Closing the Head-Heart Gap
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
― Annie Dillard
― Annie Dillard
The second week in January, the church's prayer focus week, and Wednesday night was a prayer labyrinth. While this was the normal youth night with the whole church invited, only a half dozen adults were brave enough to join. We were given brief instructions by the youth pastor: seven stations had been set up and we were encouraged to go slow. At station four, with a piece of bread in hand, I contemplated the words of Christ's most famous prayer ... specifically the line—Give us this day our daily bread. What did daily bread mean to us? Then we were to join someone for prayer. Being the person obedient to follow the format ... I sat for awhile, and wondered if I could just move on, or should I take a chance and pray with a stranger? Hmm .... just do it ... came the inner voice ... I tried to decide if this really was a spirit nudge, my compliance of structure, or my unwillingness.
“So it says we are to pray with someone.” I said to her.
“Can you give me a little more to go on?” she asked.
... “you know this segment about contemplating our need for daily bread, I'm not looking for daily bread, I'm looking for more than that. Perhaps that should be enough, but aren't we called to an abundant life? I am looking for more than just sustenance.”
She seemed a bit surprised, after a few more words I vaguely remember, she spoke of rejoicing in trials ... and then she prayed that I would have assurance of God's love.
I moved to station five.
We were in silent meditation, Carolyn slid beside me “Sorry to interrupt, I felt the spirit nudging me to speak about the assurance of God's love for you, for each of us.” She quoted a few verses.
“I know all that” I said. “I am struggling to truly believe it.”
She looked as though she was trying to find the right scriptures to comfort. I knew she'd be praying for me. The next morning, powerful words came via a book I divinely chanced upon.
After thirty years in ministry R.T. Kendall says that: the hardest thing in the world to believe is that God really loves us. It is harder to believe that than to believe that there is a God or that Jesus died on the cross or even that He rose from the dead. It's not too difficult to believe that God will take care of you or that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” though we may not believe that they are for our good at the time ... No, the hardest thing in the world to believe is that God, the true God really loves us right now, just as we are.
In reading this month's posts, I see evidence of the struggle to close the gap between our need for productivity, and need for silence, for seeking God's presence.
Too often we gauge our lovability by productivity.
Productivity is our measure, not God's.
To answer the blog question, this does impact my writing goals. I too need to focus first on listening to the spirit. He wants me to know that I am loved, and it is not because of who I am or what I do(write) or not write. I am loved because God acts out of His character. He cannot do otherwise. We have all heard that the gap between head and heart is the longest known eighteen inches; that space between what we intellectually know, and what we believe and do is a tough one to shorten.
One of my goals for this year is to begin to comprehend the depth of God's love for me, and perhaps to write about it.
Jocelyn blogs about hope in the hard places at: http://whoistalking.wordpress.com
She is author of Who is Talking out of My Head, Grief as an Out of Body Experience