Ignoring your Heart...(and other stupid ideas)

Once upon a time we were 16, and everything was so big and important.  Then the real world crept in.  We chased degrees. Got our own place.  Learned the dream job doesn't exist.  That health isn't a given.  Learned that there is a lot more work to the fairy tale wedding than is ever mentioned in the bridal magazines...even if you are only the bridesmaid.  

So we settled.  And we compromised.  And somewhere we got really, really good at telling our heart it didn't matter.

Except it does.

There is something real and true to the longings of our heart.  To the need to be wanted. The desire to be loved.  To have someone really "get" us.  The deeply personal dreams at the core of us that we wouldn't dare tell anyone.

The funny thing is that the path to True Love or our Hearts Desire is rarely as advertised. You can follow all the steps and do everything on the checklist and still wind up empty.  Religion hasn't helped this either.  It has its own list of rules to follow to get the big payoff.  The thing is that at some point we find the payoff we've been promised isn't there.

Not only that, but in chasing the carrots of True Love and Hearts Desire, the world has a host of fakes.  They are usually preceeded with "if only I had ________."  The Blank is intensely personal.  It can be a role, a response from someone, a job, a spouse, a different spouse, money, health, a talent, beauty, youth....it's size and shape are closely associated to the intricate design of our own hearts.

And at some point when your heart deficit is at its worst, when you've ignored the gap between what you have and what you long for, a very good fake will be offered.  Something that looks really, truly real.  Except that somewhere in the back of your mind you will know that it's not.  There will be that check in your gut that chasing after The Blank will make you lose yourself.  That it will cost you something you can't yet quantify.

It is at this point that you have to do The Work.  There are no checklists or workbooks for this.  The thing is it requires waiting and listening and being able to long without running after fulfillment.  It requires showing up and being present and intensely feeling the gap of the "not okay."  The Work is hard. And I don't know how you do The Work without God.

AW Tozer writes, "God is a person, and in the deep of His mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys, feels, loves, desires and sufferes as any other person may. In making Himself known to us He stays by the familiar pattern of personality. He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions.  The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul  is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.  This intercourse between God and the soul is known to us in conscious personal awareness."

All I know is that if you refuse The Blank and you truly show up in the moment to moment, then God shows up too.  It requires total honesty, not just with God, but with yourself.  About your failures. Your disppointments.  About all of the scaffolding you've put in place to shore things up and make them look pretty. It requires a relentless pursuit of the real. A deep acknowledgement of your own heart. And mostly, a complete and total commitment to doing whatever it is that God asks you to do when He shows up. The Work is desperately personal and it is so much easier to settle for The Blank.

But The Work is the only way we ever get to be who we really truly are. And The Work shapes our hearts in a way to cause The Blank to not really fit at all.

I suspect at its heart that The Work could also be called Love. But the world we live in has crafted Love to look like so much less than it really is...as if it were something inert that sort of happens and goes away. The work of Real Love has a power, beauty and a permanence that transforms, fills and satisfies. Not only that but it makes us powerful, beautiful and permanent, too.

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall