Divine wisdom shepherds me, peace, abundance, love, a time of turmoil, the valley of the shadow of death, comfort, psalm 23, psalms 23, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, green pastures, still waters,

Peace, abundance and love in a time of turmoil

I took a moment today to reread one of my posts from ten years ago: The Lord is my shepherd. It was a collection of thoughts about Psalm 23 and what it means to feel safe in the presence of God.

For these last ten years, I’ve come to understand that our English Bible translation uses “the Lord” as the standard translation wherever the original used YHWH. I’ve distanced myself from the idea of God being a man sitting Santa-like on his sky-throne.

Somehow distant and looking down on us all – rather than Spirit and in each and every one of us. Over these past 22 months, I realise that what has kept me going strong is the Divine presence of inner peace, abundance, and compassion, despite living in a time of turmoil.

So, today I want to share my thoughts on what it means to allow the Infinite to flow through us as Divine Wisdom, peace and love, taking thoughts and ideas from Psalm 23.

Divine Wisdom shepherds me

One of the things about sheep and shepherds is that the sheep get used to the shepherd because the shepherd lives with them twenty-four hours a day. They recognise the shepherd by the sound of their voice and the scent.

And so, as I learn to live in the presence of the Divine, I learn to listen to that still, small voice of Divine Wisdom. It’s often hushed, although occasionally, I get a brutal shake or prod!

Shepherding is about being led, surrendering to the path of Divine Will, rather than what my ego would have me do. And when I listen and surrender, I recognise that I have everything I need.

Divine Wisdom shepherds me, I have everything I need, abundance, peace, love, compassion, Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want

Everything I need: all the time I could possibly need to get things done, all the love and affection that my heart desires, and all the resources that I need at this moment.

In fact, when I sit with my God Box, which I made at the beginning of this year, I am in awe! All the worries and concerns that I put in my God Box were taken care of. All of them. Not a single one of those worries came to pass this year! I took all those things that were beyond my control and simply said, “you handle this for now, and when I’m ready, gently place it on my plate to take care of”.

Resting in the presence of the Divine

Most of us remember that the shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures; there’s a lushness to this imagery. In addition to having our fill – an all you can eat banquet – do you experience the softness and gentleness of lying down and resting?

How have you rested in 2021?

Are you resting gently and deeply, or do you stay up at night with worries?

To quote my previous post on Psalm 23:

“We have found both ┬áprovender and peace, rest and refreshment, serenity and satisfaction.”

In addition to surrendering to rest and relaxation, we are offered our fill of living water – to be cleansed, refreshed and revitalised.

Can you allow the Infinite to flow through you?

I rest gently and deeply, drinking my fill of living water in safety, relaxation and rest, security, feeling safe, a safe place to be, He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters

My soul is restored and renewed

I wear myself out trying to do it all from my own strength and under my own steam. I forget – regularly – to allow Divine Presence to flow through me and empower me. But, as I let it, my soul and spirit are restored and renewed.

All I have to do is step away from staying business – holding and grasping desperately to doing it all myself.

When I’m doing it all alone, it’s empty and incomplete. My ego’s happy – for a while until it falls and fails. Then it throws a tantrum when I realise that I am not perfect and complete unless I am open to the presence of the Divine.

I am complete when I am One with Spirit. But when I allow myself to be guided by Divine Wisdom, I find myself facing anything and everything. The path takes me back to wholeness.

But it is a soft allowing and opening up. It is surrender and trusting, which I still find challenging.

How are you allowing the Divine Creator to complete you?

My soul is restored, as I am guided by Divine Wisdom along paths of wholeness, I am made complete., He restoreth my soul, He renews my soul, He guides me along paths of righteousness, for His name's sake, I am whole and complete, nothing is lacking in me, Psalm 23

A time of turmoil in the world

Walking through the valley of the shadow of death

These two years have felt like a walk through the valley of the shadow of death. The foreboding of “it’s out there” could be terrifying, and yet I have discovered this fantastic, deep well within me of inner peace. One that genuinely has surpassed all my understanding.

