UNITY OF VANCOUVER
 3814 FRANKLIN ST. VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON 98660 360-696-0996

Making Friends with Challenges
 Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
 October 17, 2021

 All Rights Reserved

 


  MEDITATION


 
In this time of prayer, we say to our physical minds: Peace be still. Peace, be still. Quiet thoughts are preparing the way and a quiet light glows within you. This God light is growing brighter and brighter. The light and love of God is surrounding you and indwelling you. The love of God permeates your being. The quietness and healing power of God flows through you now. Consent to a higher mind and a higher way of thinking.

Lift your mind and body up into God during this prayer time. Silently pray by saying,

 “God, I feel your sweet gentleness. I do not strive or want for anything. I simply consent and enter into that consciousness of faith demonstrated by Jesus Christ and allow your transforming power to come through me as he did. I call forth Your divine grace to bypass my human thinking; to overcome any fears and anxieties that may arise. I call forth Your action in and through my physical body. Your grace is manifested in me now. "Through the Grace of God, I am forgiven and healed." In one mind with Christ Jesus, I rest in the silence of prayer and accept the grace of God as part of my life.”

How serene and at one with God we feel in times of prayer. As we close this prayer time, we prepare to open a brand-new day and a new level of consciousness inside of us. In Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.


MAKING FRIENDS WITH CHALLENGES

Experts say the average person spends 1/5 of their life talking. A book with a single-days words would have 50 pages in it. A years’ worth of words would fill 91 books with 200 pages each! What would your book of words say about you? How many words are spoken in anger or complaint each day? How many words are spoken in love, cultivating friendship and praise?

Experts also say that when we look at people, we size them up in the first 7 seconds and will likely hold on to that judgment for the rest of our days. Our initial judgment often blinds us from seeing who a person really is. Yul Brenner once said, "You were born alone. You live alone. You will die alone. Therefore, any friendship that contributes to your life, consider a gift." Friends are precious jewels and like precious jewels we sometimes have to look deep to find them. But it’s worth it because we all want two things: We want to love more, and we want to be loved more.

A question for us this morning is: Are we missing opportunities to love and be loved because we are blinded by our own judgments about each other? Can people and situations we perceive as enemies really be turned into friends?

The answer is: Yes!

In his book, “A Daily Guide To Spiritual Living,” Jim Rosemergy gives an inspirational thought or story to help guide every day. This one applies to today’s topic.

"We are never upset with the creations of God. We can find no fault with an image that Spirit has created. If there is animosity, the feeling is directed toward something we have created. We have formed a concept or belief about another person that is inconsistent with the Truth of his or her being. We have been told not to judge by appearances. Let us heed this call, for it is naturally a part of the inner journey. Remember the woman caught in the act of adultery who was brought before Jesus? When Jesus looked at the sobbing form huddled at His feet, what did He see? Was it a prostitute? Did he see a worthless human being? No. Jesus saw the image of God--the Christ within the woman.

One of the young nuns of Mother Teresa's order told her that she had been attending the Christ throughout the day. If you had been at the young woman's side, you would have seen that she had bathed and nurtured a dying beggar. Yet, the nun did not judge by appearances. When asked about this, Mother Teresa said, “The beggar was the Christ in one of His disguises.” Each of us is the Christ in disguise, for we are all made in God's image. To love is to behold the Christ, as did the young nun. When this vision is ours, the process of forgiveness is complete, for we have seen the Truth of being."


Mark 11:25 says, "When you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any." If we aren’t getting answers to our prayers, something is out of alignment (wrong) because God is willing to answer our prayers. That something is inside of us. Spiritual power like divine love or wisdom can’t pass through an ego/personality where resentment exists. Get rid of all ill-will towards others, grudges, hate, negativity, and spiritual energy won’t have anything to get hung up on or blocked by. As Irving Berlin said, "Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it.”

The things that most disturb us are our greatest opportunities for growth. No matter what challenge we face in life or healing need, you can’t heal what you hate. Jesus said it this way, “Whatsoever you bind in Heaven will be bound in Heaven and whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound on earth.” Hate binds us to the problem with bands like steel because hate is seeing an absence of God. Substitute the words I resist, or I resist God, in any sentence in which you use the expression I hate.
 
Love is another word for Oneness or God. Until you begin to love and see God as everywhere present, a situation can’t be changed. God is changeless. We are the ones who must change and that begins with changing our perception. This is what Jesus was saying when he told his disciples to “Cast their nets from the other side of their boat to catch fish.

To make friends with challenges and move through challenges and to solve them, I cannot hate, resist, or condemn them. I must love them by seeing God in me and everything and everywhere.
This is the inner transformation that opens the door to the solution. I don’t have to like what I’m going through or say, “This is fun.” But I do have to know God is there and intends it only for good. When I do, “It comes to pass.” God energy begins to freely flow from Divine Mind through my ego mind. Divine Love flows through my heart and all hearts involved to bring about the greatest good for all.

In the Sermon of the Mount, Jesus said, "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." We don’t normally think lovingly about somebody or something that’s hurting us--but Jesus knew that if we didn't learn to love, then we could never have the doors of Power open and change the conditions of our lives.

We've all felt persecuted, challenged, or trapped by someone or something at one time or another and not known what to do about it. I can relate to ZIGGY in a recent comic. He has just seen a psychiatrist and is leaving. The psychiatrist is talking to his nurse and says, "You know, he has a strange combination of guilt and paranoia. He thinks someone is out to get him, but he also thinks he deserves it." Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like something was wrong with your consciousness and that you had it coming? Have you ever felt that a challenge was just the arrival of some well-deserved bad karma?

