Thanks for joining us on this edition of “Becoming Today”. For the past several weeks we’ve been discussing the concept of the “8 Points of Light”.
Now we’ll take a look back and reflect on all of this illumination at one moment in time.
This idea of the 8 Points of Light builds upon and expands some concepts we’ve previously talked about along our shared journey, it also introduced me and now I will introduce you to some amazing concepts that are already improving my life and overall levels of joy.
Contentment, rest, peace and happiness are in far greater supply and more readily available since I accepted this knowledge and leapt forward in Faith with it.
So that you will have the time and space to fully digest and reflect upon each of the points, I’ll be sharing them over the course of the next eight posts.
I have visualized the idea as a multi-colored flower, with eight petals. One for each point of light we have available to use and can be radiating within our environments.
Now we’ll review each of those points beginning with Compassion.
Let There Be Light and Compassion
Our shared definition of becoming compassionate involves a developing of skills, levels and achievement. It also makes compassion an active action. Something we must not only understand and accept, but must also decide to give and receive freely.
I ask you to choose to accept this understanding that I have developed:
“Becoming compassionate is accepting the conscious process of showing kindness and sharing empathy with others, so that we may then decide to assist all those we can.”
In sharing compassion we do show kindness and empathy towards others (and hopefully ourselves) though empathy is used to describe a whole range of emotions. The primary difference is empathy is when you can accept the emotions of another in a given situation, while compassion also includes the desire to take action to aid the individual.
A widely stated adage expresses,
“A single act of compassion can change a person’s life forever.”Making it a very Becoming quality. Sharing compassion allows us to feel and assist. It motivates us to transform suffering, pain or injustice into healing, growth and change
Among those changes are empowering ourselves to be compassionate not only towards others but also adopting an overall principle of practicing compassion with ourselves.
No more being your own worst critic or beating yourself up for past mistakes. Definitely no pity parties.
To live an empowered, compassionate life you must open yourself fully to “Becoming”. Be purposeful in living for great expectations, realizations and continued growth.
Living with a covenant of being compassionate allows us to feelmore, help others and embrace our vulnerability.That can transform our suffering, pain or injustice into healing, growth and change. It also allows us to move our conversation forward and accept dignity.
A Dignified Point
There’s no skipping steps here. All these personal qualities work together, and we need all these tools to empower ourselves from within. When we have allowed and accepted these strengths to be firmly established then we can work towards assisting others to do the same.
So in finding the true meaning of having a sense of dignity, we must comprehend that it starts with the qualities, values and beliefs which we hold and choose to share. Building a healthy sense of dignity is developed over time and requires patience. It is something that is easier said than done, though is quite achievable.
Then how do you know if you’re living with dignity? First realize it is an ongoing process, changing, developing, growing (or declining) throughout our lives. It must be nourished. You must consciously seek to renew it regularly.
Dignity is loving and appreciating yourself just as much as you are willing to love others. The truth is that it looks different in each of us. True dignity is a solid foundation you can rely upon everyday. It also cannot be taken away from you no matter the circumstances, challenges or obstacles you may encounter.
I can hear some of you saying that having dignity is a lot like self respect. It is in part though there are some differences.
Dignity and Respect are two words that often go together. The notable distinction is when we refer to them as being given to or shared with others. Dignity refers to the state of being worthy and honorable. Respect in part is defined as having an admiration for someone because of their qualities or achievements.
On the simplest level living a life with dignity is taking care of yourself.
We know we are unable to care for, assist or be of service to others if at first we are not addressing our own needs and healing. It’s the old story about the flight attendant’s speech. What is the first thing you are supposed to do if the oxygen masks drop on a plane? Put yours on first and then you can come to the aid of others.
Self-Care is also being good to yourself. Treating yourself like you would others. It involves self acceptance, gentle self talk, self compassion, having empathy for yourself and seeing that your basic human needs are being met.
If you’re not allowing yourself to live a dignified life or not accepting your own ups and down with compassion, why would anyone else be?
Living with attitudes of being compassionate and empowering dignity allows us to transform our suffering, pain or pasts into productive, beneficial healing, growth and change. Our next available tool is the third of the 8 Points of Light is Respect.
Formulating our shared understanding of what respect truly is, the dictionary first offers us this definition: “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements”. Then continues on with the secondary offering, which I believe should be the primary, “due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others”.
This concept of due regard or having the best wishes for, truly desiring for a shared understanding of another can be further brought along by adding Wikipedia’s explanation of respect, which explains “… also called esteem, is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important or held in high esteem or regard. It conveys a sense of admiration for good or valuable qualities”.