I know, without a doubt, that we are walking through this valley. That means that there is a light at the end: there will be a moment when we are no longer under the shadow of death.

But I feel an intense peace and calm within me. I haven’t feared for myself or those I love in these two years of uncertainty. I have felt deeply protected and shielded despite all the turmoil.

Some of the changes have been harrowing – as an introvert with a slightly extroverted child, I cannot begin to explain the challenges of two years of home-schooling while working from home. And yet, this too shall pass.

And every time she says that these have been the best two years of her life, I am blown away. In my mind, I have focused on my shortcomings rather than how resilient we have both been!

Even when the path I am on is hard, and it seems that there is a shadow of death hanging over me, I walk calmly, with courage, fearing no harm, I live in the presence of the Divine even here, I feel protected and shielded, I am pulled to safety, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no ill, I fear no evil, for Thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me, Psalm 23

We have been abundantly protected and shielded. We’ve grown and changed with the changing times.

And in so many ways, I have been miraculously comforted and found safety.

Making time for self-care

Despite the challenges of these times – the enemies that surround us – Divine Wisdom reminds me to take time out. To sit quietly and eat calmly. To enjoy the food before me.

These past two years have been about re-encountering a relationship with gratitude and pausing, especially around food. I’ve made more time cooking and sitting down to eat, with grace before meals, rather than eating on the run.

And what I’ve realised is that this has a very practical application in our digestive system: as we switch over from “fight & flight mode” to “rest and digest”. It’s a crucial physiological distinction. Divine Wisdom reminds me regularly: stop what you’re doing and just eat. It’s okay to take time for nourishing your body without multi-tasking.

I am also reminded that I have a purpose and calling – and that does not require multi-tasking either! It’s becoming more single-minded about “the one thing” and focusing my energy and attention on what I am called to be and do.

The more I follow this, I count my many blessings! My cup indeed does run over!

Divine Wisdom reminds me to make time for self-care, even in the face of life's challenges, I am blessed, protected & empowered, I have a special calling and purpose, I count my blessings and am content, Psalm 23, Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies, Thou anointest my head with oil, My cup runneth over

Guided by Divine Wisdom, with goodness & mercy watching my back

Who has your back?

We’re promised that both goodness and mercy will follow us wherever we go. Mercy sweeps along behind me, forgiving my mistakes and weaknesses, allowing me to forgive myself.

Can I let go of the guilt and shame that I’ve carried and allow it to be swept away by goodness and mercy?

The final part of Psalm 23 reminds us that we dwell forever with Divine Presence, finally reaching that place of complete Oneness with Spirit.

Goodness and mercy follow me wherever I go, my faithful companions on this journey of life, I will allow the Infinite to flow through me until I am one with Spirit, Psalm 23, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever,

I belong. I am loved and cherished, with an everlasting love.

This is what it means for Divine Wisdom to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.

Will you allow the Infinite to flow through you until you are One with Spirit?

blind trust, communication, Compassion, competency, consistency, consistent, dependability, distrust, emotional and spiritual healing, Faith, family, Forgiveness, God, hope, learning and personal development, life, living in the Spirit, love, reliability, self-awareness for personal growth, spiritual abuse, Spiritual Growth, spiritual healing, spiritually mature, trust, truth

Trust, distrust and blind trust: rebuilding faith and hope

Over recent weeks, in my healing journey, I have been examining my relationship with trust. It first came to my attention when I looked at my business decisions, especially mistakes that I have made over the past 20 years. But, in recent days, I noticed a pattern emerge.

The beauty of recognising patterns of behaviour is that it opens the door for change and transformation. What I’ve noticed is a swinging pendulum in my life between distrust and blind trust. This pattern has cost me thousands of dollars, as well as relationships and creating heartbreak.

It is in seeing my actions and omissions accurately that the doors open.

The truth sets us free.

