Posted in Empowerment, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation, The Seven Deadly Compulsions, Truth

Kicking Your Butt and Holding Your Hand

Back to the Mission Statement of Authentic Freedom Ministries:  Through compassionate listening and attentive presence, I partner with those longing to find meaning, purpose and connectedness in their lives. In the spiritual journey, the work is yours to do…..but you don’t have to do it alone.

We are a Slothful and Lazy People!

One of the greatest dangers in the ministerial and healing worlds is SLOTH – the refusal to use the gifts that God has given us to:

  • Reason
  • Discern
  • Exercise  TRUTH

Instead, we want a healer, teacher or minister to think for us, to tell us what to do, how to act and what to do with our lives.  This compulsion often has deadly consequences as we recall the sweatlodge incident at Angel Valley Retreat Center, hosted by James Arthur Ray or the mass suicide in 1978 at Jonestown, presided over by Reverend Jim Jones.  While these are extreme examples, they deftly illustrate how a charismatic “teacher” can create a culture of co-dependency among their followers, and how people are susceptible to this kind of influence.

To learn more about the spiritual compulsion of sloth, read Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy by Lauri Ann Lumby.

The Origins of Sloth

Sloth is the spiritual compulsion that comes out of the spiritual fear “I don’t know.”  Somewhere we were told and decided to believe that we do not know:

  • Our truth
  • What we want
  • What is best for us
  • Our path
  • Our purpose
  • Our gifts
  • Our needs
  • What we believe

Instead of listening for, hearing, believing and exercising the truth that naturally resides in our hearts, we choose an outside perceived authority to make decisions for us. The outside authority starts with our parents, moves out toward our ministers and church, teachers, doctors, political leaders, our boss, etc. etc. etc. It is quite natural for us to move in this direction because it is what our society tells us we should do.  “THEY” know more than we do.  “THEY” are smarter,  better equipped, have the bigger guns, went to the right schools, are the right gender, orientation, religion, etc. etc. etc. etc.  The benefit to  the outside perceived authority is they get rich, own all the stuff and have all the power.  For the one giving away their own inner authority the results (as we were reminded above) can be deadly – if not to our physical bodies… the very least to our Spirits.  There is a benefit to the one giving their power away, however, we never have to make a decision for ourselves and therefore, never have to take responsibility for our lives.  Anything good that happens is because we followed the right teacher and anything bad that happens is somebody else’s fault.  In the James Arthur Ray incident for example, he is the one who gets the blame for the death and injury of twenty-one people; not the people that refused to use the brain that God gave them to GET OUT of the sweatlodge when they were feeling sick.

To learn more about the spiritual compulsion of sloth, read Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy by Lauri Ann Lumby.

Honoring YOUR Truth

When we fall into the trap of sloth, we have forgotten that WE KNOW our truth…..and if we don’t, we at least have access to it.  Our purpose, our path, our needs, our gifts, our passions, our desires, our hopes, dreams, visions, what we need IN THIS MOMENT, all reside within us….if we take the time to listen and are open to hearing, seeing, believing and LIVING this truth.   Herein lies the problem and another example of SLOTH – we are too lazy to take the time to listen for the voice of truth that (often) is SCREAMING to be heard!  We come up with all kinds of excuses for not taking the time to listen:

  • I don’t have time
  • I don’t know how
  • I have too much to do
  • I don’t have a place to go to listen
  • I don’t have time

EXCUSES  EXCUSES  EXCUSES……we come up with a million reasons for not taking the time to reason, discern and exercise our truth.  But the number one reason we don’t is (drumroll please):

Because our truth will set us free….but first is will kick our butts!  

(Gloria Steinem)

…..and on some level, we know this.  Living in our truth requires us to step out of the fold, to stand up for ourselves, to speak our minds, to rock the boat, to upset the applecart, to go against the crowd.  When we listen to our truth we might find out:

  • I’m gay
  • Jesus isn’t my personal Lord and Savior
  • I have an addiction
  • My marriage is abusive and I need to leave
  • My wife is cheating on me
  • I hate my job and I need to find another one
  • I’m really an artist/writer/dancer/actor and I am called to explore these gifts
  • My child is using drugs
    To learn more about the spiritual compulsion of sloth, read Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joyby Lauri Ann Lumby.
    The Good News
    The good news is that you DO NOT have to take this journey of truth alone, AND you don’t have to give up your power to do so.  Here is where I come in.  As my mission statement says, “Through compassionate listening and attentive presence, I partner with.….  I don’t tell you what to do or how to do it.  Instead, I hold the space in which your truth will feel safe enough to peek out its head, and then I listen as your ego fights against this truth, and then I give you the tools that YOU DO ON YOUR OWN to move through the ego tantrums, fears, temptations that will show up and try to keep you from your truth, and then I will hold you accountable for your work (that’s the kicking your butt part!)  All of this is done with the spirit of loving EMPOWERMENT.  It is not my job to make more clients or students, but instead to EMPOWER you to be the magnificent teacher, leader, healer that you already are….because you do know your truth… just might need help seeing, embracing and living it.
    Lauri Lumby
    Authentic Freedom Ministries