Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
Lesson 65 My only function is the one God gave me.
- The idea for today reaffirms your commitment to Salvation. It also reminds you that you have no function other than this. Both these thoughts are obviously necessary for a total commitment. Salvation cannot be the only purpose you hold while you still cherish others. The full acceptance of Salvation as your only function necessarily entails two phases: the recognition of Salvation as your function, and the relinquishment of all the other goals you have invented for yourself.
- This is the only way in which you can take your rightful place among the saviors of the world. This is the only way in which you can say and mean, my only function is the one God gave me. This is the only way in which you can find peace of mind.
- Today, and for a number of days to follow, set aside 10 to 15 minutes for a more sustained practice, in which you try to understand and accept what the idea for the day really means. Today’s idea offers you escape from all your perceived difficulties. It places the key to the door of peace, which you have closed up on yourself, in your own hands. It gives you the answer to all the searching you have done since time began.
- Try, if possible, to undertake the daily extended practice periods at approximately the same time each day. Try also to determine this time in advance, and then adhere to it as closely as possible. The purpose of this is to arrange your day so that you have set apart the time for God, as well as for all the trivial purposes and goals you will pursue. This is part of the long-range disciplinary training your mind needs so that the Holy Spirit can use it consistently for the purpose He shares with you.
- For the longer practice period begin by reviewing the idea for the day. Then close your eyes, repeat the idea to yourself once again, and watch your mind carefully to catch whatever thoughts cross it. At first, make no attempt to concentrate only on thoughts related to that idea for the day. Rather, try to uncover each thought that arises to interfere with it. Note each one as it comes to you, with as little involvement or concern as possible, dismissing each one by telling yourself: This thought reflects a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function.
- After a while, interfering thoughts will become harder to find. Try, however, to continue a minute or so longer, attempting to catch a few of the idle thoughts that escaped your attention before, but do not strain or make undue effort in doing this. Then tell yourself: On this clean slate, let my true function be written for me. You need not use these exact words but try to get the sense of being willing to have your illusions of purpose be replaced by truth.
- Finally, repeat the idea for today once more, and devote the rest of the practice period to trying to focus on its importance to you, the relief its acceptance will bring you by resolving your conflicts once and for all, and the extent to which you really want Salvation in spite of your own foolish ideas to the contrary.
- In the shorter practice periods, which should be undertaken at least once an hour, use this form in applying today’s idea: My only function is the one God gave me. I want no other, and I have no other. Sometimes close your eyes as you practice this and sometimes keep them open and look about you. It is what you see now that will be totally changed when you accept today’s idea completely.
Notes and Personal Application (2019): First fifteen-minute meditation – I will watch my mind carefully to catch whatever thoughts cross it. Any thought that interferes with today’s idea, I will type in with my eyes closed and remember to dismiss it by saying: This thought represents a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function. So here goes:
My only function is the one that God gave me. But what about cooking, I really like cooking. This thought about cooking reflects a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function.
But what about James and me and our marriage? There is so much function involved in all that. This thought about James and me, and our marriage reflects a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function.
But what about walking Hadrian’s Wall? It is one of the main things on my bucket list. This thought about walking Hadrian’s Wall is preventing me from accepting my only function.
But what about finishing Grover Good and the Stone Chateau, oh the time that is going to take. And that big blank page that I have to face. It just saps me as much as it calls to me. I feel terrible that I have not looked at it for so long. And I love Grover so much. He is one of my favorite characters. Why can’t I do this? This thought about Grover Good reflects a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function.
I can’t wait to watch our show tonight – what is it called, oh yeah, Lark Rise to Candleford…This thought about watching “our show” is preventing me from accepting my only function.
