Friday, July 07, 2006

New places and bussing

The previous post reflected on pain producing new places in our hearts. Places where love can take root and grow up to bear fruit such as compassion and wisdom. Places that enable us to be more of who we really are, as God fills us fuller than we were before. Our capacities to contain more and more, and our longing for still more, and our increasing awareness of our need for ever more of something greater than ourselves speaks to this idea of new places being formed in us. These are both emotional and spiritual places that are part of the process of forming who we are.

We are familiar with the feelings associated with longing. Our longing for contentment, excitement, and relationship, and our search for significance, acceptance, happiness, and peace, can drive us to some pretty dissatisfying and unpleasant destinations on our own. If we crave substances or substitutes to fill the empty places we may stop feeling the longing for a minute, but we are still on the same bus heading out of town, but somehow ending up where we started. Maybe even farther back. No medication can really fill the chasms of pain for very long and we are forced to seek (our chosen) "treatment" again when lousy feelings come back to gnaw at us. That is a closed system which continues to cycle until it eventually implodes. I am thinking about the opposite of that. I am thinking about an open system where our life experiences and the pain that is inevitable and an inseparable part of life and love, form us into people who don't want to be on the bus at all. We come to believe that the bus is taking us out of and away from real life. This open system instead exists in the middle of real life. The longings we feel and the new places formed in us cry out for filling with something substantial--yet intangible; something redemptive; something meaningful; something Greater. An open system, allowing hope, invites possibilities into our world.

Rarely can anyone cause us to get off the bus by reciting facts or theology to us. We already know much of what is true, but our lives are trying to tell us that we don't believe it. When we come to believe, transformation happens on the inside, which enables us to live in harmony with reality, God, and others. We do not drift into this harmony, we make a decision to apprentice ourselves to Jesus. All of our longings lead to him. We ask to really know who he is, and for the ability to know and dwell in what his word really means. Jesus says that brings freedom.
"If you dwell in my word, you really are my apprentices. And you will know the truth, and the truth will liberate you" (Jn. 8:31-32)
Hop on the bus? No thanks, let us choose to just walk together-- toward freedom, learning to live in an open system.


Blogger Susan said...

Sometimes others do not want us to get off the bus. They want company on the treadmill.

It takes strength to move apart and do what is needed to "arrive". Sometimes it means saying "no" which just enables us to say "yes" to something else (as a wise friend once told me).

It is a wonderful blessing to have the support of others when it's time to "step off". Then, as Jenny said, we can really walk together in the same direction - toward freedom.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Good point, Susan, that others may make it hard for us to get off the bus! Our changes might even threaten them and their closed system. I have experienced that.

10:23 PM  

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