Lesson 166 2021

Lesson 166 

I am entrusted with the gifts of God. 

1. All things are given you. ²God’s trust in you is limitless. ³He knows His Son. ⁴He gives without exception, holding nothing back that can contribute to your happiness. ⁵And yet, unless your will is one with His, His gifts are not received. ⁶But what would make you think there is another will than His? 

There is reality as God created it, and there is the world we made. They have nothing in common and only one is real. We choose the one we want to believe in and experience and we do that with each thought we choose to believe. When we begin to realize this is what’s happening, it might be scary because it can appear that we have so little control over our thoughts. And yet this must be an error. 

God knows us and trusts us so it must be that we can and will accept His gifts. To do so our wills must be one. We think that there are two wills, our will and the Will of God and we are loathed to relinquish our own will. Jesus is asking us to reconsider our position, not our desire to hold onto our own will, but the belief that there is any will other than the Will of God.  

2. Here is the paradox that underlies the making of the world. ²This world is not the Will of God, and so it is not real. ³Yet those who think it real must still believe there is another will, and one that leads to opposite effects from those He wills. ⁴Impossible indeed; but every mind that looks upon the world and judges it as certain, solid, trustworthy and true believes in two creators; or in one, himself alone. ⁵But never in one God. 

In the first stages of awakening, in those early days when we are just beginning to open our eyes and shake off the dreamy state we have long been in, it seems too far-fetched that there is no world. We want to believe it because there is a long forgotten memory in us that is stirring beneath the fog of forgetfulness. For a while, we tend to move back and forth between worlds as if they were both real and we were trying to make a real choice.  

3. The gifts of God are not acceptable to anyone who holds such strange beliefs. ²He must believe that to accept God’s gifts, however evident they may become, however urgently he may be called to claim them as his own, is to be pressed to treachery against himself. ³He must deny their presence, contradict the truth, and suffer to preserve the world he made. 

Regardless of how evident it might seem in your life that you are helpless against the tide of time and often helpless against the forces of the world, an innocent bystander caught up in things you had no hand in making, this is the world you chose to make. It is the world we all as one, chose to make. It is our beliefs that make it appear as if it is real.  

There is a resistance to releasing it no matter how evident that it is not what we really want. When I first started writing, I would start something and realize it was not expressing what I needed to convey and I would need to start over. But even the writing I rejected, I tended to hold onto as if deleting it would be a loss, as if I would be deleting myself.  

It was a weird feeling I didn’t want to think about too much. If I could become so attached to something so mundane and unimportant, and if I could confuse what I write with who I am, I can begin to understand why I cling to the world I made even if it no longer expresses what I want. I can also begin to make a different choice. 

4. Here is the only home he thinks he knows. ²Here is the only safety he believes that he can find. ³Without the world he made is he an outcast; homeless and afraid. ⁴He does not realize that it is here he is afraid indeed, and homeless, too; an outcast wandering so far from home, so long away, he does not realize he has forgotten where he came from, where he goes, and even who he really is. 

We are like amnesiacs who have forgotten who we are and where we came from. We live in a world far from home, not knowing who we are. We think we are human beings, bodies separate from each other in constant competition and unrelenting stress. But there is a memory that is rising to the surface and we can access that memory any time we want to. It is the memory of Home and the memory of Self. This is what is happening to us right now. 

5. Yet in his lonely, senseless wanderings, God’s gifts go with him, all unknown to him. ²He cannot lose them. ³But he will not look at what is given him. ⁴He wanders on, aware of the futility he sees about him everywhere, perceiving how his little lot but dwindles, as he goes ahead to nowhere. ⁵Still he wanders on in misery and poverty, alone though God is with him, and a treasure his so great that everything the world contains is valueless before its magnitude. 

6. He seems a sorry figure; weary, worn, in threadbare clothing, and with feet that bleed a little from the rocky road he walks. ²No one but has identified with him, for everyone who comes here has pursued the path he follows, and has felt defeat and hopelessness as he is feeling them. ³Yet is he really tragic, when you see that he is following the way he chose, and need but realize Who walks with him and open up his treasures to be free? 

And this is the saving grace. We are not forced to walk the world in poverty of spirit. We are free to make a different choice and we do so in little ways until we reach some sort of tipping point where we take a stronger stand and the choices are clearer and stronger. This is what is happening right now. 

7. This is your chosen self, the one you made as a replacement for reality. ²This is the self you savagely defend against all reason, every evidence, and all the witnesses with proof to show this is not you. ³You heed them not. ⁴You go on your appointed way, with eyes cast down lest you might catch a glimpse of truth, and be released from self-deception and set free. 

8. You cower fearfully lest you should feel Christ’s touch upon your shoulder, and perceive His gentle hand directing you to look upon your gifts. ²How could you then proclaim your poverty in exile? ³He would make you laugh at this perception of yourself. ⁴Where is self-pity then? ⁵And what becomes of all the tragedy you sought to make for him whom God intended only joy? 

