I am hesitant to confess this to you, because when I do, you will find evidence that it’s true. And where that leads, well, that makes me both nervous and hopeful. So here it is: I am pretty self-centred.
I often put myself first and orchestrate my life to get what I want. Even if I do things for others, it’s still about me and my shadow and the sweet little dance routine we have going.
When I see this ungodly trait in me, I want to get rid of it. But my shadow refuses to leave, stuck to me “like wallpaper sticks to the wall, like the seashore clings to the sea.”
Help me, Lord! I pray. But instead of getting rid of my shadow, God embraces it. In Surrender to Love, David Benner says, it isn’t just the good side of us that God wants to love, but our dark side too. The Holy Spirit invites us to be vulnerable and snuggle with God in our untransformed state.
Benner writes, “For love to transform us, not only must we meet in vulnerability, we must also linger long enough for it to penetrate our woundedness. Snuggling keeps us in contact with love long enough that it has that effect.”
One evening, after my examen offered more proof of my selfish ways, I read another chapter of Benner’s book. In it, he too confessed that he struggles with self-centredness. I sat there in awe: I was not alone.
That night I lay in bed with the confidence I needed to expose my shadow side to God. The cavity it had created in me seemed as big as the Grand Canyon. I felt the Holy Spirit tremble with delight. Thank you, God whispered, for giving me such a huge space to fill with my love.
Then Love, bigger than the Grand Canyon enveloped me and my shadow. We snuggled up into it and fell asleep in God’s arms.
Thank You that You lovingly accept us as we are
and invite us to rest in the intimacy of that love.
– from the Noon Prayer of the SoulStream Community