Mid Week Faith Lift
February 12, 2014
“Who Do You Think You Are?”
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
This is a question posed in the book, “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene` Brown, and it is a question that really resonated with me. It is a question I have been struggling with all my life, even though I was not aware of it until recently. It is a question that touches me deeply in those sore spots of shame and vulnerability that Brown addresses in her book. It does not sound like the material for a typical Unity talk, but nonetheless, it is what was in my face all week. It is very true that you don’t work on the Sunday talk, the talk works on you. Oh for joy! And thank you Amy for your wonderfully courageous talk last Sunday. You were an inspiration for me this week!
For some shame is triggered by the critical comment or action that implies, “not good enough” but for me, “Who do you think you are?” does the trick every time! UGH! It puts me right in that place of “unworthiness” feeling unloved, unaccepted and unwelcome. This question would not go away as I was working on the lesson this week! It was so familiar and not at all surprising that it should come up in a series on prosperity and spiritual economics. Yikes! Of course it does, because this statement or question triggers feelings and thoughts directly related to lack and lack consciousness! DUH!?!?
I heard this question as a child and adolescent from my parents, grandparents and other elders of the family tribe. I was the oldest child in an alcoholic family, in the role of “hero” which I willingly embraced. I was pushed and encouraged to excel academically because I was a good student and my family valued education. I began to receive recognition and rewards and praise for my achievements, all of which I really loved. But when I went outside the “box” of what was my family’s comfort zone, all of a sudden I would hear “Who do you think you are?” I could only aspire to the limits of my family’s vision and nothing beyond that. If I did, and asked for piano lessons or a chance to go to summer camp, even though we had the finances for it, then “ZAP!” I heard the question, “Who do you think you are?” And I had no answer, not then….and I had no idea how much that question haunted me, until now!”
We are on Chapters 3 & 4 of Butterworth’s book, Visualization and Believing. In this journey to mature spiritually and expand and grow in consciousness, it is an Ah Ha moment when we realize that when we live from the inside out we can realize our heart’s desires and wildest dreams. We tend to think from our limited human perspective, “Seeing is believing.” The reality is “Believing is seeing” even from a biological perspective. What you see is determined by who you are, even from the vantage point of your physical eyes. There was a study of leaders who were in a circle, tossing a ball in a specific pattern and concentrating on following the pattern. At one point, a person in a gorilla costume runs through the circle and none of the participants “saw” this! It is a kind of “selective blindness” and none of them could believe it until they saw the tape. We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are!
In our path of spiritual awakening and our growth in consciousness, we gain greater clarity and awareness about the filters we are using. So frequently in life, when we experience upsets in our finances, our relationships, our work life and our health, we want to move immediately to an action step….to “set things right!” Butterworth reminds us that our mission is not to set it right, but to “see it right!” We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are. And then we don’t see our worth and value, our belonging and our meaningful contribution that is being called forth in every challenging opportunity. Nothing “out there” will change until you change the way you see it!
Butterworth quotes an early 20th century metaphysician, Thomas Troward: “ Having seen and felt the end, you have willed the means to the realization of that end,” whether you are consciously aware of it or not! That is a pretty scary thought…. So what is the antidote to this “who do you think you are?” or whatever deeply buried phrase that keeps out-picturing lack and limitation in your life?
Butterworth suggests that we begin to see ourselves through spiritual eyes, the way God sees us. The word eye is from the Hebrew “ayin” which means fountain. He suggests that we begin seeing ourselves as emanations of God, created from the same energy that is God, that is continuously flowing to us and through us. Jesus instructs us “Do not judge by appearances, but with the right use of judgment. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells us “Seek first the Kingdom of God and it’s righteousness, and all else will be added unto you.” We are not told to go after the trophy house or spouse or perfect body or perfect job. No, Jesus says to seek to know who you really are first, seek to dwell in that God consciousness that you are, and then all else will be added unto you!
In our Wed. class, we are studying Janet Conner’s book, The Lotus and the Lily and this week we had to state what we wanted our new year, 2014 to be! I found this somewhat intimidating, but what came to me immediately was “Continual Surprises!” And then because that scared me, I added, “Continual Delightful Surprises!” That has been a real struggle for me, to actually claim something really good without first doing a lot of work, suffering to earn it, or somehow deserve it! It was that claim that actually brought up my “thought worm” of who do you think you are? I had no idea that I carried that deeply buried filter until I claimed something positive for myself! WOW!
How did this play out in real time…..well on our trip to Florida, we wanted to spend the first day, a sunny day on Bonita Beach! Along with about 500 or so other folks from Minnesota, Illinois, NY and all of Quebec, Canada! Parking was at a premium and we were at the last spot of public access parking for the beach. We had driven around the loop several times and Todd was saying we should just give up and do something else. But I was in the space of “delightful surprises” and affirming that God did not bring me all the way to Florida to just drive around looking for parking! I was seeing myself as open to delightful surprises, and just then I spotted a man walking to the lot with his beach chair in hand. I asked him where he was parked, and if I could have his spot! And next thing you know, we are on the beach!
Now, this was not about affirming a parking spot, it was about a change in consciousness and how it allowed me to see things differently! If I had been focused on lack, all I would be seeing is the full parking lot and no space for me! I would not have even seen this man leaving with his chair. When our focus is on the infinite possibilities of God, then we truly see it right! Todd commented that this “Prayer thing is really working for you….keep going!” I want to close with a quote from Mark Twain, which I read this week in the newsletter from Plymouth UCC and David Ruhe’s sermon: Twain has a saying quoted from time to time in the political sphere, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that ain’t so”
So I ask you again, “Who do you think you are?” It is a question Myrtle Fillmore struggled with, and when she found the answer, “I am a child of God,” she was healed. This is our spiritual journey, do continually discover our true spiritual nature and our infinite worth and value to and in Spirit. It is just like our song this morning….Love is my decision, and when I decide to change my mind, God will show me how! That is the believing part…..letting God show us how when we cannot yet see! May this be the change in your heart….may you see it right!
Love and blessings on the path,