Day Eleven: You Can Grow By Embracing Your Whole Life

Your life is an adventure in self-awareness. Embracing your whole life – strength and weakness alike – is an adventure in creativity, affirmation, courage, and transformation.

Following his baptism and experience of God’s affirmation of his vocation, Jesus went on a forty day wilderness retreat in which he faced the ambiguities of being God’s chosen messenger. His great powers could be used for planetary transformation or personal security and self-interest. Growing in wisdom and stature involves embracing the whole of your life – possibility and pain, altruism and self-interest, and nobility and baseness. We are “legion” in the wondrous diversity that characterizes each moment and lifetime. Healing comes from embracing the totality of our experience and not denial.

There is no room for boredom on the holy adventure of self-discovery. The saints remind us that the more we experience the glory of God’s illumination, the more we also experience the distance between where we are and where we are called to be. We are meant to be little Christs and bodhisattvas, but the pathway involves embracing darkness as well as light, and discovering that within darkness is the womb from which the birth of a larger self emerges.

Today’s affirmations invite you to embrace your whole self lovingly. Transformation involves both radical acceptance and creative intentionality. In embracing and accepting the darkness and light, we discover an inner movement toward wholeness that enables our wounds to be windows into our holiness as God’s beloved children.

God is with me in every struggle.
Healing comes by facing both darkness and light.
I experience God’s guidance in facing my temptations and imperfections.
God’s healing and wisdom are present in (facing a particular temptation or painful
situation).

In my study, I have a paperweight on which the words “solvitur ambulando” – it will be solved in the walking – are inscribed. Take some time to go on a wilderness walk, even if you live in an urban area, meditating on the challenges and temptations of your life. In the course of your walk visualize Christ as your companion. Ask Christ for wisdom in facing your personal and vocational challenges. Over the next week, listen for God’s guidance through dreams, encounters, intuitions, and healing moments. (It is appropriate to note that healing and wholeness can be nurtured through conversations with spiritual directors, therapists, intimate friends, and other healing partners.)

From “Holy Adventure: Forty One Days of Audacious Living” (Upper Room Books).

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About Bruce Epperly

Rev. Bruce Epperly, Ph.D., serves as Pastor at South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Centerville, MA. Prior to coming to Cape Cod in 2013, he served on the faculties and often in administrative and chaplaincy roles at Georgetown University, Claremont School of Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. Bruce is currently a professor in spirituality, ministry, and theology in the doctoral program at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. He has served as pastor or interim pastor of congregations in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He is the author or co-author of over 35 books in the areas of theology, spirituality, ministerial excellence and spiritual formation, scripture, and healing and wholeness, including Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God; Finding God in Suffering: A Journey with Job; From Here to Eternity: Preparing for the Next Adventure; and A Center in the Cyclone: Clergy Self-care in the 21st Century.