unFrenzy your Friday
I've been unhurriedly re-reading The Awakened Heart: Opening Yourself to the Love you need by Gerald May. I've read it before and have underlined and dog-earred many a page. Yes, this one is a "real" book and perhaps in it's ongoing "wear and tear" my heart will incur the blessed fate of becoming the very real Velveteen Awakened Heart. I so very much long to live awake and to open my heart to love.
Though I like having hundreds of books at my disposal almost immediately on Kindle, there is something truly cathartic about underlining, or penning a comment or question in the margins. And, I have been reading this one reflectively...I read until something "catches" me - stirs me, unnerves me, ignites me - no matter what. Then I stop...and I muse. I ponder. I get curious and pay attention to how it bounces around the corners of my entire being - not just in the top three inches of my body, but my whole body. Where in my body do I feel "openness" or "warmth?" What parts have tightened or does my breathing change when I interact with these invitations.
At any rate: May introduces that we can choose one of two ways to live. We can choose either efficiency or love. Efficiency is "how" we do life. Love is the "why."
Most of our world is set up to value and award efficiency. Get 'er done. Just do it. Achieve and acquire - be a human doing more than a human being. Being is perceived as rather lazy in such an economy. And I admit to feeling good when I've had a "productive" day. (Today is one of those! Yay!)
But love longs for something more.
"For most of us, the desire to love had been distorted or buried, but if you look at your own life with honest and gentle eyes, you can discern it for yourself a deep seeking of connectedness, healing, creation, and joy. This is your true identity. This is who you really are and what you exist for" (p. 2)
- In what ways do you seek deeper connectedness - with God, self, nature, others, your work? How would you know you are seeking connection?
- In what ways have you experienced joy in the past 48 hours - what brought your heart life, aliveness, delight, or curiousity?
- What draws you right now in your life? Where are you sensing "aliveness"?
May writes that touching this desire for more - this desire to love - can be expansive and painful. When the ache is too much, we often try to escape it when by actually dulling our consciousness - with substances (food, prescription drugs, alcohol) or behaviors (becoming a task-master, shopping, working). Take note of the ways you might be dulling your consciousness this week with a substance or behavior. And when you do, simply pray, "Lord, open my heart to trust your love."
Reality is, good relationships have both crap and glory. What do you do when you experience a little hiccup in a relationship? Take a listen as Paula shares about a recent "shame dance" she encountered and how God keeps inviting her into his Enoughness - which is always more than enough for our not-enoughness.
In the midst of the weightiness of violence in our world today....what is yours to do? Take a listen today - and listen to how God is inviting you to do what you can, not what you can't. Do what is yours to do - lean in - how might we let Christ teach us what is ours to do in order to bring peace and healing?
Do you run around trying to make life and ministry happen? Do you feel frenzied, always behind, wanting more? What if instead of the frenzy, we just stood still? Can we trust God's deliverance and provision? Stillness is a prerequisite to God's work - How might God be inviting you to shine in your stillness?
Though Saint Francis lived 800 years before us, he too encountered senseless violence and slaughter in his lifetime. How did Francis engage with being a peacemaker in the world? He didn't rant and rave...instead, he hugged the one he most feared. Take a listen today as Paula invites us to learn to embrace the parts of ourselves and others that frighten us as a means to bring peace to this world today.
Let's all be Ordinary! What? Surprisingly, this seems to be something we need a lot of practice with as Christ followers because in the liturgical rhythms of the year, 2/3rds of the year is deemed "Ordinary." Take a listen and see how God might be inviting you to connect more deeply in the ordinary moments of your life.