I sometimes have entire conversations with people in my head. My husband loves when I have these conversations between the two of us out loud–when I talk for both my part and his. (Please note the eye-roll and the shaking head that go along with this “love”.) Most of the time, I know that the words that I place in his mouth are not the words that he would really say. Most of the time.
I recently realized that I have these same kind of conversations with God–conversations where part of me is doing the talking for God. Sometimes these conversations go like this:
“Why haven’t you made more of yourself yet, Jess? You are approaching 40, you know.”
“I know. I know. I wonder that too.”
“I had big plans for you. What happened?”
“I don’t know.”
“Why can’t you just forget about how many people liked your last facebook post? You are so needy.”
“I know. I know. It’s sad isn’t it?”
“Why is your house always a mess?”
“I don’t know. But it’s not all my fault. I think my children are working against me here.”
“Why aren’t you living like Mother Theresa yet?”
“You are kind of disappointing. . .”
Does God really sound like that?
I don’t think so.
That sounds like my inner-resident critic on steroids. What an ego.
You’re fired. Both of you.
Disappointed God voice and unrelenting critic. You may both go because you are not real, and you are not speaking truth or life. You make me wilt, shrivel up, and hide.
Now, maybe a disappointed, angry God can transform your heart and mind and life into something beautiful. You and I may be very different, and that is okay.
Shame, fear, and guilt–whether God-induced or critic-induced–don’t breathe life into my soul. They might influence my behavior for a while, but shame, guilt, and fear are not transforming me or healing me.
What is calling life forth from my bones? What makes my heart grow, swell, and even dance? What is loosening the grip that shame, fear, and guilt hold on my heart?
Do you delight in me, God? Can that be true?
The Lord delights in those who hope in his unfailing love. ~ Psalm 147:11
I need the truth of these words to soak into every pore of my being.
It is this unfailing love that is coaxing my heart to open wide.
Can I let myself feel that delight?
I wonder if God delights in us especially as we discover who we are created to be.
As we discover who we are created to be–we join in the dance of creation. We are participants, aren’t we? Partners with God as we discover and shed and are made new.
When God created the world, the story goes that he declared everything good. Isn’t that happening now as we participate in this creation, in being unmade and made new?
It is good.
I think it is pure delight.
May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the depths the laughter of God.
~ John O’Donohue, from “For Equilibrium” in To Bless the Space Between Us