Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mind or Spirit?

Recently, after struggling for a while with some frustrating emotions, my wife had a phrase pop into her head - "Bloom where you're planted." On her blog, she called it a realization or an epiphany. But hearing phrases in your head or having them pop into your consciousness doesn't happen very often, or at least not to me (and not to her either that I'm aware of).

I once had a similar experience when we were trying (for many months) to sell our house. After a long emotional struggle caused by contemplating ideas such as foreclosure and bankruptcy, not to mention the stress of maintaining two houses, I juice fasted for 3 days. At the end, I had the phrase "It's an adventure." pop into my head. Although it's a ridiculously simple phrase, it really helped me to turn around my attitude and look at the situation differently. Of course I still wasn't happy about it, but I thought of how boring life would be if everything turned out exactly as I wanted it to, if there were no challenges to overcome. It was just what I needed to hear at the time.

These experiences cause me to ask a fundamental question - Could these epiphanies actually have been God speaking to us? Or were they just thoughts that our minds produced as it mulled problems and frustrations over?

To an atheist, the answer is probably going to be completely obvious - that we arrived at our realizations by using our somewhat abundant (especially in Amanda's case) mental resources. Well, I can certainly respect the power of the human mind, and I have no problem believing that we can use our own (God given) mental ability to solve our problems . But these weren't problems that required a logical conclusion that could be arrived at by calculating numbers, weighing pros and cons, pondering options, doing research, etc. These were issues of attitudes and emotions. Not only that, but the solution wasn't a slow realization, but a succinct, instant phrase that contained abundant wisdom, even in its brevity. In Amanda's case, the statement was heard as if it was directed to her from an outside voice, not her own mind speaking to herself (Bloom were you're planted).

Even to many Christians, it probably seems overly assumptive to say that it was God's voice, and it certainly is more natural and comfortable to classify the answers as simply having been obtained by our intellect and wisdom, combined with years of experience, education, and upbringing. Heck, maybe we heard the phrases somewhere or from someone else and our minds were just recalling them in our moment of need.

I personally believe though that our attitudes and emotions are what demonstrate the spiritual portion of our humanity. And when a distinct and random answer or statement is heard out of the blue that directly addresses a problem or attitude that you have been struggling with, especially during prayer or fasting - to me, that's clearly God. So while it may not be an obvious miracle that I would run through the streets proclaiming to others about, I'll see it and say it for what it is - a simple but amazing blessing, a communication from above.

1 comment:

Amanda Lomonaco said...

Thanks, Mike. Well put. I often hesitate to be so bold as to say that God spoke to me. Some people callously seem to toss that phrase around about any thought they have. But yet it seems that He did clearly communicate that that message to encourage me.

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