Allowing Spirit to Guide Your Work

I used to think that surrendering to something bigger than myself was a sign of weakness. I was raised as a Mormon and saw a lot of people in my church “putting their life in the hands of God,” yet they seemed complacent and lazy.

It felt as if they wanted God to do everything for them. They didn’t want to be collaborators with a Higher Source, they wanted to go limp like a doll, their lives being pulled along by puppet strings.

However, somewhere in my heart it felt right to be lived by something greater than myself. Source. God. The Universe. Whatever you want to call it.

Most of us feel on some level that there is something greater at work than just our own conscious will. We realize that if we were put in charge, things would quickly fall apart.

Imagine your conscious mind being put in charge of running and keeping track of all the systems in your body. Your heartbeat, breath, nervous system, brain function, lymphatic system—the list is staggering.

Micro seconds after assuming command, you’d be dead.

I think a lot of us understand that. Something bigger is living us. But we don’t want to give up our control. We think we know what’s best. And what about Free Will, dammit?

Not wanting to be a puppet is how I’ve felt for the last 15 years as I’ve questioned “Let go and let God.” And let’s be honest, questioning that complacency was a very good thing helped me move beyond apathy.

But over time I’ve realized how much richer my life is the more I expand rather than contract.

When I work toward a purpose that is bigger than me, that encompasses the world, I feel more joy, more inspiration. I tap into a well of energy that feels unquenchable. When I choose to earn money for more than my personal needs — for those of my family and for the world — my actions feel more profound and purposeful. When I take great care of my body because I know I’ll be able to better serve my community because of it, I feel drawn to being impeccable with myself.

I’ve been sustained by the depth accessed in expansion.

Yet, there is still something more than expanding to the needs of others. Something deeper that beckons me to explore.

Yes, there is something beyond living for the sake of service. I’m slowly getting to know this new terrain. It involves surrendering at a deeper level than I’m comfortable with. It’s terrifying, honestly.

And yet, when I do surrender and let this “something greater” move through me, my actions are drenched in integrity and depth of purpose that often shocks me.

I am moved to do, say or sense exactly the right thing, perfect for that moment.

Trusting this source I’ve found does not result in me being dissolved or destroyed.

No.

It feels more like coming home.

Allowing Source, God, Consciousness to guide your life and work doesn’t have to mean complacency. It can be the key to unlocking your deepest heart’s purpose.

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Eric September 5, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Courageous…you definitely heard me today. Blessings.

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Ross September 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm

John,

Thank you so much for this post. As a very recently converted Christian, I share your struggle with that crazy dichotomy of wanting to control everything and knowing I can’t. This post makes me very excited to read more of what you and your team has to say. I’m searching for more God-centered blogs and podcasts like this and Hyatt’s “This is your life” podcast because I don’t believe productivity and God are mutually exclusive. Just because you’ve put power in God’s hands doesn’t mean you now sit and do nothing.

Please keep us updated on your progress, if only to encourage those of us on the same path.

Best,
Ross

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Dan Armishaw September 5, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Like many, I’ve gone back and forth on this one and come to see that it’s not just trusting God and it’s not just striving. Following what seems to be foreordained as your pathway is not passive. It can require very hard work and even include disappointment and set-backs. Still, you can have the ongoing trust that in the big picture you are on the right track.

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Jeremy September 5, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Yes. This isn’t easy, and it’s tough to distinguish from other impulses–*very* tough, to the point of self-deception.

But when you touch it, you know it.

Maybe the sacred is a unit of meaning. When you find something that gives meaning, then that is sacred? And once you feel that, you have a map: you can move toward, away from, or around it.

Jonathan, beautiful post, and very thought-provoking. (And what does it have to do with building a business or kicking a day job to the curb? Absolutely everything. But not in an easy way.)

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Kate September 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Jonathan this is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this aspect of your thoughts and explorations and way of being. I completely believe in something greater than any individual, ready to work with each of us to be deeply in alignment, integrity, truth, and love. Being open to meeting it with an open heart is a terrifying and beautiful thing. Thank you thank you.

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Jesicka Labud September 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm

This. Is. Beautiful.

Thank you for sharing this. It absolutely made my day.

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Jason Spencer September 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Yes. The people consciously connected to this great mystery find amazing depth of power and purpose. I have always sensed this mystery at work within you Jonathan.

Surrender is a difficult posture to enter into but a beautiful place where the real you and mystery show up.

I resonate deeply with the call beyond ourselves and even beyond service. I see an awakening to strength that we cant even begin to claim as our own.

