Recently I was belting out my favorite Christmas song, O Holy Night, and something struck me...words that I have probably sung a thousand times but never actually listened to.
‘Til he appeared and the soul felt it’s worth.’
This one little sentence is the perfect description of what I have finally figured out about Christ. I have grown up with a faith filled family. I have gone to religious school. I have dutifully attended various types of churches. I have volunteered to lead others. I have taught religion and helped others find their faith. I have read lots of books, attended tons of conferences, gone on many service trips. I have done the hard work to try to understand God from a very young age. But one thing that I have never been able to understand is the fact that if I have a loving, caring Father in heaven that controls each and every thing that happens to me, why does He allow pain in my life? Why is there so much darkness in the world? Why does He pick some to receive miracles and others to suffer? The world we live in tries its best to make sense of God and unfortunately I think sometimes we create rules that are more about control than about any kind of true faith.
God works out really well in these systems if things are going great. But in my life, as I’m sure in yours, I have had times when things went terribly wrong. I have experienced my brother being killed in a terrible, tragic way. Our family never found justice for his murder and yet I have had to intentionally invite forgiveness into my heart for someone who has no remorse. Wrestling that anger and replacing it with love has been my greatest accomplishment to date. I have wept from the loss of children I cared for, bringing them back to life one difficult night at a time for 2 years, finally convincing them that there is true unconditional love and that they can trust an adult to protect them. Then being forced to hand them over to a house of violence, drugs, and poverty because the system changed and foster parents have no rights. I have suffered physical and emotional pain from the roller coaster of infertility, spending all of our life savings only to be told there were no more options. I have been stricken with panic from knowing that I have multiple sclerosis, an incurable, debilitating disease that could go south at any moment wondering if tomorrow I could wake up and lose my legs. These are just some of the big things that have happened to me. My life has certainly felt like one life lesson after another. Not to mention the things I see my family and friends endure. Seeing really good people go through really bad things is heartbreaking and scary and makes me feel disconnected from the God that I have been taught about my entire life. None of us are immune from hardship, trauma, or struggle. What happens to our faith in these moments?
But here’s what I have come to know even through the really terrible and dark times- there is a God, a source of light and love that exists fully and completely. I know that there are so many things that I will probably never fully understand about the way things work. But I refuse to believe that God does not have my best intention at heart and so I am left with the task of resolving this in my head. I know that there are many others who have been through much more significant difficulties than I have experienced. But people have asked me many times how I continue to be positive when I experience hardship. And this sentence…this tiny phrase is the exact reason I can continue to have faith.
I remember who I am. I remember my soul’s worth.
I believe that Christ understood the laws of the universe. He understood that we would never truly feel the unconditional love that God has for us unless we understand that this physical life is not all that there is. He is our savior, our rescuer, because he left all that is comfortable and showed us the absolute power we would have if we simply remembered who we truly are and lived in a way where we placed our energy and focus on the love from which we came. Jesus said to us consistently that we would never get to the Father, the goodness and truth that is our reality, until we saw life the way it is truly meant to be. And not only saw life this way but recognized our own role we personally play in the spiritual world. Ultimately, He showed us that death is not real and that a much greater existence is our reality if we would only have faith and believe. His job was to help us remember our soul and know that we are a child of the most powerful source of light and love that we could ever imagine.
This definition of God can be worshiped by different people in different ways. This Source, as I like to call Him, is focused on love and connection not rules or traditions or rituals. We get caught up in these things because it makes us feel safe. It convinces us that we have God figured out and are protected by His shield. But we are here on this earth to travel down many paths. We are here to build relationships and love in a way that only humans can do. We are here to experience every emotion that there is to be felt because we can handle it- we can handle it all. We are made of the most powerful energy possible and we will return to that energy when our work here is finished. We have forgotten who we truly are. We have forgotten our connection to the divine. We look around and think that the circumstances of our life are the determining factor for everything. We take all that happens to us so personally…as if it is connected to whether we have been good or bad, whether we are loved or left. And truthfully this is the God that has been presented to many of us throughout our lives so why wouldn’t we feel this way? But thankfully I have been given the gift of faith and insight that helps me understand that this life and the things that happen are only a way to understand and experience and feel human connection. I understand that no matter what happens on this earth, this does not disrupt my connection with the spiritual world. I don’t take life’s events personally because I know that death is not true and pain is only a fleeting experience that can help me learn more about who I am. I understand that struggle gives me the opportunity to connect with others and give of myself and lead with love ultimately in times when things can seem unbearable.
I wonder what the world would look like if we recognized our soul’s worth?
If my soul knew it’s worth, I would know that nothing can happen in this life that will break me. If my soul knew it’s worth, I would live as if an army of angels are traveling with me and the universe has my back. If my soul knew it’s worth, I would be able to let go of the really tough things that happen and not take everything that goes against my wishes as personal.
If my soul knew it’s worth, I would live without fear. I would love without worry. I would embrace everything life had to offer because I know, deep down in my gut, that nothing is going to ever happen that I cannot handle because I am more than the sum of what this earth has to offer. I would know that I am connected to every single thing on this planet as well as a Source of love and light and energy that is capable of amazing things. I wouldn’t judge others who don’t look like me or act like me because I would recognize they are on their own journey and it is going to be very different than mine. I would enjoy the things that life has to offer. I would expect the positive and I would see the good.
Knowing my soul’s worth is remembering who I am.
There is magic in the Christmas season. I think this is because this is a time when we make room for believing in things we cannot always see, but feel in our hearts. This season, take even just a few moments to remember who you are and from which you came. Give yourself permission to let go of the fact that you don’t fully understand. Remember the power in the fact that you are a child of light, a child of God. Feel your worthiness deep down in your soul and share this light and love with those that cross your path.