEN FROM THE HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, COPYRIGHT © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 BY HOLMAN BIBLE PUBLISHERS. USED BY PERMISSION. HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, HOLMAN CSB®, AND HCSB® ARE FEDERALLY REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF HOLMAN BIBLE PUBLISHERS.

 

 

 

 

The Gaze of God is Love!

God rays

I believe that the greatest truth that can be revealed to man is that he is God’s beloved! No matter who we are and where we are coming from His gaze upon us is love! This is a love that trancends our understanding, it is pure grace and a gift.

When I, as a young student, truly realized that the love described in 1.Corinthians 13 was a description of the nature of God I felt joy! Since then life has led me through bright days, but also dark valleys of suffering and pain, yes, even what some would call dark nights of the soul. But time and time again after growing through the pain I have been led back to God’s gaze, which is always a gaze of love.

Why not contemplate this in silence and rest today knowing that God’s gaze upon you is love and that you are His beloved?

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In Silence Love Speaks

Friendship in Silence

Just think about it: Why is silence in a way both difficult and attractive at the same time? We say that together with a true friend we don’t have to say anything. We can be together in silence and feel good about it, yes, even nourished.

Sometimes the only thing we really need is silence. Words can become a nuisance and a disturbance. We are often not in lack of words, but more often in lack of silence and rest.

In silence we may experience acceptance. And freedom. In silence we can just be, be human beings. Being in silence together with someone can be a road to truth, and our true identity. In silence together we can find rest…and peace.

Is it not so that in silence we can also find our innermost soul? And there we can find God, the Creator of the Universe, and also our true Friend.

Why do we so often escape or struggle with silence, and still we long for it? Could it be that we don’t truly  dare to believe in the Creator’s love for us? Could it also be that by escaping silence we escape “listening” to the true Word, and then we’re actually escaping the love we hunger for?

Do you hear His calling?

Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while  (Mark 6, 31a)

 

UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS ARE TAKEN FROM THE HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, COPYRIGHT © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 BY HOLMAN BIBLE PUBLISHERS. USED BY PERMISSION. HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, HOLMAN CSB®, AND HCSB® ARE FEDERALLY REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF HOLMAN BIBLE PUBLISHERS.

The Walk Already Prepared

Walking shoes

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10)

In earlier posts I have written quite a bit about surrender and I have meant to convey that a surrender to silence is also a surrender to God. Since God is something and someone beyond your thoughts and feelings, and someone spiritually living deep within you, a surrender to silence is a way to tune into and “listen” to the life of God in you.

It may sound so easy, but as many of you know, being silent is for most people very difficult. Not only is it difficult to actually sit down, stop doing anything and stop talking to become just quiet. It is also difficult to really experience true silence since our minds chatter non stop.

So, in order to tune into God’s life and the walk he has planned for us, we need to get serious about surrender and serious about silence. My opinion is that through an experience of non-action and silence outside and also within we may be able to connect to our deeper ground of being, which actually is God’s Spirit within us (or you might say, God’s image in us).

Through my novice experience surrender to complete silence is not so much about stopping your thoughts, something very few people are able to do for any significant time, but it is really more about how you deal with or live with your chattering mind. It is about truly accepting, but not dwelling on, the thoughts.

I actually believe Christians can learn something from mindfulness practitioners here, when it comes to how to tackle the monkey mind. One example is to acknowledge thoughts as they appear, but then visualize them as leaves floating away upon a creek, one bye one, then disappearing. I believe that by doing this until it almost becomes a routine, thoughts become less powerful and as a result the mind also becomes quieter.

This choice of silence is not a war on thoughts, but actually an acceptance of thoughts, and at the same time it is a choosing to give less power to them. If you want more information with a Christian perspective on how to become at peace with your thoughts and praying contemplatively you may read books by Thomas Keating (ex. The Way of Christian Contemplation).

Later I will write about a book I am now only mentioning. This is a book, that can be read no matter your spiritual or religious beliefs, that truly changed my life by altering the way I related to my mind. The book is called “The Unthethered Soul” and written by Michael A. Singer. More about this in a later post.

For now the message is: By choosing and practicing silence we may be able to connect deeper. By connecting deeper and getting in touch with the often very quiet or soft-speaking Spirit in our innermost being we will able to live from the inside out. We will be walking into the world coming from a different place so to speak, we become more and more able to walk a walk already divinely prepared. Our lives become a response to God’s life in us!

If you found that this blog post was somewhat inspiring and would like to be notified when further posts are out, please send your email address to: sveinboerge@hotmail.com and I will reply with an invitation link. Accepting the invitation involves registering for a WordPress account, but I hope you will not think of that as too much of an obstacle (maybe you will even discover other blogs that are worth following).

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

 

 

 

 

Surrender

Surrender

I surrender my mind

I surrender my feelings

I surrender my heart

I surrender to The Only One

 

I surrender my morning

I surrender my day

I surrender my night

I surrender to The One who gave me life

 

I surrender my thoughts

I surrender my sorrow, my joy

I surrender my innermost being

I surrender to The One living within

 

I surrender now

I surrender now

I surrender now

Now in silence

Let The River flow