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free, John 8:32

Let me provide you with some concrete examples: 

  1. In my early business days, I hired a friend to run one of my companies. Because I was overwhelmed and swamped with the growth in business and hiring new staff, I failed to supervise her properly. She was struggling in getting everything done, and I wasn’t available to support her. I didn’t ask how things were going, instead choosing to focus exclusively on my own overwhelm. Unfortunately, while she was getting the client work done, she wasn’t invoicing the client for it! By the time I realised the mess in accounts receivable and payable, the client had accrued some $40,000.00 in services they hadn’t paid for. Thankfully, the client eventually paid all outstanding invoices. But it took years to get fully up to date, and I bore the financial brunt of being caught between suppliers and financing a client. When I’m overwhelmed, I shut down, dissociate from the present, and turn to blind trust. 
  2. In March 2009, I left on holiday for three weeks to New Zealand. I chose the dates based on the weather (end of summer) and flight costs (cheaper because summer holidays were over and it wasn’t yet Easter). I was overwhelmed and exhausted after restructuring staff following the 2008 markets crash. Unfortunately, March 31st is the end of tax season – which meant that my company tax returns were prepared and presented in my absence. The company accountant and external accountants included a refundable expense in “income”, an extra $54,000 in ghost income! As a result, my income tax bill that year was $27,000.00 when it should have been less than $9,000.00. But, you prepay taxes for the next year, based on the estimates of what you paid the previous year! So, not only was I hit with the current tax bill, but my estimated taxes for the next year were identical, giving me a tax credit for years to come. My blind trust created a substantial financial pinch. 

I could provide you with many more examples in my professional life where I have distrusted, micro-managed and controlled every aspect of an employee’s performance, to those moments where I am overwhelmed and shut down, leading to no involvement or supervision at all.

Definitions

definition of trust, Oxford Languages, firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something
definition of Trust

Trust = firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something

distrust, feeling that someone or something cannot be relied upon, doubt the honest or reliability of, regard with suspicion, definitions from Oxford Languages
definition of Distrust

Distrust = the feeling that someone or something cannot be relied upon.

Blind faith or blind trust: “unquestioning belief in something, even when it’s unreasonable or wrong”. I take it to mean “trust in spite of evidence to the contrary” or blindly ignoring evidence that perhaps they are undeserving of your complete trust.

trauma, state of mind, overwhelmed, shut down, freeze, dissociation, present moment, avoidance, blind faith, trust, firm belief, distrust

How trauma informs our state of mind

Unfortunately, this pattern is not something I learned as an adult, and I’ve been using this pattern since early childhood. When I get overwhelmed, the easiest solution is to shut down and freeze, and this takes me into dissociation from the present moment and avoidance. In these cases, blind faith and trust in others become the only option, and I can’t trust myself. 

Hypervigilance at the other end of the pendulum presents itself as distrust, micro-managing every situation as I attempt to control the outcome. Of course, this is exhausting, making me angry (an emotion that I was taught not to acknowledge as a child) and frustrated. To avoid anger, I would rebound into dissociation and shut down.  

I never learned how to stay in the middle: in balance, calm and being alert. I struggle on so many levels with trust, and this shows up in my life on every level: 

  • personal 
  • interpersonal 
  • professional 
  • spiritual 

I could choose to sit in victimhood: “this is how I am, because of my childhood“. But I choose not to. I started to look at my patterns as generative learning – an opportunity to grow and change. And I share these learnings with you, because I want you to recognise that you have options and choices available to you.

As I have begun to experience inner peace, the wisdom of trust has become available.  

The human experiences that break trust, building distrust

Years ago, I denied being traumatised at boarding school because I wasn’t regularly beaten and abused. Anger and speaking up would earn you a beating, being labelled a Jezebel, or having a rebellious spirit.

I avoided beatings by being “a good girl”, knowing when to shut my mouth and swallowing any anger I felt. The survival skills I learned were to shut down, dissociate, and walk away. Unfortunately, those skills are not very resourceful and helpful in my life anymore.