1. know that as a Truth student that a situation can be changed. We are never STUCK with any challenger, condition, or situation. We have a Power with and within us to transform that condition "for us" that will set us free.


2. When facing a challenge, know that there is something that you ‘need to do,' and that something you need to do is to call on the Power of love. Emmet Fox said, "There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer. There is no disease that enough love will not heal. It makes no difference how hopeless may be the outlook. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all."

3. Change happens by: 1. deciding to see it differently, through eyes of love; 2. speaking about it differently not only 'out loud', but in here (point to head.) In his book Christian Healing, Charles Fillmore, Co-founder of Unity said, "Certain words used persistently mold and transform conditions in mind, body and affairs. The word 'love' overcomes hate, resistance, opposition, anger, jealousy, and all states of consciousness where there is mental and physical friction, which is caused by resistance. Resistance is caused when we put up an opposition. When Divine Love enters into man's thought process every cell is balanced and divine order rules the molecules of the body."

Initially when we’re faced with a challenge we don't feel like making friends with it. Our first human impulse is to resist. If we persist in resisting, we begin to question God’s Wisdom and Will asking, "Why is this happening ‘to me’? "Why am I in this situation?" The minute we do this we slip into victim gear.

In victim consciousness we put the power outside of ourselves. Somebody or something out there is doing this to me and separate from God. We judge ourselves powerless and say, "This is just the way it is." We accept something outside ourselves as the final authority and say "OK" to limitation. We give someone or something power over us. So, when tempted to say, "Why me?" realize “I cannot change anything that I hate. I cannot bring about healing until I change my thoughts” and stop the cycle of limiting thoughts. Stopping a thought is a power we all have. We all have the power to stop thinking of ourselves as victims. We all have the power to change the direction of our thoughts from negative and destructive to positive and constructive. In fact, the only true power we have in life is over the thoughts we hold in our own minds. Once we stop thinking we’re victims we can begin to think about how to make friends with this challenge.

You make friends with challenges just like you make friends with a person.

When you make a friend the first thing you do is get acquainted and involved. with them. Stop resisting and choose to get involved by asking: "What is going on here?" Look beyond the outer appearance and ask, “What kind of thought processes are going on within me? Do I see myself as victim or a victor?” If I am in victim consciousness, I think things happen to me and I can't do anything about it. When you get acquainted with your thoughts about the situation you can begin to make thought changes to eliminate resistance and activate and release the power within you.

You are a child of God, an individualized expression of God. You have all the power of God within you but if you don’t use it, then it won’t work for you. You have to use it because God works ‘through you.’ Affirm: God works through me not for me.

Myrtle Fillmore found a way to activate the power of God within her. She made friends with her health challenge and as she examined her thoughts about her health and body, she found one of the things she had to do was to forgive. She said, “Forgiveness is an act of loving yourself enough to give up that which is creating within you a limiting condition and creating around you a negative or undesirable response or reaction to the conditions of your world." In her book “HOW I FOUND HEALTH,” Myrtle said, "I went to all the life centers in my body and spoke words of truth to them, words of strength and power. I asked their forgiveness for the foolish, ignorant course I had pursed in the past when I had condemned them and called them weak, inefficient & diseased.”

This is what she did. This is what brought about the healing in her mind and body. The Unity Movement is a result of what Myrtle experienced. She said, "I did not become discouraged at their being slow to wake up, but kept right on, both silently and aloud, declaring the words of Truth until the organs responded."

Myrtle Fillmore had lived her life believing and investing the living energy of her thoughts, in ideas of ill-heath and weakness. She was upset and angry with her body. She was frustrated with her family because she believed she had inherited this disease. When she figured out that what she had been doing wrong was accepting error judgments and living as if they were the absolute Truth, she changed her thoughts about God, herself, her family, and the situation. She changed her thoughts about everything by putting a realization of God into everything. She began affirming “I am a child of God, and I did not inherit sickness.” She began to know Truth, speak Truth, and practice Truth.

A friend moved from unsuccessful ministry to unsuccessful ministry. She said that every time she did, she had the feeling that she needed to go home. Finally, she realized that she had a lot of issues with her family about things that had occurred when she was growing up. So, one day, she sat down and began forgiving herself for holding unforgiving thoughts for all those years. She forgave her family for all the thoughts that she felt they were holding about her. She began to think and say, "Now, I'm going to send only love, not because they deserve it, but because I deserve it, because I need the healing activity of love in my life.” She said, “As I started to pour out love to my family, I heard an actual popping noise released from my heart, like a cork released from a bottle so the contents can flow out.” When she went home. Everyone was glad to see her.

Send divine love into the situation and feel divine love harmonizing, dissolving, healing, eliminating and establish a whole new consciousness inside of you. The condition will respond. Myrtle Fillmore said that it took two years of doing this to undo the results of over 30 years of error thinking and acting but she was completely healed. It works or Unity wouldn’t be here. Do this and you take dominion over your world.

If you don't feel strong enough, call upon the Presence and Power of God within you to help you. God is your help in every need, small or large. Even Dennis the Menace knows this! In a recent cartoon, Dennis is watering the lawn and his friend Joey says, "What's happening Dennis? Dennis says, "I'm trying to make a mud puddle." Joey looks up and says, "Oh, no, it's starting to rain." Dennis says, "I guess the old saying is true." Joey says, "What old saying?" Dennis says, "God helps those who help themselves."

When you call upon God, you may not want to make a mud puddle. You may want to get out of one. But no matter what the situation, God is the power.

God helps us when we learn to help ourselves by making friends with our challenges and realizing that they are opportunities to call out a greater power of Love.

 
 
What do you think? 
 Click here to share your thoughts about this lesson.
 
© Unity of Vancouver, 2004 All Rights Reserved.