Lead me to the secret place

The Revd Lynn Hurry reflects on coping with change and finding our true worth (our ‘Place’) in the heart of God.

As we go through life things change don’t they…and at times I think we have all had that thought where we feel we don’t know our place anymore.
It’s often a thought that accompanies all the significant  changes in our lives.
Such changes may include:
The end of a relationship;
Changes in a family relationship such as the birth of a child, or a sibling;
Moving home, especially to a new area;
Change of job; Unemployment;
death of a loved one or partner

There are also the changes to do with ageing such as when our bodies get tired, old, or we are unwell. Coping with the change of getting old, we might think “Where is my place in a society that emphasises youth, beauty, health, get up and go, etc?” 
We even describe our spiritual or emotional lives by saying “I’m in a bad place right now.”
What it shows though, is that we seem to intuitively know that there is another place, a better place.
Regardless of how the changes of life come about, it seems they leave us wondering, “Where is my place in life?”

But there’s something we often overlook and that is, we need to remind ourselves that our life begins and ends in God.We need to remember that God created us and breathed His own life into us as He breathed us into existence.
God chose each one of us to be filled with divine breath, God’s divine life.
This shapes our lives and our understanding of what life is really about.

If we forget that, we are in danger of living our lives in the ways that other people think we should.
Too often we can strive to live a life based on what others think of us. Or we can live a life in such a way that others notice us. We can end up trying to please others more than anything else.
In our spiritual life we might do things that others may see as religious and so seem a bit ‘holier than thou’. Remember what Jesus said about those who lived that kind of life. They were in danger of practicing false piety and even, hypocrisy.

But it may be that none of this is deliberate.
This is us trying to find a place on the outside instead of on the inside. Yet when that happens our place in life changes according to the opinions of someone other than our God.

This week we have remembered Evelyn Underhill, a teacher of what it means to Worship and to live an interior life rather than an external one.
She understood from personal experience how easy it is to replace God with something far lesser and more shallow. Self-centred living is about living on the surface.
But Jesus is calling us again and again to search for the interior life which involves living  life from the inside out.
He is asking us to move from the outer world to the inner world.

So if we are to break our dependency on others to help us find our place, then the secret prayer, fasting, etc, is not about how we do them but where.
In that secret place with God then we are learning to stop depending on others to give us our identity or place in life.
In the secret place we see that our identity, who we are, is who we are in God. It’s the interior life as opposed to the showy one for others!
It reminds me once more of that beautiful George Appleton prayer about being taken deeper into God. That secret place within.

Give me a candle of the spirit, O God
as I go down into the deep of my
own being
Show me the hidden things. Take me
down to the spring of my life, and
tell me my nature and my name.

Give me freedom to grow so that I
may become my true self – the
fulfillment of the seed which you
planted in me at my making.

Out of the deep I cry unto thee, O God.

And so despite the disappointments in our lives we are, we always have been, and we always will be the beloved children of God.
And so, it follows that  repentance,  prayer, reading and meditating on God’s holy Word, receiving the Blessed Sacrament, taking regular time out with God are the journey back to our place.
These are the practices that point us to that secret place where God resides within.

And this secret place is where we truly find the faithfulness of God to us and encounter also the promise,
therefore, of resurrected life.

Lynn Hurry

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