Great thoughts. Deep, humble and beautiful.

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Jerry September 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Nothing brings you more satisfaction and fulfillment than living life for something beyond yourself. This is why most of the super rich people give so much of their money away. Yes, they want to leave a lasting legacy. But what is it that compels them to do so. Why do they care? They’ll end up dead like everyone else. It’s because they sense there is more. Even when our bodies are dust in the ground, there is something more.

Humans can do (and have done) amazing things. Science has shed light on many things in the universe. It has answered seemingly unanswerable questions. But there is one question it will never be able to answer. And that question is, why? Why are we here? It’s a question of purpose.

I tried for many years to bury this question. But its constant hounding could not be avoided. There are those who can go through their whole lives avoiding it. But I say they are denying themselves something infinitely valuable. They are denying themselves a huge part about who we are–mind, body, spirit. As for myself, the very fact that I can even ask the question tells me there is an answer. Can I know it for sure? Well,not in an empirical or scientific sense. The answer lies in faith.

I believe for those who seek, they will find. If you knock, the door will be opened. And in the end, you will know…why.

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Justin September 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Love this man! I not only resonate with this, but it’s thought provoking words like these that help to bring God/source/consciousness/spirit/whatever your word is for it, up to the surface.

Very inspirational and authentic! Agree with everyone else, it’s beautiful!

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Lorna September 5, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Totally love what you said “surrendering, and letting something greater move through me”! That is totally what I was thinking about today…that I don’t want to live a complacent life. Like you, I’m surrendering and somewhere in it all will discover my deepest life’s purpose. Thanks for the inspiration!

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Alia Arlys September 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm

So brain dead (alive) today that I have no-thing to add since you have so lovingly lifted the feelings out of my heart and succinctly conveyed the meanderings of my mind. Thank you for your apparent transparency and authenticity.

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Ben September 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Love this powerful acknowledgement of Spirit!

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Wendy September 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm

I love this article about spirituality. I have been conflicted for some time about that stuff…. maybe it’s time I figure it out :)

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julie September 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Hey Jonathan,
I write usually everyday and my voice has finally been growing, at least on paper. I lived in conflict with what others wanted me to be like nearly all my life, under the ‘God first contract’ that was basically force fed. I was told to surrender continuously and ended up feeling inspired. But I was told I hadn’t surrendered ‘really.’ I was shamed for still having thoughts, ideals and goals. I was so shamed from not giving my will up totally. I was subjected to negativity and guilted when I spoke of sensing God working through me.

I was viewed as complacent when I knew God gave me the strength and courage to live my life through the giving of myself and ‘being of service.’ But ‘being of service’ to others ended up leaving me empty, as my family expected more and more. It was abusive but I didn’t know what to do. I reached out to God once again. The ‘being of service’ was too lop sided. What about others giving of themselves? But it was a stepping stone to listening more mindfully to God. It seemed as if God had my attention and was saying, ‘ doing your best is over. It’s complete. Now, do what truly pleases you.’ I know God spoke loudly through a feeling of emptiness that was so deep. I even experienced some fainting. I believe that the fainting was symbolic of my life and my oxygen being cut off, and the end for me of feeling pressured to act in line with the family opinion, rules and convictions. The mindset of going along as if everything is ‘fine’ was over for me. I needed to change and express and affirm myself. I was finally able to come out of denying my own strengths and views. I even stopped fainting by acknowledging that I had taken on trying to control other people’s opinions of me. I began to reach out to others who knew what I meant about this predicament. I allowed myself to speak up about the repression and I began to sense my purpose here. I often debate with myself if what I have realized is important to others but today I am arguing a little less.

What you spoke about today to me shows that it’s about being ourselves and inspired by something greater or deeper. I am noticing the increased momentum. So Thanks for your inspiration and Yeah, No apathy! It has helped me to speak up today. You are one extremely wonderful person who is speaking my language.

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Mary September 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm

“I am moved to do, say or sense exactly the right thing, perfect for that moment.”
Wow! That is worth surrendering for.

It doesn’t seem to come naturally for me to tune in to Source. Time to take up meditation on that! Over-confidence in what I think I know, too often makes me a poor listener.

Control and security are really myths–we are all a heartbeat away from disaster. And yet, we thrive (for the most part) on what is provided/available to us. What a miracle!

I think comfort with/acceptance of surrender is something that comes with time and maturity–I used to take it as a sign of weakness as well, but as you have learned, it really takes the ultimate courage and heart to do it, once you understand what it truly means.

