I spent a lot of time over many years trying to get my spiritual path “correct.”
I thought I was loving God.
Turns out, I was merely doing what other people told me to do or what I thought they expected.
For me, it was always some combination of “Read your Bible…more,” “Pray…more,” “Invite your friends to church,” “Be a good example at school,” or “Do the right thing.”
So much of this was based in action, in what I did or didn’t do. It created a lot of stress for me and I lived with a lot of anxiety, especially in my teenage years, about whether I was pleasing to God or not.
Again, I thought I was loving God.
I thought that love was proactive, in the sense that I did what I thought I needed to so that God would see how much I loved him.
But it drove me into the ground.
And I learned an important lesson…
I hadn’t been listening to God. I had been trying to love God my way.
We would never do this in our other relationships, but we do it all the time in our relationship with the Divine Other.
Imagine trying to love your spouse or a close friend or your children by only doing what you thought they wanted you to. It wouldn’t work. You might hit the mark here or there, but without listening to them, to really know them, you wouldn’t know how best to love them.
This is true even when it comes to you–you must listen to your true self to know how to really practice self-love. When you don’t listen to yourself, are you really loving yourself?
Listening precedes loving.
How can you listen–to others, the Divine, or yourself–better so that you can love more deeply?
— — — — —
Subscribe to my daily writing at Simple Spirituality.