I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been surprised at how much others share in the same kind of struggles as I. Sometimes I meet someone in whom I recognize myself at an earlier stage of my journey. Sometimes, I meet another who is ahead of me on the same journey. What I cherish is how much encouragement, help, and inspiration we can give to one another when we take that step to share our journeys. When we step over our embarrassment and doubt and meet each other in the spirit of love and truth.
Ivy and I have been recently sharing in each other’s journeys both directly and indirectly (via our blogs). There’s already been a few instances of ‘cross-inspiration’ *laughs*. The following excerpt is from Ivy’s blog and it is from a book she just finished, Inside Out by Dr. Larry Crabb. Much of it touches on similar themes of my own reflections as well as Henri Nouwen’s writing, once again demonstrating how many of us in the world face the same beautiful and challenging journey!
“I believe thereâ€™s a simple reason why sin in the heart, that commitment to self-protection that manifests itself in so many defensive styles of relating, is so rarely recognized as deep and serious. We canâ€™t recognize self-protection until we see what weâ€™re protecting. Until we face our disappointment as a victim, we cannot clearly identify the strategies weâ€™ve adopted to insulate ourselves from further disappointment. Only a deep awareness of our own profound disappointment (pain in our heart) can enable us to realize our desires for satisfaction have become demands for relief (sin in our heart). Although we may define the problem of self protection, we wonâ€™t identify the problem in our own life until weâ€™re in touch with the damage to our soul caused by other peopleâ€™s sinfulness, a painful damage that motivates our self-protection in the first place.
We need to face our disappointment squarely, but only in order that we love more deeply… that is our end goal in this painful self introspection
Deficient love is always central to our problems. When someone appreciates his parents only because he overlooks the pain they caused him, his appreciation is not only superficial, it is really self-protective. Love is never blind to othersâ€™ faults. It sees them clearly , but is not threatened. It admits disappointment but forgives and continues to be warmly involved. Is there a tender concern for the welfare of one who treats you wrongly? That is the measure of love.
When we look clearly at how another has failed us, it can free us of our demand that they love us well. We must not ask more of anyone than they can provide. Resentment towards people grows out of a demanding dependency that they satisfy us well. Thereâ€™s a difference between an angry, complaining look at anotherâ€™s failure and an honest admission of disappointment their behavior provoked. The latter can dispel resentment; the former strengthens it.
We have all been sinned against. WE all sin. You have failed to love me as you should and I have failed to love you. Your failure to love me is painful, sometimes profoundly disappointing. But the Lordâ€™s love for me is perfect. Although His love does not remove the sting of your failure, it gives me all I need to stand as a whole person, capable of loving you regardless of the threat of your further failure.
And that is my responsibility, to love you. My love for you (not yours for me) determines in large measure my experience of joy and my sense of intactness. I can love because I am loved perfectly and fully by God. And my love for you matters. It can draw you to Christ, it gives my life power and value in His plan. It brings glory to God. And, as I falteringly learn to love you without self-protection, I edge toward the longed-for reality of abundant living.” – L. Crabb, Inside Out
Thank you, Vee… you’re an amazing Sis-in-Christ. Love ya! :)