Therefore let’s choose to agree that R-E-S-P-E-C-T means accepting somebody for who they are, even though they are different from you or you may not agree with them. Respect builds trust, safety, and fosters healthy attitudes, though these emotions don’t come naturally; they are something you must learn and then share.
Respect also involves treating others the way you want to be treated. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Traditionally recalled as “The Golden Rule”, simply put it is always being considerate of others as well as honoring their feelings, opinions, and property.
Likewise actively and deliberately practicing respect towards ourselves or embracing self-respect is being good to ourselves, holding ourselves in strong esteem, with dignity and compassion. Plus committing to the ideas of self-discipline by making responsible choices in what we say and then taking action to achieve our personal goals, in alignment with our individual beliefs and values. For me that also means working to ensure that My thoughts, attitudes, words and actions are in accord with the Lord.
Have empathy for people, no matter what their circumstances may be. Try your best to put yourself in their shoes. How would you want to be treated if you were living their current experience?
Listen. Intently, carefully and be accepting of what they are trying to say to you.Encourage others to share their opinions and offer input in the conversation. Remember speaking is only part of having a discussion.
Be accepting of and validate the contributions of others. Respect gives people the space they need to contribute in ways they feel most comfortable. Boundaries remain important.
No gossiping, teasing, belittling, bullying or other non accepting behaviors.
Always be affirming. When you affirm someone,it’s saying and showing that they truly matter, are valued and worthy of respect. Many times this will bolster their ability to more freely practice self-respect.
When in doubt, mirror the actions of someone you consider to be respectful. Someone who walks their talk of living with integrity.
The Light of Peace
Peace can have many meanings. From the dictionary among the offering of definitions are:
-a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended. Synonyms include law and order, lawfulness, harmony, and accord,.
-a ceremonial handshake or kiss exchanged during a service in some churches, symbolizing Christian love and unity.
Plus the one I find most beneficial for our common understanding:
– freedom from disturbance; tranquility. Similarly described as calm, calmness and restfulness.
Being free from distractions, harassment, annoyances and chains that bind us to past realities and circumstances certainly creates in us the space to manifest a place for and an overall attitude of being peaceful.
Accepting this point of light we can receive peace as calm.
Now since we know words have meanings and that those meanings can empower or destroy let’s consider some shared definitions of C.A.L.M….. and yes I hear you; you in the back row, muttering “why is this woman typing it like that?!!!”
I’ll explain, however, to learn that, you’ll need to keep on reading. (As she laughs slightly mischievous with an upturned grin…)
Adjective-Not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other strong emotions.: “she had to keep calm at all costs” “his voice was calm”.
Noun -The absence of violent or confrontational activity within a place or group.: “an edgy calm reigned in the capital”. Synonyms: tranquility, stillness, calmness, quiet, quietness, quietude, peace, peacefulness, serenity, silence, hush, restfulness, and repose.
Verb– Make (someone) tranquil and quiet; soothe.: “I took him inside and tried to calm him down” or “a cup of tea will have a calming effect”. Synonyms: soothe, pacify, placate, mollify, appease, conciliate, hush, lull, gentle, quell, allay, alleviate, assuage, or dulcify.
The concept of remaining calm or at peace, and the teaching of it have been with us for centuries. In the Scriptures we find,:
Isaiah 7:4 “Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart…”
Exodus 14:14 “The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Proverbs 15:18 “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute”.
Plus there are many more. We also know that we are called to reflect (meditate, ponder), remain calm, be peaceful (filled with peace), and at rest. No dozing off here; in the Word we understand that “at rest” is at times defined as “to be quiet or tranquil, as the mind; not to be agitated by fear, anxiety or other passion.”
During a recent time of peaceful reflection and being at rest, I was led into a study of what it means to live C.A.L.M.
It certainly was a tranquil repose of solitude, when I meditated upon enjoying the moment. Seizing the present I achieved a mindfulness that took me within thinking, contemplating, meditating and praying and then repeating it all again ( and several more times again). It was in this introspective instance that the following acronyms kept filling my mind as well as my journal page.
See if you can find a common thread in this stream of consciousness:
Now coming from a place where you are more content, approaching all things, people, situations from a place of peace and remaining calm, it’s time to keep that momentum building… both forward and upward!
If you feel you may be lacking in this area of self-empowerment, fear not, you are not alone. No one is born this way, we all have fears, doubts and insecurities. Plus all of us have the ability to overcome any lack. None of us are perfect, so let’s empower ourselves by receiving peace and calm by first accepting who we really can be “Becoming”.
