During the weeks leading up to Easter, this blog has been exploring the obstacles that hold us back from intimacy with God. Whereas intimacy with others involves revealing truths about ourselves to them, intimacy with God involves truths being revealed to us. Hence, there is a strong connection between honest introspection, self-awareness, and intimacy.
The last three posts have examined issues surrounding forgiveness in particular. After spending any amount of time in honest introspection, we will confront issues of forgiveness. We might see things we have done wrong in a new light and realize we stand in need of forgiveness, or we may discover ourselves clinging to some long hidden resentment we should release. What holds us back from seeking God’s forgiveness may be feeling we don’t deserve it, we don’t need it, or we don’t want it. Another obstacle is feeling forgiveness is simply not possible.
“Maybe it’s possible for you, but not me, not with what I’ve been through.” Have you ever heard this from someone? Or do you recognize it in yourself? Sometimes we don’t believe God can or will do what we ask because we can’t see how the transformation we want is even possible. It’s not possible for me to shake depression. It’s not possible to have fun without having alcohol. How could this suffering possibly harbor meaning or lead me to growth? We want to make a break from our past and start life anew, but we don’t see how it is possible, so we doubt.
Martin Smith’s book on reconciliation in the Episcopal tradition encourages, “pray about what you believe and what you desire to believe more wholeheartedly.” When our faith in God is lagging, we can take heart from God’s faith and constancy towards us. Perhaps these verses and breathing prayer can help shift the focus from the limits of your belief to God’s limitlessness.
7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast. (Psalm 139:7-10)
Inhale: God’s faithfulness
Exhale: my doubt
Join the conversation. What did you think was absolutely impossible before it actually happened?
Copyright 2012 Stephanie Walker All rights reserved. Visit http://www.AcrossTraditions.com.