Accepting Our Part

"And God said, 'I have seen the miserable state of my people in Egypt. I have heard their appeal to be free...I am aware of their sufferings. I mean to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians and bring them out of that land to a land rich and broad, a land where milk and honey flow...The cry of the sons of Israel has come unto me... So come, I send you to Pharaoh to bring the sons of Israel, my people, out of Egypt.' But Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt? And God answered, 'I will be with You.'" - Exodus 3:7-12

When God revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush and told Moses that he was to lead the Israelites out of their bondage into freedom, Moses' immediate, automatic response was,

"Who am I to do this? I'm nobody!" And God reassured him, simply, "I will be with you."

There are times in each of our lives when we are called in some way to move forward on our spiritual journey, called to say yes to what is demanded by our healing and growth, called to accept and fulfill God's Will in our lives as it becomes clear to us. And we are called without necessarily feeling that we are up to the challenge, without knowing if or how we could possibly succeed.

Moses can be an interesting and helpful example for us on our journey. He was such a human figure—given to angry outbursts, filled with self-doubts and fears, hindered even by a speech impediment.

Nonetheless he heard and responded to God's call to him to help free his brothers and sisters from their suffering. Despite his doubts and fears, he said yes to the call. He moved forward in faith that the strength and power of God would accomplish through him whatever needed to be done.

The Course points out that "revelation induces complete but temporary suspension of doubt and fear," and Moses is certainly an example of this. Even after his profound experience of revelation, he doubted, each time he faltered, or became afraid and discouraged, he brought his fears and doubts and concerns to God.

Each time he was answered, assured again of God's presence and the certainty of outcome of God's Will. And he would continue on—to falter again and again, yet also growing in faith and status and authority—toward fulfilling the function God had given him.

Each one of us has a function to fulfill here, given us by God. Jewish mystical tradition teaches that we are Shutov Elohim, God's partners, in extending and completing the creation.

Stephen Mitchell, in his beautiful work The Gospel According to Jesus, offers a fascinating and unusual slant on this idea of what it might mean to help God "complete creation." He renders the famous passage at the beginning of Genesis in this way:

"God completes the work of creation by entering the Sabbath mind, the mind of absolute, joyous serenity; contemplates the whole universe and says, 'Behold, it is very good.'" -Stephen Mitchell

The Course teaches that we each have a "special function”—an indispensable part to play in God's plan for the healing and awakening of His sleeping sons and daughters. It should be stated clearly that, within the framework of the Course, this liberation occurs not through trying to change the conditions of the outer world but through the healing of our own minds.

Our task is to attain this state of mind that Mitchell calls "the Sabbath mind." This is the state of mind free of guilt and condemnation, which can look on all through eyes of love and see the reflection of God's presence and love everywhere shining. The particular experiences that make up our life story—our "special function”—provide the unique and individual framework through which we can accomplish the universal goal.

Like Moses we are each called, in our own way, to help release our brothers and sisters, and ourselves with them, from the bondage and oppression of fear, to the freedom and abundance that are our inheritance, and true nature, as children of a loving Father.

And like Moses our first response to this call may well be. "Who am I to be able to do this?" Yet, also like Moses, we need not be perfect before we can simply open our hearts to hear and say yes to what God asks of us. As the Course teaches, "readiness ... is not mastery." We are asked only to offer a little willingness. Our faith and confidence can deepen as we discover, through experience, the truth in God's promise: "I will be with you."

True Humility vs. False Humility

"Let us not fight our function. We did not establish it. It is not our idea. The means are given us by which it will be perfectly accomplished. All that we are asked to do is to accept our part in genuine humility, and not deny with self-deceiving arrogance that we are worthy. What is given us to do, we have the strength to do ...
All false humility we lay aside today, that we may listen to God's Voice reveal to us what He would have us do. We do not doubt our adequacy for this function He will offer us. We will be certain only that He knows our strengths, our wisdom and our holiness. And if He deems us worthy, so we are. It is but arrogance that judges otherwise." -ACIM

The idea that we are called by God—that not only do we have a part to play in God's plan for healing, but also that our part is essential to the plan's completion—the ego tells us is the epitome of arrogance. The ego's picture of us is that we are small, weak, unworthy, inadequate, filled with darkness.

