My Unstable Spiritual Compass   2 comments

I’ve been out of school for a month, leaning into rest and trying to forget the emotional crosswinds of this past school year that lashed my skiff.  When the storm blew passed, I fell on the deck in relief.  It took a couple of weeks to shake off the built-up stress, followed by two weeks of resisting a truck-load of “shoulds” that clamored to come on board.  “Sorry, my boat’s not ready for that yet.”  It has been surprisingly restful.

From childhood, duty was my slave-master, barking at me to meet its demands by sacrificing myself.  With a harsh and uncaring voice, it claimed to speak for God, but if God cares more about a task than he cares about me, I’m lost.  When that theology nearly killed me, I woke to a God who was full of unending love and grace.  But shame and fear keep playing me, yelling about the dangers of self-compassion.  When stress floods in, I easily fall back to the false safety I learned as a child–the salvation of self-discipline and hard work.  From that view, grace only works as a reward for maximum effort: “God helps those who help themselves.”  It is the American gospel.

As fall semester ramps up, I need to realign myself with the gospel of grace, but it is such a messy process.  At what point is rest overdone, moving from restorative to deadening?  If I push into the straits, will I get free or get stuck? Is it fear or love driving me, or a tangle of both?  Can I ignore the fear or do I need to confront it?   Reorienting from fear to love is slow and messy.  I hate messy.  It feels wrong.

Without clarity, how do I know which way to turn?  Do I just set out and hope for the best?  But that’s how I lose my way–get confused, and end up hurting myself and others–which proves I’m off track.  Or does it?   I stubbornly presume that a good heart leads straight to clarity and comfort.  I keep forgetting that the way of love is rocky, that it uses uncertainty to grow faith and pain to grow blessing.  To run from either is to short-circuit the divine process of grace.  Uncertainty and pain are not the goal of love, but they are evidently the path to reach it in this broken world.  “Now we see through a glass dimly.”  Perhaps that should be my life verse.

 

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Posted July 24, 2018 by janathangrace in Personal, thoughts

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2 responses to “My Unstable Spiritual Compass

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  1. four thumbs up (I’m counting my big toes as thumbs) – sending you love and hugs from over here on the other side of the country.

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