Perhaps The Greatest of These Is… Love
Being a person of peace, calm, at rest, at ease and open allows for us to enjoy our relationships with others. It allows us the protected form of vulnerability to be open to new, better experiences with people and our environments. People will want to be around you, perhaps for reasons they do not immediately understand. But rest assured it will be because they desire the peace you are radiating.
Living with the peace of God is truly virtuous. Sharing it with others enables more favor in our lives and boosts the quality of life for all we encounter.
Remaining calm, at rest, peaceful, in a balanced state and doing so with an open, kind, loving heart also results in a gentile spirit. That is receptive to learning, growing, changing and most of all “Becoming”.
More than likely not only a bold word, Love is the strongest of all positive emotions. That’s why this edition is an exploration of why love being directed towards yourself, another individual, a group of people, or even all humanity is of utmost importance.
The word “love” is mentioned on almost every page of the English Bible. Depending upon the translation you can find the topic addressed multiple times for good reason. When something is important it bears repeating.
So let’s examine and ponder these numbers for a moment:
In the King James Version, love is mentioned 310 times.
In the New American Standard Version, love is discussed 348 times.
In the New Revised Standard Version, there are 538 instances of the word
And “love” In the New International Version, is discussed 551 times.
Perhaps now you’ll agree that ‘The Greatest of These Is…Love’. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5(NIV)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love is indeed patient and kind. In the scriptures, love is what unites people. Brings groups together against hate and dishonesty.It is what enables forgiveness and restores confidence.
Mercy is our sixth point of light to radiate.
Mercy, Mercy Me
Let’s begin by coming to a shared understanding, by developing a common definition.
Mercy is described as:
-compassion or forbearance shown especially to someone who has offended or wronged us.
-a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion
-a fortunate circumstance
-compassionate treatment of those in distress
For our purpose parts of all four are relevant. So let’s bring them together as,
“Mercy is a blessing. A gift of compassion in unfortunate circumstances or troubling times.”
It is something we’d each like to have for ourselves and just as with our other points we can only be granted this blessing if we are willing to and actively giving it to others.
In the Scriptures, Jesus instructs His Disciples: “ I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
A foundation for the belief that mercy comes in the personal relationship Jesus promises to all of us. That is a relationship based upon forgiveness, love, reconciliation and truth. That’s why some theologians share that Jesus Christ can be considered the face of God’s mercy, as it’s very essence is personified in His works of healing, forgiving and welcoming all.
Mercy matters because we all need forgiveness.
Plus it creates a common bond between us.
Mercy begins by opening ourselves to those with whom we disagree. Starting with small acts of understanding, can lead to life-changing experiences of compassion, dignity.respect, peace and love.
Like our other points of light, Mercy can be readily available as long ass we are willing to accept it. Time and time again, I have given testimony to things working out at the very moment I needed it the most. More often than not, circumstances have improved, beyond what I had previously limited myself to expecting, or at times even hoping for.
After a while I could no longer be in denial of it. Despite a battle of impatience, if I continue in faith and trust, at the very least my needs, hopes and dreams are delivered – often exceeded beyond what I had prayed for.
Does that mean everything happens when I want it to, or think it should?
Sure I experience delays, argue with myself over whether or not I’m being too patient, but time and time again I have come to know that when I do I’m just adding to the length of time it will take to “find” what I was searching for.
That in itself is merciful. When becoming the recipient of mercy, it is freeing. Allowing us to continue advancing along our shared path of “Becoming Today”.
Mercy and compassion are often braided together.. Mercy is a gift given to one who is suffering by someone whose actions are motivated by compassion.
Many times acts of mercy are not huge moments. They are not flamboyant gestures, rather, they are simple acts of kindness intended to treat another or yourself gently, from a loving place.
At times mercy can be allowing for someone who has offended you to make their amends.. That is the mercy of forgiveness.
At other times mercy can be taking action by gently correcting another, while remaining humble and not vindictive. That is the mercy of grace.
There are probably as many different examples of mercy as there are humans.
We are all unique, no two exactly identical. Mercifully accept this and you are developing, learning, growing and most of all “Becoming”.
Bring Forgiveness Into The Light
Forgiveness is something that for many people is easier said than done. For me it was especially hard to learn how to forgive myself.
To fully forgive involves allowing ourselves to let go, To actively and consciously release the need to hold on to past baggage, old quarrels, unfinished business or the need to get even.
You can not create a state of “Becoming”, if you aren’t willing to let the former or current realities go.This is a vital part of “Becoming”. Not only forgiving others for perceived wrongs, and asking for forgiveness from those you may have hurt but also forgiving yourself.
It is then, and only then, that you can let go of anger, guilt, shame, or any other feeling limiting your growth. Let it go. Face forward, look upward and then you can get busy moving on.
