"Once we clearly acknowledge the soul, we can learn to hear it's cries. - Dallas Willard, Renovation Of The Heart."

It takes courage to pursue our dreams. It takes time and patience to unearth buried treasure. But I believe with all my heart that we must do both.


Abiding Monday

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.

(Matthew 22:37-40) 

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 


Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Awesome post again...so feels like you were walking through my thoughts yesterday...and no I can't do it in my own strength, He promises to turn our hearts of stone soft...He does the work, I am just the clay on the wheel submitting to His molding. The enemy comes in the with guilt to get us to jump off the potters wheel.

Bren said...

Beautifully and powerfully said, there's nothing I can add except to say, absolutely!

lori vliegen said...

you always know how to express what's on your heart so beautifully.....and this post is no exception, mary! thank you for sharing this with us! xo

Poetic Artist said...

Your words echo my own heart..God always uses those who want to be used even when we are not aware of it..Thank God for you and sharing the words we need.

Jennifer Richardson said...

So so with you in this
journey into Love.
We can only love as much
as we let Him love us.
That is the hardest thing.
"Love me to you" is the
cry of my heart.
Everytime I wail about being such
a terrible lover,
I sense Him asking me to ask
"enable me to let you love me"
Just goes caddywonkers to my
"just do it!" mindset.
Such a stretching journey
we're on.
And in the end,
there is only Love.
Thanks for these life-giving words, Mary.

Bevie said...

So very true! Some years ago I asked my Abba to forgive me of all my sins, BUT I had to learn to forgive myself thus making it easier to forgive others...I'm so thankful for HIS love but even more that He has taught me how to love. Dearest sister I look forward to all your Abiding Mondays for they have given me great insight into my heart as well as yours. I love you deeply!!!