This is the self-image, the self, it would have us accept as our own. Accepting this image of ourselves is what the ego calls humility.

The Course points out, however, that the ego's version of humility is really self-debasement—and is, in fact, disguised arrogance. It is the statement that we are not God-created but self-made—that our true identity is not the Self that God created but rather what we have made of ourselves. It states that we know ourselves better than God does and therefore know better than He what our function should or should not be.

"Your value is in God’s Mind…To accept yourself as God created you cannot be arrogance…To accept your littleness is arrogant, because it means that you believe your evaluation of yourself is truer than God’s." -ACIM

The function we are called to is, on the deepest level, a single function that we all share. The Course describes this function in many ways—as forgiveness, salvation, healing, accepting the Atonement, offering miracles, reflecting the peace of Heaven here, being the light of the world.

These are simply many terms for the same function, allowing love to dispel the fear in us, and light the darkness, allowing the illusion of separation to be undone within our mind, unveiling the truth of Who we are and have always been. We come to know again our oneness in and with God.

"I am the light of the world. Who is the light of the world except God's Son? This, then, is merely a statement of the truth about yourself. It is the opposite of a statement of pride, of arrogance, or of self-deception. It does not describe the self concept you have made...It refers to you as you were created by God. It simply states the truth."
To the ego, today's idea is the epitome of self-glorification. But the ego does not understand humility, mistaking it for self-debasement. Humility consists of accepting your role in salvation and in taking no other.
It is not humility to insist you cannot be the light of the world if that is the function God assigned to you. It is only arrogance that would assert this function cannot be for you, and arrogance is always of the ego." -ACIM

False humility, which is really arrogance, attempts to substitute the ego's concept of what we are for the Self that God created. True humility acknowledges God as our Source and Creator and accepts God's evaluation of us rather than our own. It recognizes that the strength, power, wisdom, vision, and whatever else we need to accomplish our function here comes not from ourselves but is given us by God. It accepts that we can do whatever God asks us to do—because with God all things are possible—and God is with us at all times and in all things. To doubt ourselves in what God would have us do is to doubt God Himself.

"Do as God's Voice directs. And if It asks a thing of you which seems impossible, remember Who it is that asks, and who would make denial. Then consider this; which is more likely to be right? The Voice that speaks for the creator of all things, who knows all things exactly as they are, or a distorted image of yourself, confused, bewildered, inconsistent and unsure of everything? Let not its voice direct you. Hear instead a certain Voice, Which tells you of a function given you by your Creator Who remembers you, and urges now that you remember Him." - ACIM

We All Share One Function

In the deepest sense, the part we have in God's plan—our function—is the same for all of us. The Course teaches that our function is "to accept the Atonement for ourselves,”—to allow the belief in separation, with its resulting guilt and fear, to be corrected, undone, in our own minds. As we let our guilt be undone, we remember the Love that we are, the Love that is our real nature, and we reflect that Love to others that they, too, may remember.

The process by which this is accomplished in us is forgiveness. Most simply, then, our function is to learn how to forgive, so that we may receive the peace of God that forgiveness brings. We then become examples and teachers of this peace, demonstrating that even in this world peace is possible. We come to reflect the peace of Heaven here on earth.

Although our function is shared, the Course also teaches that we each have a special function in God's plan of healing. In order to understand this teaching and view our own special function in right perspective, we need to look first at the whole idea of "specialness."

Specialness—The Ego's "Gift"

The world of the ego—this world of form—is a world of differences. Although the Course teaches that our reality is oneness, in this world there are certainly differences among us. We have different talents, abilities, strengths, backgrounds, and life experiences.