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Alia Arlys September 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm

What a lovely coincidence (yeah, maybe) that this video showed up in my email the same day as your blog echoing the sometimes unshakable feeling (for some of us) that we are more connected than separate:
http://www.upworthy.com/science-has-been-misleading-you-about-some-fundamental-truths-2?g=2&c=upw1

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Maarit September 5, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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Michael Knouse September 5, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Jonathan – You bring up a fascinating topic. I grew up in a very Christian centered environment and my experience was similar to yours. I found that people I knew often turned everything over to God and used this as an excuse to be very complacent about their life. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this but it just rubbed me the wrong way. As a result, I adopted the opposite approach and put all my faith in myself and my own actions. The result was a lack of faith in anything outside of what I could control. Which made for a pretty challenging decade or so.

After hitting my head against the wall for many years I slowly began to let go of trying to control everything and I found a subtle level of peace that had been missing from my life. It has been a real challenge for me to surrender to that Source that I know is there. But every time that I have been able to ‘let go’, I’ve felt this inexplainable sensation that everything will be all right.

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Carol Malone September 5, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Hi Jonathan, you had a very interesting post today. I was also raised LDS or Mormon and I found, like you, some of the members of the church act complacent and lazy, but thankfully, not all. Were you raised in Utah? I was. That might account for some of the apathy. Some of those folks are in my own family and it frustrates me. That puppet attitude doesn’t jive with the very notion of faith, which is an action verb – pray like everything depends upon God and work like everything depends upon you. There should be no sitting around like a limp doll waiting for God to do for you what you should do for yourself. My husband calls it “sprinkling pixie dust around.” That means we want God to bless us without lifting a finger. I believe the Lord is displeased with the slothful and unwise, complacent members. We are not puppets, we are very much, or should be, involved in the things that make our lives better, our friends and families happier, and the world a better place to live.

You are right on with the bullet points. When we work toward a higher purpose in our own lives, we feel joy and inspiration that energizes us and makes us want to spread that joy around. You are doing just that with you program. I wish I were further along the path, but at least I’m taking steps. I’m exercising faith in my Higher Power and in myself. When I submit, not surrender exactly, my will to this source, I too am not destroyed, but fulfilled, not dissolved, but made whole. It does feel like coming home.

Thank you for your inspirational words.

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viv September 5, 2013 at 10:55 pm

I find it a strange and arrogant view that we can choose to give up control. As though we ever had any in the first place! Perhaps what people mean when they say that is that they are giving up the IDEA or BELIEF that they are in control?

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Kelly Niven September 6, 2013 at 4:42 am

Hi Jonathan

I find when spirit is guiding me, everything flows its easy and doesn’t feel like work.

When i am the driving force – I have to fight, force and push myself. This never leads me down the right road.

Heres to surrender :-)
Kelly

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Donnie Law September 6, 2013 at 5:08 am

I like this.

For me it’s helpful to focus on the process and doing the right thing the right way. Leave the results up to God.

Reduces stress and is a much better way to live.

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Kelly @Try New Things September 6, 2013 at 12:38 pm

My cue is when it feels flowing and slightly exciting and then I know I am going where i need to go. It is about how it feels more than whether it makes sense as a result of analysis.

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Courtney Wilson September 6, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Surrendering is the hardest part as I think most people don’t like giving up their perceived control. However the rewards you receive when you do just that are soooo worth it.

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hala September 7, 2013 at 7:37 am

This is the core of Islam. The word islam in arabic means to surrender to the will of God

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Dahab September 9, 2013 at 7:11 am

“Allowing Source, God, Consciousness to guide your life and work doesn’t have to mean complacency. It can be the key to unlocking your deepest heart’s purpose.”

Beautiful! This gave me new energy. Just what I need on a monday mornng!

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Izzy September 18, 2013 at 12:52 am

Wow. This is powerful. This post makes me think about “the breath behind the breath”. In other words it makes me wonder about the creator of the universe and his role in the daily work I sit down to do.

For me, this gives me a greater sense of purpose and clarity. It makes me feel that everything I do matters. It gives me a deep seeded feeling of purpose that is only sold short when I put it into words.

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Emeka September 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Thanks J for sharing this post. Understanding the way of the Spirit ( which we are really) will help each other in this ‘experience’ called LIFE.

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Sofia October 9, 2013 at 9:39 am

Wow…This is an elegant and masterful post Jonathan. So beautiful and inspiring. It’s the perfect blend of how Consciousness, flow, surrender and purpose all work together in our daily lives and in our work. It also reminded me that when we allow Spirit to move through us, we cease to just serve and are able to experience the fullness of life in every way. Well done.

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