I do not like this exercise. It seems so trite or something to me, I already am studying this Course and have dedicated this year to studying the Course and applying myself to the teaching. I am taking time out of my day each day to do the lesson and to study the text. I am sharing what I learn, and I think about it during the day. So to hit me with this idea that this is all I can do and that this is the only thing that I am supposed to do is a bit of a stretch for me at this time. Of course, I want to be saved, and I want to save others, and that goes without saying, but I have to eat, and I have other things that I do while I am in this body and on this earth. I really think that the only way that this lesson will ever make sense to me (at least to my understanding at this time) is that I take God with me everywhere I go and in whatever I am doing – in my marriage, in my writing, in my cooking, in my trips and in my home and in my friendships. My function within each of the things I do to make a living, to love and care for my family, friends, animals, and so forth, is Salvation. It doesn’t mean that I do not do anything else, or that I get so obsessed about Salvation that I can’t laugh or have fun or care about anything else, I just care more because I am about Salvation. That is the only way I can ever really become a teacher of the Course is if this is what it means. Because nope, I am not going to have my nose in the Bible and go about quoting Scripture at people and acting the holy one in my relationships with others or even myself.
Oh, okay, I will get back to the training. These thoughts of defense against the lesson today represent a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function. These thoughts are thoughts that represent how the ego tries to define what my only function is. I can let go of all that and let the Lord show me what my function is – how could I ever be happy with all the loose ends of all my split-up functions anyway.
I do not oppose the function to which God gave me. If God gives me a function, that should be the only one I really want. The heck with all these other things I think are just as important.
I do not oppose the Will of God…
The timer went off, and I was so relieved. This lesson stirred up my resistance and made me very uncomfortable. I started to see why my mother became so obsessed with doing God’s Will, and I realize now that I blame ideas such as this on what has always struck me as contributing to her disorder.
I committed to studying the Course for one year and doing my best to apply the lesson ideas respectfully but also experimentally. I am studying the study of the Course and keeping honest notes on the process and the outcomes in an ongoing kind of way. If I feel that it helps draw me closer to God, I will continue to study it at the end of the year. I hope the study will shed some light on what has always concerned me about what happened to my dear mother, how she went down the rabbit hole that she called serving God but was experienced more like terrible mental anguish and insensible burden.
This lesson disturbed me in that I felt I touched upon the worrisome attitudes in which my mother tried her best to do God’s Will. Although she had astounding vision, fortitude, inspiration, and truth, on the one hand, was it her ego that gave her the ideas of being singled out and above all others? Was it the ego that tricked her into thinking holiness was wearing dresses a certain length and avoiding wearing jewelry and lipstick and condemning everybody else who did? Why would she express regret over her marriage and motherhood, and believe that our family hindered God’s Will in her life? What is troubling me about today’s idea – am I afraid, because of the influence that has made the starkest impact upon me to say, “My only function is the one God gave me,” because I do not want to follow her into that chaotic, disorganized, and disturbing way in which to serve God? Is she a good example of someone who has dedicated her life to God, or had she been listening to the wrong voice? And if it was the wrong voice, how can I be sure that I am not listening to the wrong voice?
Notes and Personal Application (2020): In this morning’s devotional, I was struck that here we are, the two of us, reading and understanding the lesson together. While we were still getting our coffee, James began discussing the differences between guys like Jeffrey Epstein and Bill Clinton who used their intelligence, power, wealth, and influence for sexually preying upon the pretty, young, and ignorant and a fellow like Bill Gates, who along with his life’s partner, Melinda, uses his gifts for developing technological advances for the betterment of mankind. “Think of what they could have done instead,” he exclaimed.
We discussed how the story would have ended much more happily for all of us if Jeffrey and Bill had shown light instead of being so creepy. They could have led a path out of sexual slavery, poverty, and the shame and remorse that goes with it. Those who are now yammering for retribution would be calling them their saviors, their heroes, their friends. Jeffrey may still be alive and appreciated instead of blackmailed. If not, his memory would be revered by scores of the ones he had helped. He saved me from the streets! He paid for my college education! He found loving people who took me in and became my family! He gave me a job and provided me with what I needed to get started on my business. He showed me that men can be godly, pure of heart, and not driven by lust and corruption. Imagine his legacy of joy, gratitude, and hope.
