Posted by : Karen Sunday, September 25, 2011
“A wound that goes unacknowledged and
unwept is a wound that cannot heal.”
At the end of my first year of teaching, one of my talented and surprisingly wise (for her age!) students gave me a copy of The Sacred Romance, by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge. That book caused a watershed in my life, and provided the stepping stones into a deeper relationship in God, and a deeper understanding of Life and all its nuances.
Over the last few months God has been tenderly reminding me again of how important my heart is to him (have you ever noticed how often the heart is referred to in scripture?), how central my heart is to living with him, and that there is a battle raging over me, and that the evil one desires to impale me with the Message of the Arrows.
"The haunting of the Romance and the Message of the Arrows are so radically different and they seem so mutually exclusive they split our hearts in two. In every way that the Romance is full of beauty and wonder, the Arrows are equally powerful in their ugliness and devastation. The Romance seems to promise a life of wholeness through a deep connection with the great Heart behind the universe. The Arrows deny it, telling us, "You are on your own. There is no Romance, no one strong and kind who is calling you to an exotic adventure". The Romance says, "This world is a benevolent place." The Arrows mock such naivete, warning us, "Just watch yourself - disaster is a moment away." The Romance invites us to trust. The Arrows intimidate us to self-reliance....
The Arrows strike at the most vital places in our hearts, the things we care most about. The deepest questions we ever ask are directly related to our heart's greatest needs and the answers life gives shape our images of ourselves, of life, and of God. WHO AM I? The Romance whispers that we are someone special, that our heart is good because it is made for someone good; the Arrows tell us we are a dime a dozen, worthless, even dark and twisted, dirty. The Romance tells us life will flourish when we give it away in love and heroic sacrifice. The Arrows tell us that we must arrange for what little life there may be, manipulating our world and all the while watching our backs. "God is good," the Romance tells us, "You can release the well-being of your heart to Him." The Arrows strike back, "Don't ever let life out of your control." and they seem to impale with such authority, unlike the gentle urges of the Romance that in the end we are driven to find some way to contain them. The only way seems to be to kill our longing for the Romance, much in the same way we harden our heart to someone who hurts us. IF I DON"T WANT SO MUCH, we believe, I WON'T BE SO VULNERABLE. Instead of dealing with the Arrows, we silence the longing. That seems to be our only hope and so we lose heart."
In another of his books, (can you tell I'm an Eldredge fan?), he points out...
"'Above all else, guard your heart' (Prov. 4:23)... It doesn't say guard your heart because it's criminal; it says guard your heart because it is the wellspring of your life, because it is a treasure, because everything else depends on it. How kind of God to give us this warning, like someone's entrusting to a friend something precious to him, with the words: 'Be careful with this -- it means a lot to me.'"
"Above all else? Good grief -- we don't even do it once in a while. We might as well leave our life savings on the seat of the car with the windows rolled down -- we're that careless with our hearts..."
"God intends that we treat our hearts as treasures of the kingdom, ransomed at tremendous cost, as if they really do matter, and matter deeply... We are called to live in a way that we store up reserves in our hearts and then offer from a place of abundance..."
"Has it ever occurred to you that God is such a loving and gentle person because his heart is filled, like a reservoir, with joy? Caring for our own hearts isn't selfishness; it's how we begin to love... What will you bring to others if your heart is empty, dried up, pinned down? Love is the point. And you can't love without your heart, and you can't love well unless your heart is well... How you handle your own heart is how you will handle theirs."
-- "Waking the Dead", pp 207-209, 211,
I've learnt to watch for these arrows, for the Messages they bring. I'm still learning how to deflect them. But my desire for you is that you too would learn to recognize the Message of the Arrows, to guard your hearts, and to keep on believing in the Romance, the unshakable truth.
Food for thought, huh?
Food for thought, huh?