The ego uses these differences to separate out, to divide and make "specialness" categories of superiority and inferiority, insiders and outsiders, "haves" and "have-nots." Specialness is grounded in comparisons. The ego, the Course tells us, "literally lives by comparisons."

In this world we normally accept without question that being special is a good thing. We value and even cherish specialness. Yet this sense of specialness, which, being so ego-identified, we all seek, always serves to separate us, to set us apart from others in some way. As the Course points out, specialness inevitably reinforces our belief in separation—and thus inevitably reinforces our conscious and unconscious guilt and fear as well.

If we see ourselves as better than another by virtue of a particular talent or ability we have, in our minds we have attacked their intrinsic wholeness and value. We will—consciously or not—feel or see ourselves as guilty. If we are envious of someone else's talents or life experiences or feel that we are lacking because we don't have something that they have, we attack our own wholeness. On some level in our minds we will resent and blame them for our feeling of inferiority and lack. Again, we will feel guilty.

According to the Course, specialness—particularly the idea of "special love”—is the ego's most cherished and boasted "gift" to us. It is also the most insidious, because we rarely look at it closely enough to question its worth, value, and cost to us. The real cost is enormous, because, the Course points out, the ego offers us specialness in place of—as a substitute for—the Love of God.

God's Love is not special. God's Love for any of us cannot be special, because God's Love is complete and whole. God loves all His children equally, because He loves us all totally. His total Love gives us everything. The idea of specialness is the insane belief that we could want and have more than everything.

The Course teaches that the Holy Spirit is God's Answer to the ego, to the belief in separation. The Holy Spirit's function is to translate all that the ego made for its purpose—of reinforcing separation, guilt, and fear—into what can serve the purpose of wholeness and healing—the undoing of separation, guilt, and fear. Although the ego made the idea of specialness for its unholy purpose, the Holy Spirit translates it into the idea of our special function—the unique part we each play in God's plan for healing us all.

Our Special Function

"Each has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each one is always the same: God's Son is guiltless. Each one teaches the message differently, and learns it differently. Yet until he teaches and learns it, he will suffer the dim awareness that his true function remains unfulfilled in him." -ACIM

Our shared true function is to teach and learn the healing lesson of guiltlessness, through the practice of forgiveness. What the Course calls our special function essentially refers to the specific, particular relationships, situations, and ways in which we can teach and learn this single lesson.

We are all teachers and learners all the time. The Holy Spirit's purpose for every relationship and every encounter we have with anyone is to have it be a "holy relationship”—to help us transcend our differences, recognize and forgive our projections of guilt, and remember the Love of God that is within us both and joins us together as one.

Although, the Course points out, there is no one from whom we cannot learn, and thus no one we cannot teach, from a practical standpoint we cannot meet everyone. The plan of the Atonement therefore includes specific contacts to be made in each of our lives. Some of these will be direct, personal, ongoing relationships. Others will appear to be superficial, casual, momentary encounters in which we never learn each other's names.

There are even situations in which we never "meet" at all. We may read a newspaper story about someone, or listen to a musician perform, or hear about a person going through an illness, or notice someone's kindness to a stranger, or read a book someone has written, and be touched or triggered by that "encounter" in a way that furthers our healing, growth, and learning.

The Course teaches that none of this is accidental, that "there are no accidents in salvation." There are those we are meant to encounter, directly or indirectly, and these will inevitably cross our life path, our awareness, in some way. To use these specific relationships and encounters as opportunities for forgiveness and healing, as places we can learn and teach the love that we are, is our special function.

Our Special Function and Abilities

This special function, our unique part in God's plan, may be expressed through—but is not defined by or limited to—our profession or our particular talents and abilities. The work we do in the world is one of the ways we may be brought together with the people we are meant to meet, one of the settings in which we can teach and learn. The specific talents and abilities we have may help to determine some of the forms through which we can best communicate and receive the Holy Spirit's message of peace.

