Sunday, December 30, 2007
Soul Held Whole and Round
"Do you ever find yourself scared to let God hold you? Or perhaps, resisting the prompting of the Spirit to let God hold you because you want to stand on your own yet knowing that you would never survive if you got what you wanted?"
The holding itself isn't that frightening. I wonder what John was thinking about as he reclined, head on Jesus' chest. Was he thinking of the future, when Jesus would be gone? Was he thinking of the ramifications of such intimate contact with his Savior?
The question is, I think, more complex than most Christians are familiar with. We have no end of books and preachers giving one-line answers to life's questions. "You want to stand on your own two feet? Can't be done. Forget about it. God will beat that out of you."
Well, yes, I can't stand alone... once I've started walking with Jesus. This causes problems for me. The standard answer would be the "on your own feet," pride-oriented answer. Pride may be involved but as an answer it's not very useful; how do you get rid of pride? I don't know. Judging from the failures I see around me I doubt that anyone else has a handle on this.
I'm pragmatic. Give me something that works regardless of the terms or how explainable it is. So, yes, I do want to stand on my own. I want nothing to come into my life that I can't keep going by myself because I've learned that I can't count on anyone else for help. When push comes to shove, they've shoved off. God's answer? Let me walk on my own two feet until I've come to the end of my resources or the point of choosing to end the walk.
One day on the bus home I closed my eyes and talked with God. The idea of holding was still pretty new and we were exploring the ramifications of that. What is the shape of a soul? I got this image of something like a dandelion seed head combined with the dendritic end of a nerve, finely divided and oh so delicate. Who could I trust to carry such a thing? Certainly not myself, as I've shown a strong tendency--before God interposed his hands--to trim things to fit what I saw as my acceptable, quiet place in the world.
Would God care about this delicate thing? I had an image of His hands around it... and that was about the end of that line of thought. It's just silly to believe such a thing. I got very crabby after that, which is typical of times when I'm arguing cross-threaded with God. Why? After a few days I began to see. If I come to depend upon God to hold and protect my soul he'll end up just like all the others and drop me somewhere in the desert.
That wasn't the only problem. I mean, I know God won't drop me. The argument is a kind of echo of old protective schemes. No, the bigger problem is about the effects of a whole soul. If all of me gets going in the same direction, a dream I've talked about here before but never really believed, what might happen? I like my quiet invisible life. I don't want to draw a whole lot of attention and I can see a soul whole shining brightly in this darkened world.
In simplest terms God isn't calling me to do anything but hold his hand and keep walking. I can do that. I can also extrapolate. I have a brain.
The effect of believing what I decide is true is the loss of contact with God. My reality or his? The truth is that he has always respected my soul far more than I have. He makes no effort to make me fit into old ideas. He skips ahead, laughing, calling. I plod, suspicious, looking for threats. He shows me his hands.
This is very hard for me to believe. I'm supposed to be beyond the wishful thinking stage of life.
God asks "What do you want to do?"
"I don't know. Other than finding a place to live and be left alone."
"Is that really what you want?"
"Yes. No. Maybe? It was. Might still be... I guess. Ummm... Lord... do you know what I want?"
I translate "What do I want?" into "What is possible?" and lose a lot thereby. So, I'm not a good judge of future possibilities. How much does God care about me as me, all those tiny soul-tendrils intact? Or am I about to get shaved? I doubt the latter. Would have been far easier to shave me a few years back before I even know any of this stuff.
The logical conclusion to reach from my experience is that God cares about me, about all of us, far more than we can realize. God has to teach me every little step. How do I know what I want? My answers were made of learnings from years ago. I'm not the person now that I was back when those plans were made, and with the Holy Spirit I have a walker-alongside and protector. All I have to do is believe. Interesting thing, belief. It's discounted but it's also the most powerful thing in our world.
Thanks for the post. I appreciate your honesty in your answering my question. I know God wants to hold me and cares for me more then I ever could care for myself. Yet, fear drives me away from the embrace of my Father.
God does let us walk on our own two feet until we realize that we can't do it on our own. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just being stubborn in continuing to try and do it myself, knowing that God has so much better places to take me.
What do I want? I'm not sure. But I know that....no I don't know right now.