We discussed our own stories of believing that out of wrongness could come something that completed our happiness. When we read our lesson and my notes and personal process from last year, it was evident to me that I now have a deeper understanding of why my only function is the one God gave me. Of course, it is the only one I want!
This year I am much more inclined to go the next step and say, “Upon this clean slate, let my true function be written for me.” This year I can say with my whole heart: My only function is the one God gave me. I want no other, and I have no other.”
The lessons I have learned and the experiences I have gone through, both positive and negative, have taught me that I will never find the peace, the joy, the love in any other function. Nothing will tempt me to delay myself from accepting as my one and only – the function in which God has given me!
My worries about falling down a similar rabbit hole that I judged my mother as having plummeted – gone. My concerns about having to cross off some much coveted and dearly cherished experiences from my bucket list – gone. My fears about not being able to fulfill my pleasant, pleasing functions as partner, mother, grandmother, friend, and relative – gone. My worries about not being able to laugh and have fun and tease and be teased – gone. When I stopped worrying about what I might be asked to give up and began to learn (two steps forward, one step back at a time) to trust in God, to believe in His love and devotion to me, I experienced love, peace, and joy. My worries and concerns about the past, the special relationships, and judgments attached to the past have been transformed into invaluable object lessons that only experiential learning can achieve in one’s understanding.
James and I discussed some situations in our own lives that, without our new understanding, would fill us with the most poignant regret. When we first began our return to God, we were under the mistaken view that when we stood up in church and said the sinner’s prayer, we were automatically saved and that whatever we said and did after that had God’s blessing upon it. Sadly, we who are in bodies are still bound by our egos. Just because we became less selfish; just because we prayed and read our devotionals every morning; just because we professed Jesus in our lives, we still managed to hurt ourselves and others. By judging, condemning, and speaking ill of others, we convicted ourselves. There is a dangerous element in professing salvation under the ignorant assumption that there is no spiritual work or training required to be the light of the world!
We realized that we were still leaving train wrecks behind us even as the Christians we were now professing ourselves to be. There is nothing like facing one’s narcissism and realizing that there is not a thing you are capable of doing about it. It is very tempting to say, Oh I must be one of those poor souls who have stepped across the line of God’s love. I am the 101st sheep, the one born in the bushes, hidden from the love and tender care of the Shepherd. The one that even Jesus does not have the power to change. The inability we had to love people who did not “deserve” it, to be kind to those who would take advantage, cause us undue inconvenience, or not appreciate all we did for them, seemed to be a roadblock to our salvation. Here was Christ calling us to love; here we were saying, “Well, we try, but we cannot do it. Sorry Jesus. You say love; we say – can barely tolerate.”
The year I spent steeped in the course showed me how to truly love everybody! I found Jesus, and when I found Jesus, I found my true self. The past Eckie, with all her mixed-up views, blighted opinions, and divided loyalties, represents the goals that prevented me from accepting my only function. The special relationships that had filled my mind so completely that I did not hear the call of truth – are now given to Holy Spirit to transform into holy relationships that recall the truth with me.
When Holy Spirit first transformed a special relationship from childhood into a holy one, I had little inkling how Linda’s role in recalling the truth with me would be so critical to my return to God. I could not go without her!
James, after witnessing the growth and understanding within me, is now engaged in the training with me. I could never return to God without him.
Here’s the thing – I cannot return to God without you – whoever you are! There is a place in God’s Kingdom in which you and you alone can fill. As much as our egos may want to send the Jeffrey Epstein’s of the world to an even more hellish realm than the one we have now – we cannot go without him. If my slate is washed clean, everyone’s slate is wiped clean! Tabula rasa. We are the light of the world, and this is our only function. It is the function God gave us. Let us bring all other thoughts to Holy Spirit and let our true function be written upon the tabula rasa. When we accept today’s idea completely, we will see everything through the eyes of love.