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A struggle up or an open meadow

Well, here we are again; we've broken through to the foothills of another new year. The dark days and any shadows, in the valleys of 2022, are past, so to speak. But now we have a new climb ahead, to mount the peak of 2023. Anticipation of what may come can inspire, as can the entity of trepidation attempt to discourage us.

So what is the task for today? Like each new day, it is to reflect on what's gone before and find the strength and good we can. Then savour and nurture the life of it and build forward with what we've learned. These are the foothills, the stepping stools of yesterday, which can give us a leg up at the start of this fledgling year. If your 2022 year was fraught with disappointment, well then, you have the option of casting off the past and starting fresh.

Problem one: Some, while viewing this as a climb, may nervously think of the effort as a long hard struggle 'uphill all the way.'

Others may see a parallel to the growth of good exercise and therefore consider the work as a tool for gain. No doubt, as a climb, the latter is a more positive, potentially helpful point of view. Still, there are inherent oppositions to overcome; barriers, pitfalls and the constant process of dodging that which seems determined to roll downhill. All this to master what the new year holds. Oh, what a potentially stress induced experience!

Many get overwhelmed, feeling they must be able to master all this from the start, becoming frozen because of the perceived volume of it all. Yet, most challenges are spaced out, strewn along the length of the year, and, being separate challenges, are not accumulative in their stress. Ironically, they may also work to expand our awareness, strengthening us and preparing us for what may come after. If one can grasp this nugget of truth, we can see this is what we all face at the beginning of any new endeavour. The vantage point of now, or even of our past, does not always prepare us to see the gifts God has planted. He, in His grace, has placed respites along the way, springs in our wilderness experiences to aid us.

“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape [a way through], that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor 2:13 ESV and “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10 ASV.

So, if we open up to God, He will guarantee success, as we follow along His purposes.

Problem two: The most prevalent influence in the physical world is the persistence of gravity. It's on everything! It adds the weight in everyday things. Our fettered emotional approaches in life mirror gravity's affects. Both are unseen, acting like a spider's web of strings attached to every moment, every relationship and goal we are entangled in. Each time we attempt to move anything forward, the string-cheese of resistance, attempts to drain our energy, to keep us where we are. This comes from a long history of being knocked down and then cooperating with it. This is when we begin to live under it, rationalizing the cooperation so it will seem like foresight and wisdom. Most people like this attempt to convince others to look at life the same way because 'misery loves company.' If one only sees the opposition, they will see some of what's there, yet not see what is good. While listening for any real wisdom from these people, we must be careful not to adopt their negative attitude. Staying down is the disgruntled premature decision to stop learning new things.

I would advocate another way, a gentler way, and in this, I include my Christian brothers and sisters too.

Understanding Spiritual life governs Soulical (Psychological) life, which in turn governs our choices and actions in everyday physical experience, one must resign themselves to working in the spiritual part of life to gain success.

Yet there is a bent to humanity, stimulating it to attempt to govern the spiritual as well. This is a 'Mis-takes' on reality. Things like: proclamation of goals; guided meditation; and mantra-like repetition, in what is called daily affirmation, are asserted as if they are all spiritual work. Yet, IN FACT, they are all soulical works, meant to teach domination of our psychology, in order, through that, to rule our physical lives. You know, mind over matter and so on, type things.

While a measure of this has its place to balance life, in the sense of self control, and so security for some, there is such a thing as going too far in positive attitude.

This mis-take is based on the conceit we are the 'be all and end all' for what our lives become. The flaw here is, any of this is only as good as the place these ideas come from. Where they come from provides the influence for reality, not us.

Like in Acts 17:28, where it says, “and He gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are. "We are his children," just as some of your poets have said." CEV.

In addition, in Heb. 1:3 it says, “The Son [Jesus] is the radiance of God's glory [reality] and the exact representation [expression] of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” NIV.

Our role is in cooperating with Him, at best, or not getting in His way, at the least. This is the ongoing operation of Believing.

For clarity, if an idea is our own, or even comes from a group focus no persistent assertion of an idea will change things, in any permanent way, not in a true sense. Of course, for a while, it may remove conflict among people, but the same thing can lock groups in persistent stagnation with no real benefit to life.

The point being, God governs the spiritual, and accordingly all other measures of reality. Consequently, in our ambition and naivety, we inevitably find ourselves in opposition to God, his good plans and functional order of things. Even as Christians, though we carry God in the human form of Jesus Christ within us now, we still stumble in our efforts to live a self-determined life. That's the feeling of the uphill struggle. Maybe there's a meadow for you this year.

The question; is self-determination really the goal, in the way most approach it, or do we even properly understand what self-determined means, in a spiritual sense?

The dynamic sets up like this; God is ultimately and intimately what is best, in that He alone is aware of all things. His emanation keeps all things together.

“For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” 1 Cor. 16-17 KJV

Without Jesus as our heart, we grope and feel our way through life, attempting to navigate a labyrinth of considerations without proper perception. It is impossible, by our own efforts because we are not meant for, not designed for this.

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!" Romans 11:33 ASV

Yet, this does not mean He will not share His wisdom and guide us if we will open up (believe) and trust Him. So, among our enjoyment and progress of everyday life, we are designed to flow as an influence from Him to the lives around us. This finds itself in being there for others, like being the shoulder to cry on or the one to laugh with, the other set of hands on the couch when someone is moving, or giving the extra few bucks when someone needs. Better yet, if we take them out for a bite to eat they can put the money they would have spent on this food toward their need. This empowers them to be able.

Ultimately, this coming year is not just a climb alone. Can it be we've always been in this together? Just remember, God has plateaus, teaming with life to enjoy, for us to find along the way.

Have a great 2023,

and happy seasoning!

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