The first sentence is always the hardest to write just as the first steps towards God the most tentative and shaky.Years ago, as a curious spiritual seeker pondering the possible existence of a Supreme Being one thought consistently stuck with me. Not that I understood it at the time, or now for that matter, but the thought that God is a river brought me great comfort. I had no problem visualizing myself as a lazy leaf going with the flow. I did not anticipate rapids, water falls or dry spells, I was young enough and naive enough to just want to float.
Fast forward a few years as my spirituality continues to evolve but my health habits could use refining. I had a Dr. Pepper habit that was not serving me. But, how amazing is God that He can use everything for our growth even an abundance of sugary drinks?! I had settled in to the second silent hour in my massage room and as my clients muscles began to melt my mind turned once again to God. Pondering how to really serve humanity and turning this thought over and over in my mind I was interrupted by a "still small internal Voice" I now recognize as the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit: "be the straw"
Holy Spirit "I am the Dr. Pepper, your client is thirsty: Be the straw"
I know, confusing, right? Ok, then let's fast forward again about 20 years to, um yesterday.
Opening Quiet, my yoga studio, in order to serve others in their spiritual growth is such a privilege and honor. I had focused so much on the build out and the students and clients that slowly over the last three weeks my meditation, asana practice and prayer life dwindled from a steady stream to a trickle. Elementary stuff, if you wanna lead people in yoga do yoga. if you wanna lead them in prayer then pray! Elementary but not that easy to remember in the thick of it. So, when once again when that still small voice interrupted my thoughts yesterday I was grateful, startled and humbled.
Holy Spirit "Your straw is clogged"
God then gently led me through the lesson that in order to flow I not only have to give, that one I got years ago. But also I need to keep my "straw" clear of debris. Spiritual debris comes in the form of anxiety and fear. But it also comes in the form of never ending busyness. It comes in many forms. In order to flow we must be open at both ends of the straw and in the middle.Gratefully receiving all of Gods Spirit and fearlessly giving it all back keeps the ends open, but we also must be clear in the middle. When we allow a state of sin (separation from God) to fester eventually our straw gets clogged. So while feeling anxious or fearful or being busy is not a sin in itself leaving these states unaddressed leads to clogged straws which truly is a sin. I use the term sin in a nonjudgmental manner, it is not necessarily about our actions but about our attitudes and at times ALL of us have attitudes that separate us from God's Presence. Whatever we allow to separate us from Gods loving presence is our sin, is our clog in our straw.
One more fast forward, to this present moment. I no longer see myself as floating in God (although we all probably are) but I see God as a river of cool clear water flowing through us. So in order to serve God, others and our own growth it is crucial to nip sin in the bud as it develops in our thoughts otherwise it can clog up our straw. Lately I have noticed that the thoughts about sin are often more painful and cause more separation from God than any actual action. So, here it is...to be a free flowing straw we must keep our minds calm like a still lake that is capable of reflecting God. We will experience rapids in our lives (such as opening a business) but none the less our minds must remain focused on God and not on the swirling waters rapidly rising all around us. So we can float or swim or take a deep dive under but no matter our situation remain aware of your thoughts and keep your straw free flowing. You never know when someone will need refreshing. And it truly is in offering up that drink to others that our own thirst is quenched.