I used to think that the main objective was simply to hear from God.
As I think about this objective now, I am imagining that my little toddler self, many decades ago, must have once simply wanted to be able to stand up with a little bit of stability. At one point, it must have seemed to me that it would be so awesome if I could just stand up like the grown ups, with out having to hang or lean on something. I imagine, at this time, that the idea of walking must have felt out of range; never mind running, or jumping, or skipping. In fact, I would imagine that I didn’t have much of an understanding of the differences between these.
It is not that I see burning bushes all the time. It’s not that I consistently can attribute to God. Often, I have this sense that maybe this idea, or that idea, or feeling come from him.
Over the weekend, I had this moment of understanding that hearing from God is just the tip of the iceberg. I was engaged in Lectio Divina. A friend was walking several of us through this process of using the bible to allow God to encounter us directly. The idea is that a passage is read repeatedly, and we might find a phrase or a sentence that seems important to meditate on.
I was so struck by the entering into this process that I hardly paid any attention at all to the bible reading though. My friend Jason opened with a sort-of prayer, that we might have an open heart toward God.
And in that moment, I had this crystal clear realization that my heart is not particularly open at all. I had an awareness of how guarded and tenative I am. How full of my own agenda and foolishness I can be. I had this understanding that if somebody starts off with their baggage and agenda, the words we hear, the feelings we recieve, the verse we find ourselves focusing on will be filtered and experienced through this baggage.
I had been wrestling lately, with the act of letting go of my ego. I can clearly see it’s presence. But I had found myself wondering if I shouldn’t be giving more time and head-space to the idea of just reaching out to God and focusing on union with him. The thing I experienced, last Saturday, was that all the time and effort I am spending, around letting go of my false self is pretty important. Otherwise, I will be doing nothing but twisting God’s words and intent around for my own petty little purposes.