Realizing the need to just call on the Shepherd and cease fighting in my flesh. Because that's exactly what I've been doing. Fighting principalities with faulty flesh and wondering why I'm being wounded.
In Hurnard's allegory, The Shepherd asks Much-Afraid if Love has been planted in her heart. Because she knows that He sees her heart, she chooses to answer honestly, finally saying, "I think that what is growing there is a great longing to experience the joy of natural, human love and to learn to love supremely one person who will love me in return. But perhaps, that desire, natural and right as it seems is not the love of which you are speaking?"
This is not a page I noted when I read this book first three years ago. But this passage seems very truthful now of the delusion of love I have been holding in my heart. The mistaken notion that I can settle for human love and keep divine love on some sideline.
And too, I have not yet accepted the thorn which must be planted for True Love to grow.
I'm coming to realize that in my own quest for this human love, I was also somehow not giving love. Because though I knew God, I had not acknowledged certain truths. I was trapped in a cycle of self-protection which blocked me from loving people outside of my own frame of reference, without conditions. It's what Walker Percy refers to as 'the great suck of self'.
"...in turbulent times when your mind is image making, you whip and drum up the issues to such an extent that the excitement gets out of control and the mind and emotions race hysterically."
I have been switching from this frenzy mode to a kind of despondence. I can feel it. And it's a dangerous place to be. It means that I'm caving to self-pity and then letting that woe-is-me thought life to propel me into that futile flesh fight for my own rights.
Talking to a friend the other day, she gave me a great image of a Christian slumped in defeat on the floor but then with a mighty roar rising victoriously. This, she said, is when the angels rejoice. It was a powerful image, but I see myself slumped on the floor, or alternately kicking and writhing on the floor in tantrum mode, not really wanting to get up yet.
I am wallowing a bit in that hazardous hole. I am grading tragedies. In that absorption of oneself, I read on Facebook that someone is battling breast cancer....her husband is taking her to the hospital. I focus on the word husband and promptly decide that I would rather have cancer and a husband than be divorced. A few statuses down I read about a man with a spinal cord injury and decide that well, at least divorce is better than being paralyzed. And so my own pain is now the source by which I judge everything. And this is not good. This lacks true compassion and even true perspective.
My friend says that God observing heap that I am on the floor, only smiles and says, "Are you done yet? We have stuff to do."