ACIM Lesson 42 God is my strength. Vision is His gift.
God is my strength. Vision is His gift.
ACIM Lesson 42
God is my strength. Vision is His gift.
1. The idea for today combines two very powerful thoughts, both of major importance. ²It also sets forth a cause and effect relationship that explains why you cannot fail in your efforts to achieve the goal of the course. ³You will see because it is the Will of God. ⁴It is His strength, not your own, that gives you power. ⁵And it is His gift, rather than your own, that offers vision to you.
2. God is indeed your strength, and what He gives is truly given. ²This means that you can receive it any time and anywhere, wherever you are, and in whatever circumstance you find yourself. ³Your passage through time and space is not at random. ⁴You cannot but be in the right place at the right time. ⁵Such is the strength of God. ⁶Such are His gifts.
The one concern I hear most often is the fear of failure to do what is asked of us. The idea of Christ’s Vision is especially confusing since it is not well understood at first. Students are often afraid they will never be able to do this. This lesson puts that fear to rest as it explains why we will succeed. We will succeed because it is the Will of God. We don’t have to depend on our own understanding or our own strength. It is His strength that gives us the power to awaken to our Self.
Using Christ’s Vision
God gave all of Himself to us in our creation so we have the strength of God. We have it all the time and in every situation. We can trust this and to prove that trust, we only need to use it. I have probably talked about this experience before but it is the best example I have. When visiting my son one weekend, I asked the Holy Spirit to help me see him through Christ’s Vision. We had a lot of history and I didn’t want the past interfering with my vision of him now.
Just before I left, he and I were sitting on the couch just chatting about things. Suddenly, I looked into his eyes and I got a glimpse of who he is. If I put it into words, I would say that I saw such beauty, kindness, warmth, and love. It brings tears to my eyes just to think of it. What I saw made me think that this would be like looking into Jesus’ eyes. It was as if my Self looked into His Self for just a moment. I wish I had better words to describe this experience.
Clearly, his eyes didn’t change and show me something new and I didn’t see this with my eyes although it came through my eyes. But it was such a profound experience that I will never forget it. I am aware of the self of my son, what it typically does and speaks. But I am also aware that this is not him. I know it is not him because I “met” him on that couch on that weekend visit. This experience helped me to understand the difference between seeing and vision. It also helps me remember that we are not our stories. This reminds me when someone appears to be unkind or unloving that I should look again. This time I should look with Vision.
Your Life Is Not at Random
The strength of God is ours at any time, anywhere, and under any circumstances. Jesus also tells us that our passage through time and space is not at random. Thank God for that! It has often felt like I was on my own, alone in my life even when surrounded by others. Even after I began my study of the Course, I felt alone in all that was asked of me.
That is why I developed the connection with the Holy Spirit, so that I felt like I had help. I could ask questions and receive answers and that was so helpful. But the world is a scary place and so it is also helpful to know that I am always exactly where I need to be. And I am not alone here. God goes with me where I go because God is in my mind. It is His gift to me along with His strength that makes it possible for me to use His gifts.
Beginning the Practice
3. We will have two three-to-five-minute practice periods today, one as soon as possible after you wake, and another as close as possible to the time you go to sleep. ²It is better, however, to wait until you can sit quietly by yourself, at a time when you feel ready, than it is to be concerned with the time as such.
4. Begin these practice periods by repeating the idea for today slowly, with your eyes open, looking about you. ²Then close your eyes and repeat the idea again, even slower than before. ³After this, try to think of nothing except thoughts that occur to you in relation to the idea for the day. ⁴You might think, for example:
⁵Vision must be possible. ⁶God gives truly,
⁷God’s gifts to me must be mine, because He gave them to me.
You Know More than You Think
5. Any thought that is clearly related to the idea for today is suitable. ²You may, in fact, be astonished at the amount of course-related understanding some of your thoughts contain. ³Let them come without censoring unless you find your mind is merely wandering, and you have let obviously irrelevant thoughts intrude. ⁴You may also reach a point where no thoughts at all seem to come to mind. ⁵If such interferences occur, open your eyes and repeat the thought once more while looking slowly about; close your eyes, repeat the idea once more, and then continue to look for related thoughts in your mind.
I remember when I hadn’t been studying the Course for very long and it seemed as if I wasn’t doing much with it. In fact, I would read for a while and then realize my mind had wandered and I didn’t know what I was reading. Also, even though I loved reading the Text, I would seldom remember what I had read. I was feeling particularly discouraged at this when one night I had a dream.
I dreamed that I was speaking to an older relative about the Course. She was asking me questions about it and I was answering her like a pro! I woke up in the middle of this dream and was astounded at what I knew. That information faded from memory but I wasn’t worried. I knew it was in my mind and I trusted that it would come forward when it was needed.
A Unified thought System
6. Remember, however, that active searching for relevant thoughts is not appropriate for today’s exercises. ²Try merely to step back and let the thoughts come. ³If you find this difficult, it is better to spend the practice period alternating between slow repetitions of the idea with eyes open, then with eyes closed, than it is to strain to find suitable thoughts.
7. There is no limit on the number of short practice periods that would be beneficial today. ²The idea for the day is a beginning step in bringing thoughts together, and teaching you that you are studying a unified thought system in which nothing is lacking that is needed, and nothing is included that is contradictory or irrelevant.
8. The more often you repeat the idea during the day, the more often you will be reminding yourself that the goal of the course is important to you, and that you have not forgotten it.
Jesus emphasizes the importance of this lesson. We can’t do this lesson too often. In so doing we are teaching ourselves that it is a unified thought system. It has everything we need and nothing in it is irrelevant or contradictory. Let us use this lesson as often as we can. We need to remind ourselves of how important this is.
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