No Sacrifice Required

Occasionally, I hear from students who fear that they will be asked by the Holy Spirit to make some great sacrifice. I, too, used to wait to be crucified. Despite what A Course in Miracles says about no sacrifice being required, I couldn’t shake the expectation that at some point the Holy Spirit was going to ask something greatly torturous of me. I didn’t know what form that would take – physical, mental, emotional, or some combination of these – but the belief that sacrifice is required to spiritually awaken was deeply imbedded in my mind. I finally had to fully confront it when I went through the ‘period of relinquishment’, because this was the stage where I found myself having an incredible willingness to step back and let the Holy Spirit lead the way. My expectation of suffering was an obstacle I had to overcome, then.

This belief took me some time to work out. It was really a matter of trusting the Holy Spirit day-by-day, and finding that, in fact, I was never asked to sacrifice. I found, too, that the Holy Spirit worked with me, not against me. Sure, I’m not really a personal self, but I didn’t know that, so the Holy Spirit used my personal inclinations and abilities to teach me that I am not a personal self. For example, I’ve been writing since I was ten years old, so the Holy Spirit has taught me through my writing. I have an innate understanding and interest in of human psychology, so the Holy Spirit has used that to teach me by guiding me to become a life coaching and mentor for students of the Course. I wanted a home of my own, a life-partner, to be self-employed, to work out of my home – I have all of these, and the Holy Spirit has used my desire for these to teach me. The Holy Spirit never took anything away; the Holy Spirit simply transformed everything I wanted into a means for my awakening.

And now, looking back, I see how this makes perfect sense. Why would the Holy Spirit work against what I thought was me, rather than with what I thought was me? Isn’t it more Loving for the Holy Spirit to teach me through what I think that I naturally have and want, then to try and force me to be something else, or to give up what I think that I desire? I’m certainly far less resistant this way, and therefore less afraid. I’m certain that the Holy Spirit has no desire to struggle with me! Oh, sure, the personal mind has still found ways to bring fear in and make me resistant, but it is only in anticipation that I fear; in executing whatever the Holy Spirit has asked of me, I have never found fear to be justified. In fact, I’ve always found it to be very easy, because I just show up and the Holy Spirit does it all! I have never been required to sacrifice or suffer in any way. And even when something must fall away, I always find that it is to make room for something of much greater value to me.
It is so clear to me now how ideas like sacrifice, struggle, and suffering are ideas only of the personal mind, not of God. How Loving that, to teach me to go with Its Flow, the Holy Spirit first flowed with me. It has all unfolded so very naturally and easily for me that often I cannot sort out now what is my personal desire and what is the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Sometimes, it seems like the Holy Spirit takes over my personal desires for Its purposes; sometimes, I’m so willing that what the Holy Spirit’s guides me to do becomes my own desire. Over time, the line between ‘me’ and the Holy Spirit has blurred, and this is no sacrifice, but the beginning of Joy!

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Read The Message of A Course in Miracles: A translation of the Text in plain language at www.themessageofacim.com.

Comments

Jo Chandler said…
Good morning, Liz,
I listened to your phone class yestereday, followed by reading this morning's article, and was both inspired and comforted. I have a rocky 20+-year relationship that I somehow thought I had to figure out. I vascillate between wanting to walk out and wishing the other person would vanish. I have been filled with anger and hatred, which, of course, creates guilt and the belief that I must be crucified. I have done every forgiveness exercise in the book, over and over and over. Still, in my ego mind, there was no answer that didn't include pain and suffering on both our parts.

Then I listened to your phone recording yesterday, followed by reading your article this morning. What a relief. I am a serious Course student. I believe with all my heart in God's love and Holy Spirit's guidance. Why had I forgotten to invite HS into my relationship? So I have and I will continue to do so, remembering that I do not have to be crucified, that God and HS want my happiness (and my partner's). And for the first time, I feel peace, knowing that Holy Spirit will take this relationship and use it for God's good.

Also, I was confused because my first passion in life doesn't seem so holy, but your article points out that HS takes everything we do and love and uses it for God's good.

Well, I've shared way too much, but I wanted you to know how important your work is to me.

Thanks, Liz.
jandvig@optonline.net said…
Hi Liz,

Something was revealed to me this week in my Course studying, and I wanted to share it here.

I never really got the idea that we can't be saved alone. I was confused about forgiving everyone because they're only dream figures (and all One in Reality anyway), but at the same time needing them so that I can extend God's Love.

I think what I heard in the Holy Spirit's voice is that I can only experience God's peace in sharing it (teaching it, living it, with everyone else), not by myself just knowing the Truth.

When you said the HS gave you talents for His purpose, I can begin to see why I needed to suddenly become a yoga teacher at age 46. It is the only thing I can do well enough to share His Love and message. Just knowing God is Real myself is not enough and will not provide salvation.

Please help me with your clear understanding of this.

In gratitude,
Janet
ACIM Mentor said…
Janet, I did not say that the HS gave me talents for Its purpose, but that the HS used the natural talents and abilities I had personally. This is what the Course means by the HS uses what we made for separation to lead us back to an awareness of Oneness.

What you will learn as you teach, Janet, is that your mind is not limited to what you think of as 'you' - your mind is also behind all that you perceive. That's why you cannot be saved without what you perceive; it's you, too. There is no 'Janet' and 'a world'.

But this awareness will come as you learn that you can decide what to perceive - separation or Oneness. The physical world is neutral; you provide the meaning that it has for you. You can choose to see it as 'proof' of separation from God, or you can overlook it and see Oneness instead.
jandvig#optonline.net said…
Just when I think I know something, I realize I don't know anything.
I am so grateful to percieve you, Liz. You always point me to Truth.
Janet
Crona Spicer said…
Hello Liz

I was searching for some guidance on what 'job' to do next whilst struggling with my notion that I can't hear HS. I am just about to move home and getting a divorce (mutual but still a wrench) and I found your lovely page on sacrifice, or the fact that it is not of God. I also read about Nouk Sanchez's exercise on facing my fear of God which helped.
I seem to be getting to the point in my life where I am making decisions based on my heart's desire rather than what I 'ought' to do if you see what I mean. But the guilt and conflict with choosing a career that is creative rather than project management (where the money is!) is throwing up guilt and doubt on a grand scale.

Your advice is much appreciated.
Crona, Oxfordshire
ACIM Mentor said…
Crona, it is typical for students on a spiritual path to find themselves choosing a more authentic life in the world. The reason for this is that an inauthentic life is chosen because of guilt and shame. One made choices based on "should" instead of on what is authentic. Embarking on a true spiritual path they begin to be freed of guilt and find themselves liberated to make authentic choices. This is why new students of ACIM often find themselves going through a period of disruption: divorce, foreclosure, bankruptcy, career changes, etc. Their outer life is aligning with their new values.

So some guilt must be lifting from your mind, but clearly not all of it. Guilt is the primary obstacle to peace and takes a long time to fully work out. But you can be assured that your current choices are natural for someone who has chosen a path away from guilt.

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