Common Ground

In Engage, Think by Dieter Randolph

Have you ever been told to count your blessings? I don’t know where you went to Sunday School, but there’s a fair chance it was meant, or at least understood, as an instruction to be quiet, to stop asking for whatever it was you wanted, to shut up. Here’s the test: when somebody told you to count your blessings, how did you feel? Did you feel empowered, or squelched? Trust your feelings here. 

Some people believe in lack and finite good. They spend a lot of time scrambling around to get and hold on to what the universe provides so freely, and that disconnect wears them out. They feel put-upon and pestered, and so they have a concept of God that includes those elements, too. You’re never going to have a God bigger than your understanding, and you’re never going to have an understanding bigger than your God. So what’s your understanding of God? That’s the only way to crack the code. 

The things we tell other people are precisely the things that we need to hear. When somebody waggles a finger and orders you to “count your blessings,” they are revealing the secret of their own liberation. Do you want a love life, a prosperity consciousness, a body temple, a relationship with God that works? Count your blessings. 

Here’s the difference: take fear out of the equation, and replace it with grace. That’s the secret to everything, really. For now, though, let’s just apply it to the task at hand. 

Don’t count your blessings because you’re afraid there won’t be any more. Count them because consciousness is the only way to participate in the flow. If God is everywhere, every moment is a blessing. The trick is knowing it. Prayer doesn’t start with what you say. It starts with what you see. 

And that’s the problem. You can buy all the books, attend all the workshops, load up on podcasts. I can recommend a few of each. But if you don’t agree with what’s being said, it doesn’t matter how pretty the words are or how grand the ideas. 

You’ve been told to make big claims on God. And God is up for it. But are you? After all, the universe doesn’t speak English. It responds to intention. So if you say that you are an affluent child of an infinitely wealthy Creator, but you feel poor, who are you kidding? If what you’re saying feels like a lie, it doesn’t matter if it’s the Truth. Prayer doesn’t change God, as you know. It changes us. That’s good news, because God already loves you. God knows how awesome you are. All you have to do is agree with God. 

So what can you agree on? Maybe raising dead, parting seas, or feeding multitudes is a big ask. Maybe just feeling worthy of love is too much right now. That’s okay. You’ll get there. Just start where you are. Start small. 

When he was praying for rain, Elijah took a cloud the size of his fist as a sign. Jesus Christ talked about faith the size of a mustard seed. We all want to change the world, but it’s enough to get two or three people on the same page. 

Working on a healing? Start with an agreement. Can you be okay with the idea that the air in your lungs, the blood in your veins, the desires in your heart carry a divine spark? Start there. Can you be excited about the countless examples of infinity you can find in the world? Start there. Can you find a way to remind yourself that the universe takes care of its own? Start there. 

But start. 

Add this to your daily practice: agree with God. Find some small place, some miniature moment, some mustard seed idea where you can accept the miracle of this life. I promise it will get easier. I promise it will get better. I promise you will grow. Just stick with it. It works when you work it. You are the channel through which the Holy Spirit happens in your life. You have what it takes, child of God.