Friends,

     I am hesitant to introduce a big, unruly topic, but I would love to hear your own experiences with this, if you feel interested in discussing.

     What is your experience of accepting and acting on a divine guidance that specifically mortifies your ego?   I imagine that for some people this might be the choice to come out as a gay person, or a leading to go to seminary.  Sometimes it is mortifying in big ways, sometimes in small.  I imagine that for many people there is something they are even now aware that they are fighting God over, wishing to not give over, etc...   Frequently we are adept at even blocking this awareness on a subconscious level so we get to go along meaning well for years but not doing the brave thing we have been nudged to do all along...

     For me, the relationship to power is  particularly challenging.  I could easily see and accept (in some way) a path in which God has in mind for me to keep my mouth shut, be endlessly patient and long-suffering, defer to others, etc.  My theology has fully prepared me to embrace powerlessness in the name of God... and these mortifications are important parts of the spiritual path.

     But there are also the times when we are led to express something outward by doing or saying something that we may recognize on some level has real goodness or divine power -- or will require that to pull it off....        This is certainly a moment when I freeze and get overwhelmed with self-consciousness and hardly any Good power can still come through because I'm so mortified.  I feel at those times that my personal theology is not prepared to allow me to be any part of what God is doing.   I feel more prepared emotionally to shut down my participation in such a thing -- freeze and run....trying to be a "good Christian" or something -- which at that point seems to mean being nonconfrontational and playing  it safe instead.

     Clearly Quaker history is packed with choices to act bravely and to speak truth, and yet I -- and I suspect some other Quakers -- are the nonconfrontational sort quick to choose passivity to external authority over passionate engagement directed by our inner Light, however nonviolently.

     What spiritual inspiration can we take from one another to help us at these times?   Or from particular historical figures in the Quaker movement?   What are the secrets that help a person to move through this, staying completely out of God's way and allowing whatever is trying to happen to happen with even our help if we are so led? When you've had to take a stand on anything, or to act even without words in some manner that is facing down the darkness, how do you keep strong for this?

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