To let go of past hurts, you need to make the conscious decision to take control of the situation. However, this can take time and practice. Be kind to yourself as you practice self care and love.
Then you can say good-bye to anger, guilt, shame, or any other feeling limiting your growth. Let it go. Face forward, look upward and you get busy moving on.
In doing so it becomes much easier to practice gratitude.
See the good in everything and everyone. Cherish beauty, kindness, love, and joy. I believe everyday should be Thanksgiving. I am constantly giving gratitude for all things including the lessons we sometimes don’t want or think we need.
Being grateful puts us in a better state. One of bliss, joy and abundance. When you decide to adopt and commit to an attitude of gratitude, God listens and rewards you. Then you are free to be, in an atmosphere of abundance rather than lack and fear. Being grateful is a conscious and easily sustainable habit. Make it one of yours.
In terms of self-forgiveness we must not get stuck in the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” mentality.
Hanging onto what should have happened, what could have happened, or what you wished would have happened, give yourself motivation to get over it. Release it and heal. Or keep a grip on it and be paralyzed; immobilized by feelings of pain and bad memories.
Realize your reactions resonate. As one of my favorite quotes from Chuck Swindoll reminds us, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
So begin by accepting the fact that you are a co-Creator. You are more than capable of choosing the right actions when pushed, promised or promoted.
In forgiving we must recognize connections. There is an invisible web of connection between people, events and even the places in your life. This is how God nudges and guides you towards your destiny.I know and have given testimony many times, in many ways as to how I have been led throughout my life. I only ask that it continues and truly it is.
In order to nurture and further develop those connections we must embrace an attitude of being forgiving. Begin doing so by accepting yourself. Embrace the ability to unconditionally love all aspects of who you are. Both the positive and negative.Do not become overly critical. It all starts with the proper attitude.
Jesus instructed that we should forgive 70 x 7. In the Gospel of Matthew He responds to a question from Peter . Who asked how many times he should forgive someone who sins against him. Peter asks if forgiving seven times is appropriate, and Jesus responds “not seven times, but seventy times seven”.
Obviously it’s not an exact mathematical equation. We’re not saying you must forgive someone 490 or as some translations do the math as 77 instances (but in my understanding times is to multiply by… anyway). The lesson is to forgive them for their tresspasses as you would want them to forgive you for your less than Becoming instances.
As I’ve shared these points, I hope it has been revealed how interconnected they are. How like the petals of a flower they exist independently yet together and in that unity they blossom and share beauty with the world.
So the question for many is, what exactly is Grace?
A simple definition is that Grace is a gift from God.
Building from there we need to add that it is a gift in the purest sense. One we do not deserve and is not earned. We simply are eligible to receive it because of God’s unconditional love for us.
Grace involves love and mercy given to others even when it is undeserved. This applies to both the Grace we receive from our Heavenly Father and the grace we need to have and share with one another.
It does not require grand actions. Bestowing grace upon someone else can be as simple as a random act of kindness, doing something for someone without expecting anything in return.
Grace is quite easily understood and yet wonderfully perfect in its complexity; defined in our purposes as “the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not necessarily because of anything we have done to earn it”.
The simplest definition I have ever embraced on this topic is “God’s unmerited favor”.
Sounds wonderful, and when you have received God’s gift of Grace in your life, believe me as I testify, it feels even better.
Pastor Rick Warren also notes, “The Bible gives an easy, three-word answer for how you receive the grace of God: “by trusting Christ”.
Easy right? Powerful? Abundantly and amazingly so.
So how do you receive the grace of God? Accept it. Acknowledge it. Live it.
In the Scriptures we learn (Ephesians 2:8) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”.
So to be Grace-filled , filled with Grace, Graceful or full of Grace just say yes; then count your blessings, live your life in salvation and discern your path to “Alway Be Becoming”.
Release your understanding upon your actions. Live it and Gracefully Acknowledge. Accept grace, joy and wisdom. Give thanks for it with a grateful heart. What then? Keep doing it. What? Being you.
Then you are “Becoming” the real, true, authentic you. All you were intended to be.
Always remember that grace is a gift. You can’t earn it, but you get a lot of it. It’s free and abundant. When you go to God in heartfelt prayer, He will always give you what you need. Forget about worrying about getting what you deserve. Grace is getting much more than you deserve.
I hope you have found our study of the 8 Points of Light enlightening. I also pray you are accepting and sharing each of them to the best of your abilities.
No two can do it in identical ways. While we walk this shared path together, our steps are independently ordered and routes vary.
Still we are here for you. Comments? Questions? Post below or for a private message visit our Contact page. Then tomorrow join us again on the next edition of “Becoming Today”.