I have come to realize that when I fall short of living the life God has called me to it is because I have failed to love well. Really, it all comes down to that. Loving well. If you look at all the commandments in the Old Testament, all the do's and don'ts, the bottom line is love. That's why Jesus could narrow them down to two.
"Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and Prophets."
I can honestly say there are more times I do not love well than there are that I do. And I have come to understand that I cannot MAKE myself love better. I could go through the motions and make it look like I am doing a better job, but looking at my heart would show something else. And I do believe I am called to act like it when I don't feel like it, but I also believe it's not the same thing.
I have been a believer for all of my adult life, but about 4 years ago I began a new and deeper journey. One that has taken me into my heart to look at all the dark places that I was afraid to face. We all have them, we just don't always look. I was ready to do some hard work, to begin pulling weeds that long entangled my wounded, broken heart.
"The descending way is a way that is concealed in each person's heart. But because it is seldom walked on, it's often overgrown with weeds. Slowly but surely we have to clear the weeds, open the way, and set out on it unafraid."
(Henri Nouwen - Lenten Readings-The Way of Humility)
The Lenten season is a good time to really be about this. A time of deep reflection, a time to mourn our lack of love and our hardened weed entangled hearts.
But I want to say something else here because the process of this can at times send me into a tailspin. A downward spiral of self-hatred. A focus on all the things I do not do right. The enemy of our soul would like nothing better than to make us feel defeated and utterly useless and worthless.
God never makes us feel like that. NEVER!
It is good to mourn, but we have a God waiting with open arms to forgive our failings. He waits patiently for us to turn to him and admit we cannot do this on our own. He longs for us to finally cease our fruitless striving and rest in Him. To crawl up in his lap and say, "Daddy I cannot do this in my own strength".
Only God can change a heart.
I receive a mailing from Jan Johnson once a month. This months is titled Guilt Odyssey. Please take some time to read it. janjohnson.org/march_2011_wisbits.html
Grace and Peace