Friday, January 12, 2007

Carnival of Hope & My cup runneth over defined

Yay! It's second Friday and Carnival of Hope is up again over at Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good. Please go and read the heart warming and encouraging stories Susan has collected from around the blogosphere.

Second in my thoughts this morning is something my sitemeter is showing me. Like many of you I like to know who visits my page, what they look at and maybe why. So I am glad when site meter shows me the search keywords that get a hit whether the person visits or not. For a while now I've been seeing the words, "my cup runneth over" several times a week. I wrote those words in my second post when talking about my faith coming to completion. Sometimes they are looking for a definition. If that is what people are searching for then I'm wondering if my story explained clearly enough to give them an answer.

If you have a bible in the King James translation then you may have read those words in the famous and timeless 23rd Psalm where David talks about how God has taken care of all his needs and honored him in front of his enemies. Enemies aren't something I'd care to have and don't like to think about, so I try to tell myself that I don't have any. But if growing up with poor self esteem means that your parents and teachers didn't help you see the worth in you, a basic right of every person, then perhaps enemy can have other definitions than terrorist or opposing gang member.

When I found my faith completing, the Holy Spirit entered my heart. All ideas that the bible is someone's inspired writing aside, the act of receiving the Holy Spirit is real and in experiencing it you can know your faith complete and that God does indeed love you beyond all reason. Perhaps that, more than being made king, was what David was talking about. The fact that a poor shepherd boy, who was the youngest and least respected among the sons in his family, was made king and that God had spoken to him in a very special way surely made his heart glow with joy and I'm sure that it did a lot for his self esteem.

Can you prove that you've received the Holy Spirit? No! It's even hard to describe, which is why the phrases in the bible don't tell the whole story. It's talked about in Psalms, in Isaiah and in the New Testament when Jesus receives it. How can you explain that the God of all creation, whom no two people have ever seen in the same way, came, talked to you, and made your heart whole by filing you with something you can't see and touch? The writers of the bible are so good at this and even they couldn't do the job that everyone would like to have done, prove that there is a God and that he cares. That's one of the reasons faith is so important. Faith is the trigger to receiving the Holy Spirit. It wasn't till after I believed that I received it, but it happened the minute I did.

So getting back to my original subject, what does "my cup runneth over" mean? Well, to me it means that I suddenly felt loved by someone with no reservation. God loves me no matter what I have done or how imperfect I am. In fact, in his eyes, I'm not imperfect but exactly the way he made me and he is happy with how I turned out. The love of God was part of the receiving and when it started pouring into my heart I got filled up. But it kept on coming in. God's love kept pouring into my heart till I had no idea what to do with the excess. So I reached out to others. There were two women sitting on either side of me. I grabbed their hands and the love I was receiving passed on to them. Later, they both told me they knew what was happening to me the minute I reached out for their hands. So God's love passes on to others from our actions after we are overfilled.

To me the important thing was that, when I felt loved enough to know that I had worth to someone, I was able to share that love and love others in the way that you can't do unless you first know love of self. Learning that lesson over and over again will be a lifelong endeavor. It is easier to tell than to do. Old lessons die hard, even with God's voice ringing in your ears telling you otherwise. Fortunately, God is more faithful than we are. My cup runneth over!


jsd said...

It struck me that sometimes when a person doesn't feel love(d) by others - one can come to this place by sharing the love they have for others anyways. This implies that you believe that what one "sends outward" attracts the same "energy" back to one's self. Also, I think by filling yourself with love to give to others instills that very sense of well-being one may be looking for in one's self.

If my thoughts seem confusing then, I think the Prayer of St. Francis summarizes my thoughts best.

Lee said...

Thanks JSD! I like the Prayer of St. Francis too so I am pasting it below.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

I think King David went to the well of unconditional love he received from God many times. I know I do it from time to time and the more often I do the better I feel. Sometimes it seems that God takes me there when I forget to go. (g)

Everyone has to feel loved unconditionally at some point in their lives by someone or we wouldn't have any understanding of what that kind of love is. For me the people who did that first were my maternal grandparents. It was a wonderful legacy. I wish I had held on to more of that love as I struggled with seeing value in myself. If I had I think I'd be better at loving others than I am.

If my thoughts don't sync with your meaning I apologize. I'm coming to a circle image and feel that every circle has to start somewhere. But then I slip over to the idea of God starting the circle and he has no it starts getting so far away from what I understand well that I get lost myself.

Peace, Hope and Joy!

Susan Palwick said...

Thanks for the link, Lee!

I love the Prayer of St. Francis.

Also, God's unconditional love for David means even more when we think about the fact that David wasn't exactly a saint.

Lee said...

You're Welcome, Susan!

Amen to the idea of David not being a saint. Of the stories about people in the OT his is one of my favorites. Reading his psalms, which tell so clearly about his struggle with his own imperfections and weaknesses, always moves me. Still, I love the ones where he rejoices and reminds me of where his faith and strength come from best.