Restless Spirit, Reckless Abandon

 

 “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”

St. Augustine

 For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (2 Chronicles 16:9, NASB)

Restless and reckless…I live in the creative tension of both.  I am restless, my heart, my very being, sometimes is so restless, and I do not even sense that God could calm me.  There is a restlessness that nothing can fill, a void, a black hole of wanting, no matter what that wanting is.

Then I remember that I was made to be restless precisely because there is a part of me that was made only for God to fill – a ‘God vacuum’ if you will.  So I will, in this body, continue to be restless until (and only until) I rest in God.

Then there is the reckless part; that part of me that is reckless in a fleshly manner, stupidly sinning or blatantly trying to push the envelope to an edge I may never return.  It is a recklessness that says do whatever you want for tomorrow you may die.

And there is also a reckless part of me that jumps off the cliff of faith and believes without a shadow of a doubt that I am called to live with ‘reckless abandon’ to Divine Providence.  “‘Not by power, nor by might but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord.”

It is a recklessness that says even when I do not see, I will believe that Jesus has me in the palm of his hand and in the core of his heart.

It is a restlessness that pines for God as a deer pants for streams of water.

It is a recklessness that leans towards the addictive nature that dwells within me.

It is a restlessness that is bored with and by everything.

But today, today I surrender to the God of my longing, the utter fulfillment of my restlessness and recklessness, redeeming them for His glory and for others good.

The Promise of Presence

“The most holy and important practice in the spiritual life is the Presence of God – that is, in every moment [taking] great pleasure that God is with you.”

Brother Lawrence

Presence.  When I look up synonyms for “presence” the following words are given: attendance, occurrence, charisma/aura, and ghost/spirit.  Now as I use the word, I am doing so in the same manner as Brother Lawrence: I speak of the Gift of the Presence of God.  In and through Baptism and Faith, we have been given a few promises from God, to name but a few – eternal life (John 5:24), all things working for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28), and that Jesus will never leave us or forsake us (Matthew 28:20).

Presents.  When I look up the synonyms for “presents” here is what is given: there/here/near; current/present-day; and gift/offering.

Both words are beautiful in their apt description of God: He is a very Present help in our time of need and His Presence is faithful and forever.  The Presence of God is Present and a Present.

That above stated reality reminds me of a phone call I received last year from one of my brothers, Kevin, telling me another of my brothers, Kenny who has struggled most of his life with severe mental illness and addiction, had been found on the street unconscious. At the time they both lived in Roanoke, Virginia – a lovely small city in southwestern Virginia.  Both of these brothers struggled hard with life for over 6 years.  Kenny had been homeless and self medicating a debilitating reality called Paranoid Schizophrenia.

I went within days to visit Kenny in the hospital only to find out that he had been diagnosed with cancer and that it had spread to his lungs, brain and stomach.  We three spent the day together along with 2 of my nieces, just hanging out and talking and telling goofy family stories (funny how when someone is about to die we all of sudden remember the good times).  Suffice it to say Kenny died when I was about half home on my four hour trip.

Not to brag, but I know Cancer quite well.  Cancer has had a say in the death of my mom, my maternal grandmother and great grandmother, and my aunt: Five women and three generations…and now add to that list a brother.  And Kenny had already been dealing with schizophrenia, addiction, homelessness and the pain of childhood abuse, so his life has been far from peachy.

Which leads me to this: How do we speak to the gift of God’s Presence to someone, not only hurting so badly, but also incapacitated to possibly even comprehend it?

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“The Way I Want to Love You” (Julian of Norwich)

This is God speaking to you and me:

You must learn to understand that all your deficiencies, even those that come from your past sins and vicious habits, are part of My loving providence for you, and that it is just with those deficiencies, just the way you are now, that I would love you.

Therefore you must overcome the habit of judging how you would make yourself acceptable to Me.  When you do this you are putting your providence, your wisdom before Mine. It is My wisdom that tells you, “The way you are acceptable to Me, the way I want to love you, is the way you are now, with all your defects and deficiencies. I could wipe them out in a moment if I wanted to, but then I could not love you the way I want to love you, the way you are – now.”

Source: Revelations of Divine Love