Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Seeking Definition

"The farther I run away from the place where God dwells, the less I am able to hear the voice that calls me the Beloved, and the less I hear that voice, the more entangled I become in the manipulations and power games of the world.

It goes somewhat like this: I am not so sure anymore that I have a safe home, and I observe other people who seem to be better off than I. I wonder how I can get to where they are. I try hard to please, to achieve success, to be recognized. When I fail, I feel jealous or resentful of others. When I succeed, I worry that others will be jealous or resentful of me. I become suspicious or defensie and increasingly afraid that I won't get what I o much desire or will lose what I already have. Caught in this tangle of needs and wants, I no longer know my own motivations. I feel victimized by my surroundings and distrustful of what others are doing or saying. always on my guards, I lose my inner freedom and start dividing my world into those who are for me and those who are against me. I wonder if anyone really cares. I start looking for validations of my distrust. And wherever I go, I see them, and I say: "No one can be trusted." And then I wonder whether anyone really loved me. The world around me becomes dark. My heart grows heavy. My body is filled with sorrows. My life loses meaning. I have become a lost soul."
Henri Nouwen
-Return of the Prodigal
p. 47

Typically for me, this is when I get grabby hands. 
Looking for anything and everything that will satisfy.
Wanting to shove down the feelings of loneliness and the ache within and instead rush towards busyness and noise and distractions-just so I don't notice the lack of clarity and meaning within and the heaviness of my heart.
As soon as I do notice, I linger a bit.
Not for the pain, but because admitting I was astray in a place I never meant to be is never a fun activity. So I stay on a little longer but it doesn't get better. 
I start to do inventory and realize the voice of the Beloved is waiting with open arms and there is a feast of goodness if all I will do is return. 

Why not start back immediately? 
Why do I go after life that will not lead me to His table? 

Henri Nouwen summarizes it best again:
"Often, I am like a small boat on the ocean, completely at the mercy of it waves. All the time and energy I spend in keeping some kind of balance and preventing myself from being tipped over and drowning show that my life is mostly a struggle for survival: not a holy struggle, but an anxious struggle resulting from the mistaken idea that it is the world that defines me." (p. 42)

My friends Drew and Ellie Holcomb have covered the song "Heart of the Matter" by Don Henley and I heard it yesterday and it made my soul go "POP!" when I heard it. 
The song has not been released, but Indie Arie did a great version of it as well and this YouTube video has the lyrics written within it which I think are so powerful. 

Even if I'm not loved anymore by others, it is still about forgiveness. 

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