The Course teaches that differences in talents and abilities among God's children are temporary—part of the temporal world of the ego, not of the reality of Heaven.

"When the Atonement has been completed, all talents will be shared by all the Sons of God. God is not partial. All His children have His total Love, and all His gifts are freely given to everyone alike." - ACIM

While we still believe in the reality of the ego and the world of form, however, differences in abilities and talents are a fact of our experience. What we need to decide is which master we would have them serve—the ego or God.

The ego will use these differences for self-serving purposes, for its own inflation, to shatter the unity of God's creation by seemingly establishing hierarchies of value or worth. Smarter, stronger, funnier, more attractive, musical, athletic, verbal, charming, artistic, spiritual, psychic, or whatever—all become, in the ego's eyes, "better": more worthy, more loveable, more loved. Some are included in the "specialness club," while others are excluded.

Even among spiritual seekers, a belief in "special abilities" that result in or represent a "special connection" with God or the higher realms is often found. Holding such a belief, whether in regard to ourselves or others, can serve only to delay our awakening.

Given over to the Holy Spirit, our abilities and talents will be utilized to serve the undoing of our experience of difference and separation, from each other and from God. They will be used to help us learn that whatever differences exist among us at the level of form make no difference whatsoever in God's eyes—in our inherent value and worth as an integral part of God's creation. We are all "included."

When we offer ourselves—all that we believe that we are—to the Holy Spirit to be retranslated and used only for His purpose and plan, our lives here become a living expression of love and service. The longing for this full surrender to and joining with love is the deepest yearning of our hearts.

Accepting Our Function

"Decide that God is right and you are wrong about yourself."

The Course teaches that we will not be happy unless and until we fulfill the function God has given us here, that our happiness and our function are one. Happiness comes from being true to ourselves, true to our deepest selves, our real Self, the Self that God created.

To know this Self we must be willing to drop arrogance and false humility, to stop insisting that we are less than what God created us to be. To accept our function, our part in God's plan for salvation and healing, is to side with the truth about ourselves and all of our brothers and sisters.

Our function, the Course tells us, is to "reflect Heaven here," to reflect the peace of Heaven in this world, that the world may be brought to Heaven.

There are so many times—as we simply go through the normal course of our days, facing countless opportunities for upset and challenges to our inner peace—that this seems to be an impossible task. There are so many times that it appears to us impossible to forgive.

To accept our function means to recognize that on our own fulfilling our function would be impossible—but also to recognize that we are not on our own.

Trusting in God's Strength, Not Our Own

If you are trusting in your own strength, you have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious and fearful. What can you predict or control?

What is there in you that can be counted on?

What would give you the ability to be aware of all the facets of any problem, and to resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it?

What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution, and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?

Of yourself you can do none of these things. To believe you can is to put your trust where trust is unwarranted...

It is not by trusting yourself that you will gain confidence. But the strength of God in you is successful in all things.

Jesus said in the Gospels,

"Of myself I do nothing. It is the Father in me that does the works."

When we accept our function, we acknowledge that God is within us, that there is no separation, and that it is God's strength and wisdom and love within us that accomplish whatever needs to be done.

We can move forward, as Moses did, in the faith that we will be able to do what God asks of us because God will be with us. God's Will cannot fail. When we unite our will with His, accepting His as our own, we cannot fail.

...ask yourself if it is possible that God would have a plan for your salvation that does not work. Once you accept His plan as the one function that you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort.

He will go before you making straight your path, and leaving in your way no stones to trip on, and no obstacles to bar your way.

Nothing you need will be denied you. Not one seeming difficulty but will melt away before you reach it.

You need take thought for nothing, careless of everything except the only purpose that you would fulfill. As that was given you, so will its fulfillment be. God's guarantee will hold against all obstacles, for it rests on certainty and not contingency. It rests on you. And what can be more certain than a Son of God?"

