Sometimes we all need inspiration. The word means “to be breathed into” and has its roots in religious thought – that the Holy Spirit, or God, breathes into us and we become inspired – we become inflated. That word, in our society is negative. “He is inflated.” Or “She has an inflated ego.” But it need not only be negative. If you inflate a tire, or a ball, or a balloon, or a lung; it is simply made useful. A collapsed lung is a bad thing, as is a collapsed basketball; if you are wanting to use either, to any effect.
In an attempt to get “inspiration” for this blog post, on a day in which I felt unable to make one happen, unable to create anything at all, I went to Google and I typed in “What other people think.”
I was offered a web site which gave quotes from famous and not so famous people. They were all quotes about “not worrying about what other people think.”
“Oh, good!” I thought to myself – “I do not have to think up something to say on this subject. Others have done that. I will just find a quote, attribute it and set it in some language which sets it up.”
But then I noticed that there were 100,829 quotes. This web site had many quotes on many subjects and they often ran into the thousands. 12,000 quotes on this and 2,000 quotes on that. 890 quotes on this and 1,830 on that. But quotes on “not worrying too much about what other think and just living your life as best you can” brought forth more than 100,000 quotes.
I have always had a rather weak theology of the Holy Spirit. Reading the popular book “The Shack” offered me a theology for Her that I needed, even though much of the book seemed to twist theology in unfortunate ways. The Christian Church, I notice, does not do a very good job of teaching on the Holy Spirit. She freaks us out a bit. She falls, in our liturgical year – Pentecost – in June, where, in our sociological calendar, the bell rings for recess and so the teaching about her gets drowned out by spitballs and book bags, beachballs and mountain-trip-car-packing.
But I think She exists, the Holy Spirit. And I think she whispers. A lot in fact. And I suspect that what she is saying, or trying to say if I will slow down and listen more, is that what God thinks, is where I need to put my energy. Not WORRYING about what God thinks exactly. I don’t mean that. I mean caring more about what God thinks than about what others think. That is, in most religious traditions, advanced spirituality. Christians call it “detachment.”
How do we do that? How do we know what God thinks about us? How do we know what God is saying about us? How do we use what God is saying about us as our compass and sextant? We listen to the inspirers in our life. We look for the people around us whom our gut tells us are good, kind, honest, trustworthy and are doing great listening themselves – are inspired – are filled with the Holy Spirit. And we notice them. We flag them. We listen to them. West them out and say “am I ok?” and when they smile softly and say “yes, oh yes.” we relax. Truly relax. And we notice what they say about us. And we notice what they think God is saying about us.
And we listen to them.
In the Hebrew scriptures, God and God’s voice is located, we are told, in our gut. God is not near us, whispering. God is within us, whispering. We just need to find ways to turn down the competing sounds and focus on that still, small, voice. And then trust it.