About Me

 

 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott

 

I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

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Friday
Mar292013

To love myself intensely and freely

One of my close friends recently told me a hard thing. She said, "Sometimes it's hard for me to read your blog because I come away with this sense that no matter what, you feel like you fall short.  It's hard to read that."

I nodded, and told her I agreed with this. That I do often labor under this sense of falling short.  "Why do you think that is?" I asked.

"I wonder if you and I just view God differently. I don't like to think our views are so far apart."

I asked, "Is it that you think I view God as something outside of myself?  And you view him as indwelling presence?"

She nodded.

"I can see that," I said.  "It is hard for me to hear you say you can sense this in my blog, because it's a part of my journey I'd like to hide. I don't really want everyone to see me struggle with my view of God. It seems like I should have that figured out by now. But I guess the whole point of me blogging is to willingly take people along on my journey. I mean, that's what I say I am writing about.  So, if you can sense that struggle in me with letting myself be loved, that's because I totally struggle with letting myself be loved."

She laughed. 

I went on, "I guess this means I am doing what I am trying to do: letting it all hang out in a sense. Talking about the process."

I paused, "But it makes me sad that my struggle might rub off on how other people view God. That if I seem to labor under a heavy weight of trying to be worthy of love, maybe people would think that's because God is more like a taskmaster than a Father."

My friend stayed quiet. We sat in the dark outside of my house, stared at the stars, squinted at the tree branches against the sky.  She let me think my way through my thoughts.  

I said, "My sense of falling short is not a product of a world view or a religious view.  Although I do think growing up in a very evangelical environment probably fed the external view of God. A lot of my church experiences were about my striving to get God to come down to me.  My working to do good things so that I would be a good Christian. It's my personal view that's in process.  A moving from shame, to acceptance and love.  I do think I fall short. We all fall short.  But that's a freeing thing, not a condemning thing. I fall short. I don't have to strive.  I am released to live in the middle of the presence of love.  Shame runs so deep in my DNA.  It makes me sad that you can sense it in my writing.  But I guess I want to clearly make the distinction that my struggle with shame is not a reflection on my God, or my world view.  It's a reflection on me.  I am on a journey of self-love, of abiding, of living in the truth that, like Thomas Keating says, "God is existence."  That the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives inside of me.  That God's will is not separate from the voice inside of my spirit. His presence is not an outside, up in the sky force."

"I think the orientation of our position towards what we believe in affects so much of how we live.  If I see God's position in my life as some floating off high in the sky position, then the orientation of my relationship is always subject/master. Me down here, and God way up there, unreachable. Unless I work really hard to call him down. Or he deigns to visit me, as long as I make myself worthy of that visit."

"You know what I've never liked the sound of?" I said.  "Asking God into your heart.  The positioning is all wrong.  I like the idea of asking to enter the heart of God.  He is in all, through all, inhabiting all.  I am jumping into the flow that has always been there. Will always be there.  Instead of asking for a trickle of the flow to fall on me."

"This relating is a mystery.  I don't pretend to be able to define God, or to tell you where he lives. I know He is other, he is mystery.  But I know he is also breath.  When I think of God as the presence of presence, I have such peace.  I think of that verse, 'Where can I go from your Spirit, or where can I flee from your presence?'"

"There is no falling short when I am able to let myself be loved the way I am already loved.  When I let myself accept myself as beloved."

I finally stopped talking.  My friend smiled.  We squinted at the tree branches some more.  Watched the first flakes of a February snowfall hit the road and melt away.  And we agreed we have a lot more in common with the way we view God than we thought we did.

 

 

It is simply not possible to know the Christ of the Gospels unless we alter our attitude toward ourselves and take sides with Him, against our own self-evaluation.  

Would you like to know this moment how Jesus feels about you?

Bernard Bush says this is the way you will know:

If you love yourself intensely and freely,

then your feelings about yourself correspond perfectly

to the sentiments of Jesus."

Brennan Manning, "The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus" (152) 

 

 

 

Reader Comments (1)

"I like the idea of asking to enter the heart of God. He is in all, through all, inhabiting all. I am jumping into the flow that has always been there. Will always be there. Instead of asking for a trickle of the flow to fall on me."

This is good stuff, my friend. A gentle, thoughtful post. Makes me think of my own deepening views of God and the curves in my own faith journey. And it makes me happy that we're sharing time together on this earth.

April 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

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