Jesus is showing us in stark detail how truly awful is the world we made. We can hide this truth from ourselves and point to the beauty of the world and the kindness. We can hold our precious babies and think of the miracle they seem to be. We can be in awe of the natural wonders and rave at the awesome wonder of the great music and paintings. We can point to the scientific advancements and all the nifty gadgets we have made. And wonder how much more there is to come.  

And yet, we are afraid. We know that it can all go up in smoke at any moment. Our precious children might die. Our natural wonders might be destroyed. Nature turns on us. Our paintings and music can become lost to us, our scientific advancements often turn against us or are used for destructive purposes. Our greed is destroying the very planet we live on. There is nothing we have made in this world that is perfect or that doesn’t turn to dust. And no matter what parody of happiness we manage to carve out of this mess, we die. 

But that persistent memory that won’t leave us alone. That nudge from within that keeps moving us toward something else. Yes, that is the Christ, the Self that is gently shaking us awake from this nightmare, reminding us that we made this up but it is not eternal and we can choose again. We are so much more than this. We are that right now. 

9. Your ancient fear has come upon you now, and justice has caught up with you at last. ²Christ’s hand has touched your shoulder, and you feel that you are not alone. ³You even think the miserable self you thought was you may not be your Identity. ⁴Perhaps God’s Word is truer than your own. ⁵Perhaps His gifts to you are real. ⁶Perhaps He has not wholly been outwitted by your plan to keep His Son in deep oblivion, and go the way you chose without your Self. 

We are not now entirely lost in our illusory world. Our mind is opening and we are more receptive to the truth. We may even be considering the possibility that God’s Word is truer than our own. He says that He created us and that He holds us in His Mind safe and perfect. And maybe this is sinking in and taking hold in our mind. Maybe you are noticing this difference right now. 

10. God’s Will does not oppose. ²It merely is. ³It is not God you have imprisoned in your plan to lose your Self. ⁴He does not know about a plan so alien to His Will. ⁵There was a need He did not understand, to which He gave an Answer. ⁶That is all. ⁷And you who have this Answer given you have need no more of anything but this. 

11. Now do we live, for now we cannot die. ²The wish for death is answered, and the sight that looked upon it now has been replaced by vision which perceives that you are not what you pretend to be. ³One walks with you Who gently answers all your fears with this one merciful reply, “It is not so.” ⁴He points to all the gifts you have each time the thought of poverty oppresses you, and speaks of His Companionship when you perceive yourself as lonely and afraid. 

What is God’s Answer to the world we made? It is very simple; you are as God created you. You are that, still. Nothing we made can change that. Nothing we do, nothing we fear can alter what God created. We are loved and cherished by our Creator and we are held safe in Him. Right here, right now, this is true. This is all that is true. 

12. Yet He reminds you still of one thing more you had forgotten. ²For His touch on you has made you like Himself. ³The gifts you have are not for you alone. ⁴What He has come to offer you, you now must learn to give. ⁵This is the lesson that His giving holds, for He has saved you from the solitude you sought to make in which to hide from God. ⁶He has reminded you of all the gifts that God has given you. ⁷He speaks as well of what becomes your will when you accept these gifts, and recognize they are your own. 

13. The gifts are yours, entrusted to your care, to give to all who chose the lonely road you have escaped. ²They do not understand they but pursue their wishes. ³It is you who teach them now. ⁴For you have learned of Christ there is another way for them to walk. ⁵Teach them by showing them the happiness that comes to those who feel the touch of Christ, and recognize God’s gifts. ⁶Let sorrow not tempt you to be unfaithful to your trust. 

As our mind heals and we learn to turn to the Holy Spirit in all things rather than to the ego, we learn to accept God’s gifts of joy, love, and peace. It then becomes our responsibility and our joy to give as we have been given. There are still many who are lost in their dreams and they need to see what it looks like to awaken. Even when we are just in the early stages of awakening we can share what we have accomplished so far.  

We can do this in our sharing in groups and in writing and speaking. We can do it when a group is gossiping and we turn away or speak up about something admirable about the object of the speculation. We can do it when everyone is upset and we choose to let the peace of God envelop us instead of “catching” the anxiety around us. Just as we can feel and sometimes pick up anxiety from others, so can they pick up our peace. We share the gifts of God best through living a life of peace and happiness, showing others what they can have. 

14. Your sighs will now betray the hopes of those who look to you for their release. ²Your tears are theirs. ³If you are sick, you but withhold their healing. ⁴What you fear but teaches them their fears are justified. ⁵Your hand becomes the giver of Christ’s touch; your change of mind becomes the proof that who accepts God’s gifts can never suffer anything. ⁶You are entrusted with the world’s release from pain. 

15. Betray it not. ²Become the living proof of what Christ’s touch can offer everyone. ³God has entrusted all His gifts to you. ⁴Be witness in your happiness to how transformed the mind becomes which chooses to accept His gifts, and feel the touch of Christ. ⁵Such is your mission now. ⁶For God entrusts the giving of His gifts to all who have received them. ⁷He has shared His joy with you. ⁸And now you go to share it with the world. 

(ACIM, W-166.1:1–15:8) 

And if we have not come so far on our path as to be always healthy and always happy, then let us share our process and our certainty that the truth is true no matter what seems to be happening.  

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