There are many moments that I wish I were rebellious, angry & unruly. How I wish I had been the wild child that baulked the system and stood up against injustices, daring to question unfair authority. Instead, I chose the safety and security of apathy, withdrawal and indifference.
Unfortunately, as an adult, I still struggle with dealing with my anger, boundaries and injustice. As a lawyer, it’s easy to stand up for others. But I shrink instead of standing up for myself. I avoid confrontations of a personal nature, even when they would clear the air.

Through it all, I am entrenched in my independence. Of course, as I know now – hyper-independence is merely a symptom of trauma: unable to ask for help because I can’t trust others. Can I even trust myself?

Taught to obey Church leaders without question:

We had verses drummed into us, which in themselves were not wrong. But was the interpretation of these verses rightly applied?

Obey your leaders and submit to them, Hebrews, Romans, Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God

Under no circumstances were we, children, to question those in authority because they were “appointed by God”. And if God wanted to remove them for wrongdoing, then it was merely our duty to “pray about it” rather than to do anything.

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment, Romans, Titus,

Even the hymns we sang reminded us that we were to “Trust and Obey” rather than stand up for ourselves or others. Helplessness was ingrained, and anything that was not as it “should be” was “God’s will”, and we were to endure it.

Biblical teachings: the human heart

But that wasn’t the only weapon in the arsenal of submission. In reading the below verses, repeatedly we heard: “The heart is deceitful above all things”. Divine Justice prevailing, to each according to their ways, patterns and actions received little mention. Instead, beatings were justified because our hearts were deceitful.

Those in power were above all of that.

The heart is deceitful above all things, devious & incurably sick.  But I - the Eternal One - probe the innermost heart & the innermost thoughts. I compensate & repay justly - how they really are, not how they pretend to be - to each according to their ways, patterns & actions, Jeremiah 17: 9-10

How can I trust myself if I believe that my heart is deceitful? What relationship or trust can I build with others if they are devious and incurably sick in their hearts?

If you question what I am telling you, you lack faith. Instead, you should “pray about it” and “trust God” to solve this for you.

If the prevalent attitude about human nature is one of sin and depravity, then there is no trust.

Maureen Murdock, “The Heroine’s Journey”

Divide and conquer has worked for centuries, both within the church and politics, and it’s as quickly at work today as it always has been. Even today, we hear who to distrust and then expected to place blind trust in authority.

But blind faith means that you have no ownership of your spiritual path or will. It relieves you of responsibility, creating victimhood. And victims are powerless, easy to manipulate.

I am so grateful for learning a new way: what it means to have a healthy trust.

trust, blind trust, distrust, integrity, benevolence, ability, competence, character, caring, credibility, reliability, intimacy, self-orientation, communication, compassion, caring, consistency, competency,
Trust

Trusting Divine Presence, trusting myself & trusting others

As much as I would like to say that my journey back to trust began with trusting Divine Presence in my life, that’s not the truth of my journey. My transformation started with an exploration of self-awareness for personal growth, and spiritual healing occurred after learning and personal development.

The first step back to trust was:

Know thyself.

In noticing my patterns of distrust and blind trust, I could explore what healthy trust means. Emotional and spiritual healing have come together as I worked with forgiveness of myself and others.

My trust in the Divine grows as I let go of my need to micro-manage and control every tiny detail. And in living in the Spirit, I trust my insight and intuition to build relationships with others.

What does it mean to trust me, others and Divine Presence?

Divine Presence, the elements of trust, apathy, withdrawal, dissociation, distrust, blind faith, blind trust, healthy trust

The elements of trust

Trust is not something we do from a place of apathy, withdrawal or dissociation. It is active and engaged: trust requires relaxed courage, curiosity, and calm presence. 

According to Grant Soosalu & Marvin Oka, in their book mBraining, they identify the four elements of trust (learning to trust yourself):  

  • Communication
  • Compassion
  • Consistency
  • Competency

Other authors and writers similarly identify the basic requirements of trust as: 

  • Competence
  • Character
  • Caring
  • Credibility
  • Reliability
  • Intimacy
  • Self-Orientation
  • Integrity
  • Benevolence
  • Ability

These authors point towards the same essential characteristics and requirements of trust. As difficult as it is, I have tried to group these together in a simple explanation:

Communication:

  • Is all about listening as well as sharing
  • As Covey says: “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood”
  • To build trust, it’s necessary to voice your wants, needs, desires and motives. It’s okay to have self-interest, but be open about what those interests are

“intimacy refers to your willingness to share appropriate information about the things that truly matter.”

