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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Listening



I distinctly remember writing this. I remember standing by my bed, looking in the mirror, looking around me, trying to will myself to be in Australia with YWAM even though everything inside me was screaming it was a mistake. And so I wrote this. But what I was really saying was, "I don't want to be here." 

In a Christian culture that had taught me to distrust my inner thoughts, my instinct, and my feelings- that the flesh is weak and fallen and must be tuned to the rhythm of submission- those inner warnings didn't stand a chance against the guilt and shame that forced my hand to obey. I'm thankful I know better now. 

Isn't it interesting how we believe we are "redeemed" and yet we can have such distrust and resent toward our humanity? Or how we believe that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and yet we are so harsh towards our nature?

I not only had to experience the consequences of not listening to my inner self those years ago in Australia, but I would experience them again four years later when I was tired of grieving those consequences. I drew a line in the sand of my life, I said that I was tired of being angry and frustrated at the church- I was tired of grieving- and so I stuffed it/ buried it and went about my life, but my life reacted to the inner stifling. It responded with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. What I've since learned is that our "flesh" doesn't doesn't like to be ignored or resented. 

Our flesh (our emotions, our thoughts, our inner being, our inclinations, our nature,...) loves and needs to be cherished, accepted, embraced, loved, and nurtured. That doesn't mean that all within is as it needs to be, but nothing can be altered until it is accepted completely and unconditionally as it is. We would never dream of treating a child with the same contempt with which we regard our "flesh" which is namely ourselves. It is not kind, nor is it well, to disregard something the One we call Father loves so deeply. 

If we truly believe we are loved that has to be a whole package deal. Can you love yourself not despite your faults but with them? Can you love yourself not despite your weaknesses but with them? Can you even learn to love those things that humble you and make you human? It doesn't make it alright, it makes you present and only when you are truly present can you even begin to be whole. But first you have to listen.