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How much can I give of myself without being a "doormat" for people?

Question:
I have been a student of ACIM for 9 yrs; I live my life as God as my guiding light. I have a friend with two cats who I “took in” when she lost her home and job. Six months later, she was still in my home. When I told her I had helped as much as I could, she started ranting and retreated into her room, and left during the night with no thank yous or goodbyes. I guess my question is how much can you give without being a doormat?

Answer:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings and for your desire to learn how to be truly helpful and giving. In true Giving, as God Gives and as the Holy Spirit offers through whole perception, there is never a feeling of being taken advantage of or manipulated. The Holy Child of God is never a "doormat." Your recent encounter, like all encounters of mind, is the opportunity to see the impossibility of what I will again call "people pleasing." Your deepest desire is to extend God's Love and be truly helpful, yet the ego has its own "version" of helpfulness. The ego's "plan" for helpfulness would have a body get something from another body. It does not matter whether this getting" seems emotional, psychological, or physical, for reciprocity is the ego's basic rule of existence. If you are honest with yourself you will see that the world of separation was based on the lie of scarcity, needs, and exchange. The world of the past, seen as if it were still present, is the misperception of time that the Holy Spirit Corrects. The acceptance of the Correction is our only function now, for the world of opposites and conflict was purposeless.

Irritation and anger seem to arise when the mind expects a "form” outcome to be a certain way, and perceives that it has not turned out as it "should." All expectations arise from unreal ego goals that have nothing to do with the Reality of the Present Moment. True giving is a state of acceptance of the Holy Spirit's Perspective, in which it is apparent that all things work together for good. The Holy Spirit sees the situation as whole. The ego seemed to feel a lack of love and then called forth a witness to prove that lack is real and that upset is "justified." Yet you are not the ego, and mind is not dependent on the ego for the Life that God Freely Gives Eternally. The Holy Spirit offers another way of looking at the world that is based on an experience of wholeness and completion. The mind training exercises of ACIM are designed to flush up ego goals and expectations, to raise to awareness the make-believe self image that God did not create, and to help the mind accept the Atonement (which is the Alternative to the ego).

The only gift that can be truly Given through the Holy Spirit is the beatitude of peace of mind. Whatever seems to be done in form must come from a peaceful state of mind, for without peace the gift of the miracle is not apparent in awareness. Miracles are natural and evident in the absence of expectations and agendas. Each holy encounter is an opportunity to experience completion, to experience the folly of expectations. The mind which sees itself as whole makes no demands, for it rests content in its own completion. The Holy Spirit shows the mind its own completion, and in this experience the desire to "get" is completely gone from awareness.

It is also helpful to be reminded that Giving is not a matter of degree. The miracle is always totally Giving and expectations of any kind offer not the slightest hint of True Giving. Peace and Giving are the same, just as upset and the desire to get are the same. Decide with the Holy Spirit and peace ARE the resulting state of mind. Decide to expect a "form outcome," and upset IS the illusory state of mind which seems to be experienced. One may ask how it is possible to survive in the world without basic assumptions and expectations, yet pause to ask if Spirit could ever be FOUND in the “world” the ego made. It takes trust in the Holy Spirit to Wake Up from the dream of separation to the Oneness of the Spirit. It takes willingness to accept forgiveness in place of a past grievance.

Happily there is no person, place, or thing that can take away the Peace of God. "God is no respecter of persons" means that Love cannot be held hostage to misperception; Love is Universal and never personal. The personal perspective of the ego never brought a feeling of peace and happiness and contentment. The Holy Spirit ALWAYS brings a feeling of peace and happiness and contentment. The decision for Heaven is not a difficult choice to make once the alternative thought systems are brought together. Perfect Love casts out fear because darkness vanishes in the Presence of Light. We are the Living Christ. Make our invulnerability manifest by accepting our Magnitude. This is true humility. Spirit Gives and Extends because this is What Spirit Is. Let no images conceal the Spirit from awareness.

In Love with You forever,
David