Renewal of your mind
There is an exchange in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: `Cheshire Puss,’ Alice began, rather timidly, `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ `That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat. `I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice. `Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat. `–so long as I get somewhere,’ Alice added as an explanation. `Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.’
It’s rather strange! For most of my adult life I was an active and prolific goal-setter. I set goals across all aspects of my life – health, family, business/career spiritual, finances, fun and recreation, social and personal development. In the past, I used this story about Alice to encourage young salespeople to set written goals in life. If we dream about where we want to go, but don’t have a map to get there, then just as Alice travelled in Wonderland, we could finish up anywhere! I preached that a dream is a wish that your heart makes; a goal is a dream with a deadline and the difference between a goal and a dream is the written word.
My, how things changed!
When I started to write a fortnightly column for The Catholic Leader, I did what I had always done, set a goal and wrote a plan of action for the first 26 topics. All went well for the first column, but when it came to column two, my mind went blank. Crazy! So, I prayed. Creative inspiration showed up and I raced to write it, even though what I wrote was not related to my planned topic.
A fortnight later, the same thing happened again. Completely blank! Again, I prayed and again an idea came to heart – nothing to do with my planned article; I went with it and the words flowed. With that I tore up my 26-topic plan and goal sheet. After all, it was my plan, not God’s. It is said that if you want to give God a laugh, tell him your plans!
Since that time, I no longer plan what I write. I adapted a prayer of Saint Thomas Aquinas, adding my own words and before I write I pray. The Holy Spirit inspires my heart with words that come to me. I surrender to what I love, trusting that I wholeheartedly serve God best in doing God’s will. And so, I write without doing. I simply allow ideas to come through me and onto the page. It’s not something I work at or struggle with – I simply let go and let God, accepting as truth the promise of Jesus that the Holy Spirit will give me the words I am to write. I write what is strongest within me – a divinely inspired action, a work of faith, an active response to the loving, clear call of the Spirit. The Spirit instructs, leads, and uses me. Everything I write shows up in its allotted time and with it comes all the energy, enthusiasm, and passion I need to allow it to happen. The Spirit comes through – every time!
These two incidents led me to ask the Spirit to guide me to discern my commitment to goal setting, to question why an approach that had previously been so successful through my life seemed to no longer be effective. The resulting discovery blew me away!
The Spirit revealed that, unlike Alice in Wonderland, I knew exactly where I was going. No road map was needed. In this second half of life I am changed, through the grace of God – the old is gone, the new is here. My approach to life now is spiritual. I am no longer trying to get someplace else. I am already in a place of peace. I have achieved a higher level of consciousness by being connected to God and enjoying every single day, living in the present moment, the now. Goal setting no longer matters very much to me.
In his book, Prism of Love: God’s Colours in Everyday Life, Fr Daniel O’Leary wrote: “Into every life, the wise ones say, comes one shining moment. It is a moment of glory … when our essence is disclosed to us, when we discover … who we really are. It is a highly personal ‘moment of truth.’”
St Paul, the wise Apostle, says, Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God… [Romans 12:2].
Do you trust in the Holy Spirit to guide you to your destination?
Have a golden day and treasure life!