What would you say to someone who offered you a deep peace of mind and heart, every day for the rest of your life, regardless of circumstances. You would still have problems, of course, but overall, your daily life would be one of peace and happiness. Of course, for my regular readers this is nothing new—but since we have recently begun talking more about the active, forward-moving aspect of living in love, I was to draw attention to a cycle that always seems to arise from that pursuit.
This cycle is a pretty fair description of most people’s daily struggle—or at least those in a similar place to me. It goes something like this:
- I live my life making personal effort for the things/values I hold precious. But I never quite seem to find them so…
- I fall back on a philosophy of giving up end results—to God or the universe or simply faith that things will work out how they’re supposed to. After that…
- I feel better for a while, but I’d be even better if I could solve a particular problem, change how someone feels about me, etc. So I… return to the top and start again.
Now I know you’re expecting me to tell you how to break the cycle, but to a certain extent, I think it’s a natural thing. Pretty much everything in human life moves in cycles. Most of the time, two steps forward and one step back is just how these learning processes go. It’s not necessarily something to worry about, but it always helps to be aware of our patterns.
However, I wouldn’t have chosen this topic if I didn’t have something to offer, and I think there’s a deeper point here that we often miss. But it doesn’t break the cycle so much as change it, and as with most of our big game-changers, it comes from scripture.
The apostle Paul had a lot of great hits, but one that changed my life more than almost any other is when he said (and I’m paraphrasing) that if you do the wrong thing, but your heart, your intention was good, then God will make it as if you had done the right thing. That promise absolutely blew my mind—to think that mere intention could go so far!
In the midst of our cycles, we tend to get caught up in thinking about results in one way or another. Either we’re concerned with achieving them, or we’re working to exclude them from our thoughts so that we might be more spiritual. Now, neither of those pursuits are wrong in themselves, but neither are really meant to be our focus.
Christians are not Taoists. We are called upon to pursue active change in ourselves and others, but we are also taught that the results are not ours, that the internal state is what matters. As humans, we are conditioned to look for rules everywhere, so we tend to look at these and see two rules: seek change and focus on the internal. But what we should be focused on is the singular goal of orienting our hearts toward God. Since doing this will naturally keep our minds on the internal and continually urge us to positive action. The cycle is natural, the important thing is to stay focused on the relationship, not the rules.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!
Dr. Alex Loyd