Falling and Holding

Where do these things come from? Why do they plague us so? I have a fair amount of them in my life right now, and not for the first time. Life seems to be an endless cycle of reaching for the prize, only to come up short.
My dear brother, Vern, has recommended to me over the last month or so 2 books which have revitalized my walk. “Falling Upward” by Richard Rohr and now “Holding on Loosely” by Pablo Giacopelli have met me at a place much as “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge did almost a decade ago.
How often have we heard the words “let go and let God” or similar platitudes that encourage us to accept that God is in charge. These words seem to fly in the face of our take charge culture. Especially for me, in the Type A, driven military culture, these words are words I can accept as intellectually true, but down deep they feel like a cop-out. Professionally, I have been trained to plan in detail and in multiple layers, to anticipate many alternate courses of action, because mission failure is not an option. Do or die is deeply ingrained in my psyche.
And yet, we, as warriors, have studied the art of warfare, and there are few who have not found themselves at their best when practicing a conscious or unconscious form of Mushin no Shin. From Wikipedia: “Mushin (無心; Japanese mushin; English translation “no mind”) is a mental state into which very highly trained martial artists are said to enter during combat. They also practice this mental state during everyday activities. The term is shortened from mushin no shin (無心の心), a Zen expression meaning the mind without mind and is also referred to as the state of “no-mindness”. That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything. For the origin of the mushin concept, see Muga-mushin. It is somewhat analogous to flow experienced by artists deeply in a creative process.”
Mushin is the state of mind I believe Pablo is describing as being “in the Zone” for an athlete. The Christian equivalent is being Christ-minded. We are to “be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind[s]” (Rom. 12:2) and to “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). If our conscious mind is full of self-doubt, worry, vexation, anger, resentment, etc then we have a very hard time hearing the “still, small voice” of the Spirit. I believe this is why God so often lets us Fall Upward. If we do not fall, we do not stop and listen. It is when we are broken, at the bottom, at the end of our rope, in circumstances completely beyond our control that we finally stop striving and just listen. These are valuable moments, and should be treasured.

I believe I am finally coming to see what Paul really meant when he said to “pray without ceasing”. It is to walk, daily, hourly, minutely, with a mindfulness of who you are in Christ. I love this canticle from the Northumbria Community, which says much the same thing:

This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.

You cannot have Christ in you in this way without a mindfulness about who you are in Him. The really neat thing is, you will fail. And, when you fail in this mindfulness, He won’t mind. Because, as you come back to Him one more time with your stinking pile of crap, He will welcome you with His open arms. That eternal love is the original Gospel; that is the Gift. He died to purchase you back. His love does not fade nor fail, but is there despite His ability to see EVERY SINGLE FAILURE you will have from now until you die.
There are as many ways to get there from where you are as there are individuals. There is no one-size fits all method. There is no substitute for going to the Father, one on one, and developing that individual relationship. There is nothing you can do to speed up that process either, except to stop kicking against the goad and let Him bring the lessons to you, as you are ready for them.

God is a gentleman. He won’t force His way on you. But, He will let you fail on your own, as often and as hard as is necessary. And then, such a wonderful, beautiful thing He will make of it all….


About cptcaveman

An Army Major, my family and I are in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. We enjoy photography, cooking, reading and outdoor sports like hunting, fishing and trapping.
This entry was posted in Books and media, Spiritual life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Falling and Holding

  1. Greg says:

    thank you for letting me see what it means to fall upward through your heart & your story, shoulder to shoulder, sword to sword

  2. Judy Thomas says:

    Enjoyed reading the truthfulness of your blog. I am reading Pablo’s book as well. Letting go sounds so easy, but it goes against the grain of my fleshly self. It must be a constant conscious decision to surrender. Admit we can NOT but he can in us.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Blessings to you!

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