Are all of our decisions in life based on loving considerations?
Yours might be, but I must admit that mine are not. Not all of my decisions are based on or informed by love. Not by a long shot. Perhaps they are in part, but other information is always considered. First. It’s as if when love whispers its advice, it comes as more of an after-thought. And as if my mind is already made up, so please don’t confuse me with more advice.
Here’s a case in point.
My wife had a major colon surgery to remove cancer just less than six weeks ago. She’s feeling some better and we wanted to travel out to Colorado for a couple weeks upon her recovery since we didn’t get to do so this summer. In fact we were set to leave this week, while the Fall Aspen colors were still ablaze. All decisions were made; plans set. She wanted to go. I wanted to go. We each liked the idea of what, where, when, who and why. We had talked ourselves into it. We were all set to go.
Until this morning when we talked ourselves out of it. And did a cancel Colorado.
Such is the nature of our human self-talk sometimes. Yours too?
As I write in my book, “Love’s Resurrection: its power to roll away fear’s heaviest stone,” love comes to mind whenever my mind listens to my soul. The indwelling Holy Spirit maintains a constant whisper. And it is always the most wise, rational, and obviously loving portion of my self-talk.
When love informs me with these soul to mind whispers, I receive four kinds of advice. Kinds I’m not always open to considering, or applying.
Let me try and describe why.
First, owing to my mind-body connection, my initial self-talk comes out of my body’s own senses. You know. I say what I see, what I hear, what I smell, taste and touch. Includes a full-bodied blow from today's social media and beyond. My body's indwelling advice to my mind centers around its own comforts, wants, desires, and fears. My soul’s indwelling advice to my mind centers around, well, pretty much none of the above.
So this first internal dialogue, some prefer to call it, involves my body to mind self-talk, and quite often my mind’s initial decision is based on that information. I’ve already talked myself into taking the trip to Colorado, for example. Why? Because I. Want. Pleasure. Great internal dialogue!! We both agree, body and mind. Or child and parent, as I typically describe it.
But thanks be to God, our Creator, I’m always blessed with an alternative or “second chance” at self-talk. Just when my body thinks the internal dialogue is finished, we’re going to Colorado, might as well tell all the friends and family, my mind hears as with a sixth sense this constant whisper blowing in like the wind. It’s my soul. It’s saying something about love. Offering a very different kind of advice. Four kinds, as I suggested above. Four words, in fact.
“We.” That’s the first word of spiritual advice informing this decision.
But what happened to my body’s (child) advice about “I?”
Thanks for asking, child. Ask and you shall receive. My soul’s answer is always the same: love is created for use whenever there’s a “we” and not just an “I.” I like. We love. That’s the difference.
“Need.” That’s the second word of spiritual advice informing this decision.
But what happened to what I “wanted?”
Thanks for asking, child. Ask and you shall receive. My soul’s answer is always the same: love is created for use whenever there’s a “need” and not just a “want.” I like what I want. We love what we need. That’s the difference.
“Help.” That’s the third word of spiritual advice informing this decision.
But what happened to my “pleasure?”
Thanks for asking, child. Ask and you shall receive. My soul’s answer is always the same: love is created for use whenever “we need help.” I like the pleasure I want. We love the help we need. That’s the difference.
Ahmmm!!! Now don’t tell me there’s more!!!!???
“Given.” That’s the fourth word of spiritual advice informing this decision.
But that’s not fair. What happened to the pleasure I wanted and almost received?
Now you’re not asking, child. You’re knocking. But knock and the door shall be opened for you. My soul’s answer is always the same: love is created for use whenever “we need help given.” I like receiving the pleasure I want. We love giving the help we need. That’s the difference.
So it’s okay for my body to receive pleasure that I want. But for me to love my own body, and my neighbor in the same way, my mind is always advised (uh, commanded) to behave differently (uh, repent) and “give help that we need.” Love is more. More than what happens when I receive pleasure I want. Love is what happens, what I decide, what I do when we give help we need. Liking is usually okay. But loving is always more powerful.
When love informs our decisions, then we are empowered. Even if that empowerment is what then talks us out of a trip to Colorado. A trip Sue and I wanted to receive for our pleasure. But one we needed each other's help to give up on.
And when We. Need. Help. Given? Then our loving decision means Sue and I both receive the pleasure each one of us wanted after all. And that, my friends, is another way of understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ.