I’m still thinking about the “Oh, no!” I heard when a toy car went over the edge of the coffee table and crashed.
I imagine that a lot actually, when I fear going over the edge of acceptance and falling into a pit of rejection. Many things–gaining weight, saying the wrong thing, not doing the right thing–can spark an “Oh, no!” in my mind and make me anticipate an inevitable crash.
What would it be like to go through a whole week without an “Oh, no!”? If I could have chosen one, it would have been the week I facilitated (as a full team member now) the Living from the Heart course.
I prepared, hoped and prayed that I would get through the intensive without doing something dumb.
But God isn’t afraid of the things I’m afraid of. God had no trouble letting me drive a few cars over the edge each day.
Grrr! Midweek I prayed, God, really? I know my mistakes weren’t huge, and you could use them. But please, just let me have one day where things go as planned.
It didn’t happen.
“God is inviting us to let go of our emotional reactions and our desire to control ‘what is’ and just be present to it–without analysing, judging or fixing,” Jeff Imbach said in a teaching session. In this place, he explained, we can begin to be curious and ask, “God, how are you loving me in this?”
So I welcomed my disappointment that I got confused and misunderstood what I was supposed to do. I let it be there and wondered what God might be up to.
The answer didn’t come until a sleepless night at the end of the week. That day I had led people through a case study in transformation. It was about a woman who, after many meetings with her spiritual director, had been invited to let go of her wounded identity.
Was there an identity I was being invited to let go of? Perhaps the identity of Rejected One.
That’s when I saw why God had allowed me to mess up.
Daily the three facilitators–Jeff, Deb and I–talked about how the sessions went. We would receive with gratefulness what was meaningful to the participants and consider with humility how we might do things differently next time. We offered each other grace as we listened, but I wondered when my allotment of grace would run out.
Every day I wondered, will they reject me now? And each day I was met with love and acceptance.
In the middle of the night, I understood how God was loving me in “what was.” God wanted me to experience unconditional acceptance. And God wanted me to experience it again and again and again.
God was undoing the life of the Rejected One.
I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you . . .
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
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Love Mischief for the World
How can we care for the people of Paris and those who perpetrated last Friday’s tragedy? Perhaps, like Jesus did on the cross, we can inhale all that violence and pain into our bodies and into the core of ourselves where God is. We can absorb it into the limitless dimensions of Love that is wider, longer, higher and deeper than we can imagine. And then, like Jesus, we can breathe out peace onto the earth.
Breathe in pain; breathe out comfort.
Breathe in violence; breathe out peace.
Breathe in anger; breathe out forgiveness.
… for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. –Romans 8:26 (NRSV)
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. –Ephesians 3:16-19 (NRSV)