Diana Gabriel, The 4 Components of Trust

Heart – Intimacy, Benevolence, Compassion & Caring:

  • Trust begins when we are open & transparent – even with ourselves
  • It is recognising my value and the value of others, leading to genuine empathy & understanding
  • Clear & heartfelt commitment to my personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of others
  • Only then can we build trusted relationships

Actions – Consistency & Character:

  • In order to build trust, there has to be congruence and alignment between what I say and do! This applies as much to promises I make to myself as what I promise others.
  • Predictable, reliable, & full of integrity
  • Loyalty, honour & duty
  • Respect and selfless service
  • Oriented to values and the vision – not just selfish interest
  • Clear set of principles, so you can be on the same wavelength
  • Can be counted upon

Ability – Competency & Credibility:

  • Mastery – skilled & knowledgeable
  • Has a domain of expertise and performs their functions well
  • Will speak up and give their point of view on the matter at hand from a point of knowledge
  • Stays current & up to date
  • Self-assured in their competence
  • Demonstrating progress towards goals


Emotional and spiritual healing: rebuilding trust 

When I look back at boarding school and these four qualities of trust, I find those in authority sorely lacking. If they had known better, they would have done better. But they lacked communication skills; they were authoritarian rather than compassionate. When I look at their actions, looking for consistency and character, I find them predictable, but I couldn’t count on them. They were not always congruent in what they said and did, as the rules did not apply equally to all. Perhaps worst of all, they were not skilled and knowledgeable, although they believed themselves to be.

We were left with an expectation of blind faith and trust in authority because the essential elements of a healthy trust were missing.

self-awareness, self awareness, building relationships, trust, authority, blind faith, qualities of trust, communication skills, compassion, consistency, character

Self-awareness

I now recognise that I have a proactive role in building relationships: I listen to the desires of my heart and trust my gut. I stay engaged and curious, rather than withdrawing. Instead of seeing myself as helpless and needing to be rescued, I recognise that I must play a part in building my future.

True faith is an inner alignment with yourself and with God. It’s a balance of trusting the universe to provide and doing your part to co-create with the Creator.

Jim Tolles “The problems with blind faith

Letting the Infinite flow in my life: rebuilding trust

The road back to faith, trust and hope is uneven and rocky. Sometimes, it’s the procession of three steps forward and two steps back as I fall into habitual patterns of blind trust or distrust.

I am learning to communicate and listen. As I consistently practise the presence of the Divine in my life, I hear the small, still voice of Spirit. It requires that I quiet my mind – that I sit in Silence and allow my heart to be still. It’s a daily practice in which my mastery builds up each day.

I have to choose to be open and transparent; it doesn’t happen naturally. There are times I want to shut down, and I have to make a conscious choice to be vulnerable and compassionate. When I commit to building relationships with myself, others, and the Divine, trusting relationships open up for me.

I sit in the Silence each morning to reconnect and refill my heart with the faithful love of Divine Presence, for I trust in Divine Love.
Each morning I listen to how I should walk and allow my Spirit to submit fully to Spirit

Ps. 143: 8

My understanding of what it means to rely on the Divine entirely has changed: it is no longer helplessness. I am not frozen in fear, unable to think logically or approach life with curiosity. I’m not keeping myself safe by being emotionally disengaged or apathetic. Instead, I am choosing to be fully present and connected.

From this place, I still choose trust, faith and hope.

Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on the Divine completely;
never depend upon your own ideas and inventions.
Give the Great Creator the credit for everything you accomplish,
trusting that Divine Love will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.

Prov. 3: 5-6

Other posts your might find interesting on Blind Faith:

Divine Presence, trust, distrust, blind faith, blind trust, rebuilding faith, hope