“The LORD is my shepherd:…he leadeth me beside the still waters.”

You may have noticed the title of my book has changed too, “Out of Darkness, Into the Light.” I’m getting closer to having it published.

Audio from PLIR Prayerful Living Internet Radio. https://prayerfulliving.com/healingmusic/inspiration-weekly.html.

“Below is a bonus podcast titled “After this manner Pary Ye.”

The LORD is my shepherd:…he leadeth me beside the still waters….Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” I’m sure you all recognize that as part of the 23rd psalm.  

God is not fluctuating between misery and joy. He is constant good and constant love, and as His image and likeness, we reflect His goodness and love. I know it doesn’t seem like it at times, but in truth, we are like Him; He is not like us. 😊

Years ago, where I worked, I learned a business process called ‘root cause analysis,’ which has been an immense help in my personal life.  Problem-solving is the result of this process. Finding the root cause is only to identify the error. It is not used for blame and finger-pointing. That never solved a problem, and only causes hurt feelings and anger; it certainly is not an expression of love. It’s use is to implement corrective action.

Jesus was a master problem solver and always did it with love. He never shook his finger at someone and told them to get their thinking right, or they would never find happiness or health. He inspired people by example and parables and let people find their own way. You can’t be shamed or forced into finding your way, it comes through inspiration.

As I look back on my life, I discovered which TV shows, books, and people inspired me, and which ones made me feel worse. I learned not to listen to things that brought me down and found friends that inspired me to do better.

I thought my past was the root cause of my problems; then I realized it was not my past that needed to be solved; it is done, over, nothing could change it. What is more important is that I needed to see where I was going now and solve the problems along the way that I believed came from my past, but now appeared to be a present reality. I had to decide if I wanted to live in God’s creation of love and harmony or continue living in a flawed misconception of life, where things are unpredictable and often chaotic. It was an easy choice; I want peace and harmony, who wouldn’t.

I recently read a blog talking about the shepherd as a problem solver. Sheep have a fear of moving waters because they can’t swim well, ‘root cause.’ When the only drinking water available was moving waters, the shepherd used rocks to block the water, making an area of still waters. Problem solved. He did not berate or think less of the sheep for their fear or their inability to swim well; he just solved the problem.

That line in the 23rd Psalm about being lead beside the still waters makes more sense to me now, because I understand why the still waters were so important. The shepherd did for the sheep as God does for us. He makes our path safe by leading us beside the still waters. Unlike animals, we need to face our fear to solve the problem. Just stopping the waters does not prevent them from coming up again. To solve the problem, we need to eliminate the root cause, the fear.

Years ago, struggling with the effects of child abuse, trying to find my way free from my fears, I found myself working for a man with a personality much like my father who abused me. He was abrasive and talked down to me all the time. I was unable to brush off his disrespect.  I would go home in tears often. I would be angry and hurt. Most of what he said and did, had nothing to do with me or anything I had done. I did not know how to fight back. I was afraid of him, afraid if I did or said anything, he would retaliate.  This situation happened early in my spiritual education while trying, so hard, to learn how to use metaphysics to demonstrate the resolution of human problems.

At last, what I was learning about God and Jesus kicked in and I knew I needed God’s help, so I prayed. I was learning about a different kind of prayer that I’d had some success with. It was that prayer that led me to the root cause.

Prayer for me always starts by declaring who God is, then stating my relationship to him as his child and what that means.   Then I acknowledge that Christ is still here in my life, teaching me and leading me down the right path.  Then I expose the error in my thinking and deny its reality and put out of thought anything that tries to turn me away from God. Then I reaffirm God and my relation to Him. “For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever.” That is the bases of my prayer, as stated in last week’s podcast. 😊

After praying about the problem, the still small voice came to me with words of comfort that put me in a state of mind where I could see things differently.

Following is an excerpt from my, as yet unpublished book. I hope it will be coming out soon.

“There was another incident, and I don’t remember all the details, but what I do remember made me feel good. I had at last done the right thing. Leo was his usual self and was hollering at me about something, when it occurred to me as God’s image, I reflected his courage and his strength, that I was not a child anymore, and I didn’t have to sit there and take his abuse. I felt the fear lift; I stood up, turned my back, and headed for the door. He jumped up and shouted, “Don’t you turn your back on me.”

I heard him move and turned just in time to see him catch himself. He had raised his hand and was about to hit me. I looked him straight in the eyes and said nothing; there was nothing to say. I think the look on my face said it all.

I felt compassion for this man, maybe even love. He was doing the best he could, but for me, all the anger, the frustration, and wanting to strike back were gone. I was free. I was able to see past the angry man to the man God created, the good man in his likeness. Now that didn’t mean I suddenly liked him. I didn’t like his human personality, but I knew, under that, he was a good man, and he hadn’t been able to bring that man out. Just as I had not been able, in the past, to bring out the goodness in me, how could I judge him?

I think I had just learned what it meant to love your enemy. I was starting to understand not only my relationship but everyone’s relationship with God. We are all here in this experience, struggling to find the goodness, both in ourselves and others. Some of us are doing better than others, but that does not change the fact that we are all created equal as God’s beloved children. That is our spiritual essence, and when we discover that and understand what it means, it changes us. We see everything around us differently.

I just turned then and left the vault. Leo knew it was over. He never talked to me disrespectfully again, and a little bonus here, that was when I truly forgave my father.”

It took me a lot of years to do that, but it got done. That was the turning point in my book, the first time in my life that I was able to stand up for myself, because I knew I had God’s support and I felt safe.

As you can see, all I needed to do humanly was turn my back on the lie about who Leo was, and when I turned back, I looked past the angry man and saw the man of God’s creation. Not one word was exchanged. There was no retaliation. It was over.

The root cause was that I had never forgiven my father and lived in constant fear of retaliation. Forgiveness is not about the other person; it happened when I gave up my anger, frustration, and desire to strike back. I realized that what was true about me was true about everyone, including my father and Leo. We are all God’s beloved children, though in different stages of spiritual evolution.

I learned that the root cause is always mental; it is not a thing or someone else. It is not easy because it’s all about us, and sometimes we don’t want to admit we are holding to a mistaken idea or belief.  It is easier to put the blame somewhere else, as I did for many years. Hey, my problems were because of my father’s abuse. Well, I wasn’t a child anymore and I had to take responsibility for myself. The source of my problems was usually an unresolved issue like forgiveness, fear, guilt, or an unnecessary burden I carried. I found I couldn’t hide from them; they follow me around until I identify them. It was not my past; it is my present. Identifying the problem and turning it over to God lifted me up and left me in a place of peace and harmony.

I was learning that the life of Jesus was the solution to the problems of human existence. He showed us the way to salvation. Jesus’ parables, the beatitudes, the Lord’s prayer, the sermon on the mount gives us all we need to solve our problems. None of this means that we will never have obstacles in our path, but they give us the tools to solve our problems and find peace and harmony.

“Who would stand before a blackboard, and pray the principle of mathematics to solve the problem? The rule is already established, and it is our task to work out the solution. Shall we ask the divine Principle of all goodness to do His own work? His work is done, and we have only to avail ourselves of God’s rule in order to receive His blessing, which enables us to work out our own salvation.”

(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 3:4)

So, go out there and be a problem solver; it will change your life.

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