Forever in Love

What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would you have me say, and to whom? Let us today be neither arrogant nor falsely humble...We cannot judge ourselves, nor need we do so. These are but attempts to hold decision off, and to delay commitment to our function. It is not our part to judge our worth, nor can we know what role is best for us; what we can do within a larger plan we cannot see in its entirety. Our part is cast in Heaven... Whatever your appointed role may be, it was selected by the Voice for God ... Seeing your strengths exactly as they are, and equally aware of where they can be best applied, for what, to whom and when, He chooses and accepts your part for you. ...that one Voice appoints your function, and relays it to you, giving you the strength to understand it, do what it entails, and to succeed in everything you do that is related to it.

To accept that we have a part to play in God's plan is not arrogance, as the ego would have us believe. Rather it is the beginning of accepting our reality as children of God. It is the willingness to let go of our ego evaluations of ourselves as unworthy, inadequate, weak, and alone in life, and to accept that God's Voice is within us—offering us all the wisdom, strength, energy, courage, direction, and love we need to fulfill what God would have us do. It is true humility, accepting that God's Will is certain and uniting our will with His.

Our Essential Part

The wholeness of Creation is incomplete without any of us. We are all part of it, and we are all equally indispensable.

You are altogether irreplaceable in the Mind of God. No one else can fill your part in it, and while you leave your part empty your eternal place merely waits for your return. God, through His Voice, reminds you of it.

Accepting our part in God's plan is remembering that we have an eternal place in the unity of creation and recognizing that we need to help each other remember and awaken to that reality.

Our special function is to help those who cross our life path, for they have been, in a sense, entrusted to us by God. And we help them by being willing to see the face of Christ in them—by recognizing and forgiving the projections and illusions we have looked upon instead. As we offer them release, we are set free with them.

We need not know the whole plan nor even how to fulfill our part in it. If we are willing, we can trust that we will be shown and guided.

"I will accept my part in God's plan for salvation...give Him the words, and He will do the rest. He will enable you to understand your special function. He will open up the way to happiness, and peace and trust will be His gifts; His answer to your words...And you will have conviction then of Him Who knows the function you have on earth as well as Heaven."

Just as Moses was assured when he answered God's call to him to lead his brothers and sisters to freedom, we too are assured of success in our function—because God will be with us. And doubts we have along the way are simply attempts by the ego to keep us forgetful of who we really are, and Who makes sure our way. Yet we will fulfill our function, for God's Will for us is fulfillment.

"If you knew Who walks beside you on the way that you have chosen, fear would be impossible. Your feet are safely set upon the road that leads the world to God...Forget not He has placed His Hand in yours, and given you your brothers in His Trust that you are worthy of His Trust in you...His Trust has made your pathway certain and your goal secure. You will not fail your brothers nor your Self."

The Outcome is Certain and Guaranteed by God

"Who walks with me? This question should be asked a thousand times a day, till certainty has ended doubting and established peace. Today let doubting cease ..."

We can rest in the assurance that we can do what God would have us do. We will awaken to the freedom and awareness of perfect oneness that is Heaven, and all our brothers and sisters with us. We will say yes to God's call in us, for it is our own deepest longing as well. And that outcome is as certain as God.

"Forget not once this journey is begun the end is certain. Doubt along the way will come and go and go to come again. Yet is the ending sure. No one can fail to do what God appointed him to do. When you forget, remember that you walk with Him and with His Word upon your heart. Who could despair when Hope like this is his? Illusions of despair may seem to come, but learn how not to be deceived by them. Behind each one there is reality and there is God ... The end is sure and guaranteed by God."

Like Moses, we can accept our part in God's plan. Like Moses, we need not be perfect. We need but bring the doubts and fears that threaten our peace, again and again, to the Holy Spirit, and we will hear in some way the same answer Moses heard—this single Answer God has given us all.

"I will be with you—as I have been with you always—as I am with you now."

 

Love Always Answers by Diane Berke The core practices of A Course in Miracles are forgiveness and listening to the Holy Spirit, our inner teacher, the voice for God within us.

 

 

 

 
 

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